Listen to Mayor Meeker’s press conference.
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker officially announced today that he will seek a fifth term. Meeker made the announcement during a press conference this morning. He said his central motivation is the economic uncertainty facing Raleigh and the rest of the country.
In announcing his plans to go after the mayoral seat once again, Meeker said he has three goals for the next two years if he’s reelected. Meeker said he wants to position Raleigh to “grow better as the recession ends,” plan and fund a regional transit system and establish the Dix property as a park.
On his “grow better” point, Meeker said he hopes to adopt the city’s new comprehensive plan to guide growth for the next 20 years. He said he also wants to work with the council and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce to attract new businesses to the city as the recession ends.
“The recession could last two months or two years,” Meeker said, but he wants to position the city to continue growing when the economy improves.
On transit, Meeker said Raleigh does not “have adequate public transit.” He said he wants to work with Durham, Orange and Wake counties to create a regional public transportation system. The three counties, plus Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill have been working on a regional transit plan and are waiting for the state legislature to pass a bill allowing a new tax to fund the system.
Residents in the three Triangle counties would all have to pass a ballot measure to create the new tax and fund the transit system. Meeker said he hopes the tax would go on the ballot in all three counties at the same time, which will likely be in 2010.
Meeker also said he wants the Dorothea Dix property to become a city park. Meeker said Governor Beverly Perdue has supported the park idea in the past, but he hasn’t spoken with her about it since she became governor. Meeker says the governor “is very busy with her budget and needs to get that squared away.”
But he said he hopes to continue talking to Perdue about the Dix property. “Mental health usage will always take precedent,” Meeker said.
Meeker won his first mayoral election in 2001 and he served several council terms before that. If Meeker wins a fifth term, he will tie Avery Upchurch’s record of five terms as Raleigh’s Mayor.
City elections will be on October 6.