Candidates for Ward 4 seat on Statesville Council discuss issues

Posted at 12:33 PM on Oct 7, 2019


Editor's Note: Four candidates are running for the Ward 4 seat on the Statesville City Council in the October 8 election. We asked each candidate to explain why he or she is highly qualified for this position and deserves the trust of voters -- and what their priorities would be if elected. Three of the four candidates responded. Here are their answers:

Julius Hoke

Hoke.jpgI’m a middle-class family man with a wife and three daughters. Im a lifelong Statesville resident. I own a home in Ward 4 and pay city taxes. I have been effected by tax increases, crime and other city services.

I have owned and operated several businesses in Statesville, and I have managed and lived in income properties in the city my entire life. I know what it's like to see tax bills, fees, and water and sewer bills go up every year.

I’m running for City Council because I believe I can be a positive and creative representative for all the citizens of ward 4 and all of Statesville.

My intentions to seek this office are based soley on my love for the city and the citizens that live here.

I’m running because I feel our city has been misled in a shroud of secrecy and non-transparency. Too many times our citizens have been blindsided by decisions that seem to only benefit a few, including the ones voting for them. Basic needs and the welfare of city employees have taken a back seat and embarassing decisions and behavior has put our city in the spotlight in a negative way too many times.

Our city government should focus on three main priorities: public safety, infrastructure and the delivery of necessary services, and promoting an environment that attracts and retains businesses. The basic needs of our city’s most important departments must be stabilized and a plan for future growth and needs must be initialized.

First and foremost, our city departments need to have the proper equipment needed to do the job assigned and expected from the city taxpayers. A program to provide future equipment needs should be established. We should replace equipment based on its expected lifespan, not wait for it to become unusable then scramble to find the money to replace it. City employees' pay as well as benifits need to become a priority. Many city employees make below poverty-level salaries. To retain quality and loyal employees, we must become competitive with our neighbors.

Economic development must become a priority. I believe a plan is vital to bringing much needed growth to our city. Our plan should have a vision, mission, goals, strategies and actions. It should contain short-, medium- and long-term goals, and consider the cost associated with implementation. We must continuously evaluate the plan to ensure economic growth and the plan itself remains consistent with the vision, mission and goals.

Please feel free to call me at 704-450-0911 contact me through my Julius Hoke for City Council Ward 4 Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages or mmail me at with any questions or concerns.

I look forward to meeting all the folks of Ward 4 as I take my campaign door to door and I pledge to Introduce myself to all the citizens of Statesville if elected.

Amy Lawton

Lawton pic.jpgAmy Lawton and her husband Kirk own S&J Carolina Scale Company on Barkley Road. For several years, they owned and operated the Save-a-Lot Grocery Store in Statesville. Amy graduated from both NCSU (Social Work) and NCCU (Elementary Education). She serves on the board and is a past president of Iredell Museums, volunteers in her daughters' school, served on the Vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church, was on the board of the Statesville Family YMCA, co-chaired the YMCA Annual Giving Campaign, co-chaired Art in Bloom for six years, and currently serves on the executive board for Fifth Street Ministries Board of Directors and tutors at the Upper Room.

As for her experience in local government, she’s appeared before City Council to successfully request funding for the museum. She has worked with various departments through the years in matters regarding her businesses and the museum. Lawton has extensive budget experience as she managed the training budget for over 200 retail stores when she worked at Sephora Headquarters in San Francisco, Calif. Currently, she is part of community efforts to improve her neighborhood via traffic abatement measures.

Amy owns her home and lives along with her family on Park Street. Her daughters, Winnie and Silvea, attend the dual immersion program East Iredell Elementary School and together enjoy the outdoors with Zico, their German shorthaired pointer.

She is committed to the following:
• Actively pursuing developers for business expansion (in the Highway 21/South Statesville corridor and at the Airport), affordable housing options, and the Vance Hotel;
• Focusing on what is positively working for Statesville and continuing to move in that direction;
• Working to bring jobs that offer financial stability to residents of Statesville;
• Committing time and effort to building awareness of Statesville as a viable community for families and businesses; and
• Understanding local government and building more bridges between our city government and our citizens.

James H. Pressly

James Pressly_ward 4 candidate.jpgLocal business owner James H. Pressly is running for the Ward 4 seat on Statesville City Council.

Pressly lives and works in Statesville and is the fourth generation of his family to live in the city. “My family has a deep history in Statesville, and I’m proud that I can still call it my home,” said Pressly.

“Statesville is a wonderful place, but I know it can be better. Our city continues to face a number of social and economic problems which require new and energetic solutions. I want to serve and help us move forward.”

Pressly graduated with a degree in History from the University of South Carolina and holds graduate degrees in business administration (WCU) and real estate finance (UNCC). Professionally, he has served in leadership roles for local, state and national trade groups, fighting for housing affordability. He was recently appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger to serve on the state’s Housing Partnership Board of Directors. The 13-member board coordinates private investment with state housing affordability efforts and provides financial resources for supportive housing, emergency repairs, accessibility modifications, and disaster recovery.

Serving and volunteering has always been important to Pressly, and he has been active in numerous community organizations, including Statesville-based charity Purple Heart Homes, Habitat for Humanity, the Mooresville Soup Kitchen, and the Boys & Girls Club. Pressly is an Eagle Scout from New Salem Methodist Church Troop 363. He cherishes his faith, and is an active member of Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

Pressly is running a grassroots campaign, meeting residents and businesses at their doors and listening to their hopes and concerns for Statesville. “Over the past few months, I have walked through our neighborhoods both affluent and impoverished, spoken with our residents both young and old, and listened to how our citizens believe our city can improve and how we can address many of the problems we face,” he said.

“What I have learned is that many of our citizens are concerned with Statesville’s current direction, leadership, and with the persistent social and economic problems that continue to afflict us,” he continued. “Many of the citizens I have spoken with are concerned that our poverty is twice as high and our incomes are almost half as low as the county average. We must serve our citizens better.”

Pressly’s plan to move Statesville forward includes the three Rs: Restore Statesville’s image; Recruit new employers and high-wage jobs; and Retain local businesses and families. “We can solve many of our social and economic problems by diversifying our local economy, by recruiting high-wage jobs of the modern, knowledge-based economy, and by retaining the existing jobs that we currently lose each year,” said Pressly. “We must elect strong leaders who know how to build trust, build unity, work as a team, motivate and encourage teammates, and know how to set goals then work together to accomplish those goals.”

For more information, visit or call 704-380-0085.


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