New Bern's second mayoral forum set for Thursday

Candidates take the stage at New Bern's first Mayoral debate.

NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - New Bern's second mayoral forum is scheduled for Thursday night.

It is set to be at The Flame restaurant at 2301 Neuse Blvd. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Thursday and the forum will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Six candidates are in the race to be New Bern's next mayor: Alderman Sabrina Bengel, Alderman Denny Bucher, Barbara Lee, Tharesa Lee, Alderman Dana Outlaw and Edwin Vargas.

The last day to register to vote is Friday, Sept. 13. The New Bern mayoral election is set for Oct. 8.


Six candidates are in the race to be the next mayor of New Bern. The first of two mayoral forums was held Monday night at the Carolina Colours Pavilion.

New Bern residents of the Carolina Colours and Taberna communities gathered to watch the candidates answer questions submitted by community members. Many questions were asked including each candidate's vision for New Bern and what their role would be if chosen mayor.

NewsChannel 12 spoke with each candidate one-on-one and asked what they plan to do when it comes to business development in New Bern.  

Denny Bucher said it's all about marketing.

"Bringing businesses to New Bern is clearly one of our most important projects. How do we do that? We have to market the city to companies as well as tourists and as well as people who want to live here," Bucher said.

Dana Outlaw said it's about building a strong partnership with different businesses.

"What it's going to take is a partnership between those elected officials. Every time we hear somebody is interested in New Bern we're going to write them a letter, we're going to say what are we missing and what do we need to do to make it happen," Outlaw said.

Sabrina Bengel said she would work side-by-side with city staff and economic development members to bring business to New Bern.

"Looking at bringing jobs and business growth development is the most important thing we can do it to grow our economy and grow tax space here in New Bern," Bengel said.

Tharesa Lee said she would like to see larger companies come to New Bern to provide higher paying jobs.

"Just bringing a businesses here for someone making $7.25 an hour is really not prosperous to New Bern. We need jobs that are higher rate than that," Tharesa Lee explained.

Barbara Lee said she wants to bring businesses to New Bern that plan to stay.

"Collaborate with the county and the state to see what's available because I get tired of businesses going to Morehead City or Kinston or other places," Barbara Lee said.

Edwin Vargas said as long as they keep tax rates lower it will attract more business.

"Also try and make sure that the rate stabilization fund stays in place, that way if businesses are under the City of New Bern Electric they can have lower electric rates in the future," Vargas said.

The next mayoral debate is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 12 at The Flame restaurant. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the forum runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The last day to register to vote is Friday, Sept. 13. The New Bern mayoral election is set for Oct. 8.

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