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Cornelius News

Ava Callender throws her hat in the ring again

July 12. It looks like we may have a horse race in the Cornelius Town Board elections this fall. A female candidate who ran two years ​​ago plans to run again for a seat on the five-person board.

​If elected, Ava Callender would be the first woman o​n the town board since Lynette Rinker, the only female commissioner at the time, was sworn in as mayor in January of 2013.​

Four of the five sitting commissioners—Mayor Pro Tem Michael Miltich, Denis Bilodeau, Dave Gilroy and Thurman Ross—have filed with the Mecklenburg Board of Elections to run for another term.

The fifth commissioner, Kurt Naas, is expected to file but hadn’t done so as of 4 pm today. Filing closes July 19.

Two years ago there were 11 candidates for the board. Commissioners are guessing there will be six or seven candidates this go ’round.

Callender is one of two African-American candidates; long-time board member Ross is the other.

Callender said she is running “to protect and take forward the interests of Cornelius residents of all ages, in all neighborhoods.”

​Callender outlined her goals if elected:

​1. I support our first responders. I live in a senior community where our first responders are often called.  They serve us and the greater community in a compassionate and caring manner.

2. We watch the news in horror as young residents of our County commit and are victimized by crime. Let’s be proactive by partnering with first responders, civic groups and caregivers to provide meaningful, positive social interactions for young residents.  We need to walk our neighborhoods, listen to parents and connect caregivers and neighborhoods with helpful resources.  I would also encourage the Town to co-sponsor an annual teen summer job fair, meaningful internship opportunities as well as transportation to nearby summer fun activities.

3. As greenways grow, I think about safety first. Proper lighting, cameras and educating residents regarding greenway safety practices are critical.  Providing bicycles to first responders who would like to exercise as well as “meet & greet” on the greenway would be a welcomed safety bonus.

Callender on Development:

1.   I will endorse development that provides positive amenities, local employment and does not further overcrowd our public school classrooms.

2.   Many of our Cain Arts Center guests will arrive via I77 and Statesville Rd. The arts district gateway should be expanded to include the entire Catawba Ave. corridor of Cornelius lying east of those major access points.   Let’s be inclusive as we improve our Town.

Callender on Property taxes:

As always, I am in favor of keeping property taxes low. There are times when government, like families, must stretch those dollars. Expanded government/private grant funding (more of our money coming back to us) and tech innovations are some of the tools we must embrace.

Cornelius has been a stepping stone to higher office.

Former Town Commissioner John Bradford moved on to the NC House where he replaced US Sen. Thom Tillis, who vaulted from the Cornelius Town Board to become NC Speaker of the House.

Former NC Sen. Jeff Tarte served three terms as mayor before moving on to the legislature.

Early voting begins Oct. 16. Election Day is Nov. 5.