Craven

Former New Bern mayor Bettis attempts to make political comeback

NEW BERN, Craven County - Former New Bern mayor Lee Bettis filed on Friday to run this fall for his old position, less than three years after being convicted of DWI and child abuse charges.

Incumbent mayor Dana Outlaw had filed earlier this month to seek re-election. Ernie Williams, 56, a salesman for Strike-Hold Marine also filed to run.

Bettis did not run for a second term after being arrested for DWI in 2013. Though he did not have any alcohol in his system at the time he was pulled over, bloodwork revealed the presence of Xanax, which prosecutors argued led to his erratic driving while his two stepchildren rode in the car with him.

Bettis was critical of Outlaw's tenure, saying the chaotic nature of the board led to the resignation of former city manager Mike Epperson shortly after Outlaw was elected. Mark Stephens was appointed as city manager in 2014 - someone Bettis pledges to replace.

Speaking to his conviction, which led to a 90-day jail sentence and year's probation, Bettis said he wanted to put it behind him.

"I am not focused on the past," he said. "I made mistakes as we all have. I paid dearly for my mistakes. I have apppologized (sic) to my wife and children, and my family is sound and supportive."


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