07/06/12 — Council hopeful Ben Farlow proposes new vision for city

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Council hopeful Ben Farlow proposes new vision for city

By Staff Reports
Published in News on July 6, 2012 1:46 PM

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Ben Farlow

Goldsboro resident Ben Farlow will be on the ballot July 17 as he seeks the city's District 3 council seat being vacated by Don Chatman.

Farlow, 36, said he became interested in city government through interactions he had with customers at the Flying Shamrock where he is the general manager.

"I meet a lot of people at the Shamrock," he said, noting that judges, district attorneys, police officers, firefighters and airmen all frequent the downtown pub. "We get a broad range of people in here."

As is common courtesy at dining establishments, he said many of the customers opt not to discuss national politics, but local issues are a common subject. Regulars began to tell him they liked his opinions and began urging him to run for office, although Farlow said the concept began almost as a joke.

Eventually, though, he realized he wanted to see Goldsboro improve, especially since he bought a house where he and his wife, Cassie, now live.

"I would like to see Goldsboro to have a more progressive government in place," he said, adding that he wants the Goldsboro City Council to focus less on the present and more on the city's future. "I really believe that Goldsboro can become more contemporary without giving up its history."

Farlow said the most important thing for the city to do is to set its priorities and to find the most efficient way to do a lot with a little.

Investments into Parks and Recreation and downtown were steps in the right direction, he said, as those financial moves would bring business interest and tourism dollars into the city.

He also said he's concerned about the safety of the city, especially in how it relates to the amount of police officers on duty. He said allocating more money to the police department to allow it to fill its shifts would help to crack down on drug and gang issues while also reducing response times that citizens complain about.

"We need to give the police the tools they need," he said, adding that while there is little to distinguish cities in the region from each other, Goldsboro could seek to establish itself as the safest city in Eastern North Carolina, which would bring in more business investment and jobs.

He said he would like to see the city find a way to be more self-sustaining by attracting more industry besides Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to the area.

Farlow, a native of Greensboro, graduated from UNC-Wilmington in 1997 and has lived in Goldsboro for nine years.