Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie Parker plans to run for re-election one more time next spring — but the two-term incumbent said it will be her last political race.
The city’s municipal election for mayor and the eight seats on City Council was supposed to be held in October with filing taking place next month. But a delay in the receipt of census data needed to redraw the four wards in the city will most likely push the election to March.
Parker was first elected in 2017 and ran unopposed for re-election in 2019. She said her original plan was to serve two terms.
But the COVID-19 pandemic changed all that.
Parker said she wants to continue to help lead the city out of the pandemic. She also said the social unrest that’s followed the recent shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. by three Pasquotank sheriff’s deputies solidified her decision to run again.
“The pandemic had an effect on our city moving forward in a number of ways, and I want to put a little more time in helping us get back on track,” Parker said. “Also, the shooting death of Mr. Andrew Brown Jr. and the constant protesting that has resulted from this horrific incident adds another crisis to our city in which we have never experienced in my lifetime.”
Parker said some city residents may think they can do a better job as mayor but she has worked hard to move the city forward.
“Unless you are able to observe all of the behind-the-scenes activities that are occurring to make sure that our citizens are kept safe and our property is protected, it will always seem to some that enough is not being done,” Parker said. “Of course, there is always room for improvement because no one person or entity should claim perfection.”
Parker sees a cohesiveness among city officials and employees, public safety officials, regional health representatives and workers and community leaders that she feels will help lead the city forward in a positive direction.
“The city of Elizabeth City will end up being a model for other cities in our nation, big and small,” Parker said. “Therefore, I would like to remain just a little while longer to see it come to fruition.”
A new political organization called the Pasquotank Political Action Committee was recently formed and one of the group’s goals is to field conservative candidates in an attempt to “flip” City Council.
Parker said that citizens have the lawful right to assemble and “contribute their opinions on who they want to represent them in the political arena.”
“I am well aware that there are those who feel I have not done enough to remain mayor and that they will do a better job,” Parker said. “But I respectfully disagree. I do not want to leave office when we are still in the midst of a pandemic and ongoing protests because I know that there are people in our city tirelessly working to make sure that we continue to get better and live up to the slogan of Harbor of Hospitality.”
Parker said she will run on her record and let the voters decide who should lead the city.
“If I have an opponent, I will give him or her a respectful and awesome challenge ... realizing the voters will make the final decision on who they feel will best represent them,” Parker said.