03/20/12 — 'New' resident thows hat into council ring

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'New' resident thows hat into council ring

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on March 20, 2012 1:46 PM

A newcomer to politics, hotelier Kyle Pritchard is running for the District 1 seat of the Goldsboro City Council.

Pritchard, 27, has managed the Comfort Suites on North Park Drive since May 2009.

Although he is relatively new to the area, Pritchard says he fell in love with Goldsboro, leading him to join several commissions and boards. Although he considers himself a businessman, he said his business, as a hotel manager, is service, so it only made sense to get involved.

"My job is to serve people," he said, adding that he feels the city, county and state legislature should do more to create purposeful relationships. "We've all been issued the same sandbox, and we've got to learn to play together. The partnerships and relationships aren't there. I think I can go in there and create those relationships."

Pritchard cites his track record with various groups in the area as evidence of his ability to create partnerships across industries and interests and said more of those types of relationships could improve the quality of life for county and city residents.

Pritchard said he would like to bolster businesses in the area by making business development easier within the city limits. He said he wants to see investment from small businesses and franchises, and sees making the process of opening and maintaining a business less of a challenge as the way to increase growth.

Noticeably younger than most other candidates on the May 8 ballot, Pritchard said he hoped his youth would translate into excitement in the minds of voters.

"I'm excited about Goldsboro. I'm passionate about Goldsboro and I want to share that passion while I can. I want to harness it and make sure we continue heading in the right direction."

Pritchard has been involved and in some cases held leadership positions with PULSE, the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp., the Military Affairs Committee, Travel and Tourism, the Wayne Community College Foundation and various other organizations. He also used to be a nationally ranked semi-professional competitive ATV driver in the American Motorcycle Association's A-Class, carrying on a legacy his father started, along with his sister and other family members.

While he has been involved throughout his career in Wayne County, however, he is still technically a new resident of the city this year. Pritchard's registered street address on West Walnut Street downtown is for a house he purchased, according to the deed on the property, Feb. 2. When filing, instead of leaving the mailing address blank on the candidacy form, he opted to have his mail addressed to his hotel instead of allowing it to be delivered to his listed residence by default.

Pritchard said the ease of collecting mail at his work was the cause for the change, although he said he would be seeking to change his mailing address to his street address soon.

His voter registration is also freshly moved to Wayne County, as he updated his registration from his previous residence in Spring Hope in Nash County on Feb. 29 -- the same day he filed to run in District 1.

Asked why he settled on District 1 to call home, he said he had always wanted to live downtown. He said his moving to the city and candidacy in the city's election were both things he has yearned to do separately, but it just so happened they synched up this year.

"I've wanted to move downtown for a couple of years now and it just recently became feasible to do. I would have loved to have done it two years ago," he said.

He also said that his selection of District 1 was not due to any ideological difference with incumbent Michael Headen, either and said he only felt he could bring excitement and enthusiasm to the position.

Pritchard still owns his residence in Spring Hope, but said he now lives in Goldsboro almost full-time. He said he will rent that residence in Nash County out once he has completed painting and other renovations in his new home and moved the last of his furniture there.

"My heart and soul has been in Goldsboro long before that house was considered," he said.

Pritchard insists that there was no true connection between his move and his candidacy, and said he had "no quarrels" with his running for a district he has only lived in for a few months.

"It's a positive thing. It will give a fresh look onto things. I have the willingness to get the job done with a common sense approach. Running a city is not that complicated," he said, noting that elected officials need only listen to their constituents and react appropriately.

Although he said it will be a challenge, he said that's something he's never shied away from.

"Challenges don't bother me. They excite me," he said.