Raleigh Mayor Candidate, Paul Fitts, is an area native, born in the “old” Rex hospital, raised in the area, and is clearly passionate about “his” city. In 2011, Fitts ran for the Raleigh City Counsel with the most votes a Republican had ever received; now, he’s running against established current Mayor, Nancy McFarlane, and democratic candidate, Charles Francis.
Urhous CEO, Steve Gunter, was able to sit down and have a chat with Fitts about everything from the Charlottesville tragedy to the housing market, and other ideas he has for Raleigh.
Fitts acknowledged the tragedy of Charlottesville, also maintaining that it could have been prevented with more proactive steps towards keeping the groups separated. He is firmly against hate groups of any kind, and maintains that every group needs to be granted their first amendment rights of free speech. However, Fitts states that the law enforcement could have handled the situation in a way that better preserved citizen and protesters’ safety, and though he’s not sure if officers were following orders, or the town was just not prepared, that the two groups should have “never been allowed to be that close to each other.”
He struggles with the toppling of Confederate statue in Durham following Charlottesville, as he questions, “where do we draw the line with people being offended?” Fitts continued by pointing out that, “Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against homosexuality, so do we remove his statue? Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and it goes on.” He says that he understands the sensitivity to the Confederate statue and with current racial tensions, but as far as the removal being “right or wrong” he simply believes in bringing up monument removal to the city, having a vote, and “thoughtfully and thoroughly” remove things that may cause offense. Violence and destruction should not be the answer.
Gunter and Fitts also discussed housing and the housing market in the area. Fitts pointed out several underutilized areas he sees as an opportunities to build housing for the homeless and low-income populations. He mentioned distribution of funds a few times, talking about prioritizing expenditures to “build a better present for Raleigh”. For example, he discusses talk of building a stadium that could house several thousands for a handful of games a year, versus funding housing that could house several families all day every day. “You can’t build a better future if you don’t have a solid foundation, and that foundation is the present”, Fitts says.
See more of our interview with him in the video below, and you can find out more about the candidate and campaign by following Three 4 Raleigh on Facebook.