NC Deep Dive

William (Bill) Harris: Running for Re-Election for the 4 Year Seat for the Fuquay Varina Board of Commissioners aka Town Council

September 23, 2023 Amanda Lunn
NC Deep Dive
William (Bill) Harris: Running for Re-Election for the 4 Year Seat for the Fuquay Varina Board of Commissioners aka Town Council
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Who doesn't love a good political conversation? Picture this - a seasoned political veteran with over three decades of experience under his belt, a man whose passion for public service is only paralleled by his love for the town of Fuquay Varina. We're talking about none other than William (Bill) Harris, a candidate running for re-election for the 4 year Town Council seat in the upcoming 2023 Fuquay Varina Municipal Election.

In our engaging chat, Bill gives us a sneak peek into the workings of local government and public service. He shares pearls of wisdom gleaned from his extensive career and provides his perspective on crucial issues such as tax management, resource allocation, and inclusion - elements that are the backbone of a thriving community. He does not shy away from discussing disagreements, compromises, and the need for balance amidst differing opinions. A behind-the-scenes look into local government, if you will.

But who is the man behind the public servant? It's a heartwarming delve into his personal life, revealing his discipline, dedication, and drive. So, press play and join us on this journey into the life of William (Bill) Harris - his vision, his experiences, and his mission to continue to bring about positive change in Fuquay Varina!

Website - William Harris for Commissioner of Fuquay-Varina
Email - Info@HarrisforCommissioner.com
Facebook - Re-Elect Commissioner William "Bill" Harris
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Early Voting Locations
October 19th-November 4th
Wake County Board of Elections Office: 1200 N. New Hope Rd., Raleigh, 27610

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Now, let's dive in!

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Hello friends, you are listening to the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast, soon to be called the NC Deep Deep Dive. I am your host, Amanda Benbow Lunn, and today I am honored to be speaking with William (Bill) Harris, who is running for re-election for the four-year seat on the Board of Commissioners for Fuquay Varina, also known as the Town Council. He will be running up against Charlie Adcock, Mike Ferig, Marilyn Gardner, and Nolan Perry. You will be eligible to vote for up to three people within this seat on your ballot for the Municipal Election. As with all the candidate podcasts, I am taking their introductions directly from their website as an effort to be as fair and non-biased as possible. With more than three decades of experience as an elected official, Bill has a keen understanding of local government politics and public service. After growing up in Fuquay Varina and graduating from Fuquay Consolidated High School, Bill earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master's degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University. During his years of service as Town Commissioner, Bill has twice been Mayor Pro Tem, has served as chair of the Law and Finance Committee and is currently chair of the Public Works Committee. He has been an adjunct professor in the Public Administration Department at Shaw University, and he is currently president of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, a non-partisan association of cities, towns and villages in North Carolina, the purpose of which is to promote excellence in municipal government. Bill has received numerous awards for his service to the public, most notably the Outstanding Citizenship Award presented by the Fuquay Varina Chamber of Commerce, the Political Service Award given by the Garner Road YMCA and the Political Achievement Award presented by the National Pan-Hellenic Council of the Greater Raleigh Area. In addition to his duties as a commissioner, Bill works with the Department of Human Services as a member of the Community Engagement and Empowerment Team. That team focuses on empowering communities and individuals to achieve their fullest potential through a commitment to community inclusion. Commissioner Harris is a member of the First Baptist Church and has served in various roles, including Sunday School Teacher, church Treasurer and Chairman of the Deacon Board. He is a 32 degree Mason and a member of the Iota-Iota chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated. Bill loves to golf and to play the trumpet. He and his wife Meta have raised three children and are currently the proud grandparents of six beautiful grandchildren. Without further ado, friends, let's dive in. So what does democracy mean to you?

William (Bill) Harris:

Democracy, to me, means that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, to voice their concerns. I'll give you what was given to me on a plaque when I was first elected. It says, "Bill, don't forget, we are elected for the people and by the people, and never forget that. To me, that sums up what democracy means. It recognizes the uniqueness of every individual's perspective and honors their right to have a voice. To me, that's what democracy means.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect. How long have you lived in the area?

William (Bill) Harris:

I've lived in Fuquay Varina all of my life. I was born and raised here in Fuquay Varina, so except for leaving, going to college and working a few years, I moved back here and we raised our family here in Fuquay Varina. I attended the local high schools, graduated and left and went to college. During my work life I lived in Raleigh, lived in Fayetteville and eventually moved back here with our children. We're younger and got involved with the community, and here I am.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Awesome. W hy have you decided to run again for town council?

William (Bill) Harris:

Well, I think over the years, my participation on the council has given me a perspective where I can add value to the council. I'm originally from here. I've seen the town grow. I've seen the town transform from a small rural community to what it is today. We're moving more toward a suburban environment. I think that I understand where we were and how we got to where we are today. I think it's crucial that I have a voice as to how we go into the future, because there are a lot of issues to me that threaten the very soul of our community. I want to be part of that conversation and help shepherd us so that we can still sustain what has been so valuable to our community here in F uquay Varina, which is the recognition and the preservation of what we have developed over the years, which is a sense of community and a sense of place that I think those of us who have moved here and who like it, we want to make sure that we maintain.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Let's say you win your election, as a member of the town council, do you feel your job to make important decisions should be based solely on your own thoughts, your political party's thoughts or, as representative as possible, of every single one of your constituents and why?

William (Bill) Harris:

I've always valued the input of my constituents. It gets back to that primary basis that I mentioned earlier, that I understand that I'm here because of the people, because people want me to continue to represent what their particular values are. I see myself always and I've tried to do this intertwine my own personal philosophy about how government should run, as well as listen and be concerned about and respond to the voices of those who are not part of the leadership of the town. I think that I could be that voice and always try to be sensitive to what the public is saying, because we're there to represent the public. I'm there to represent the public and I believe that's why I have been able to have such longevity on the board. That's always been my philosophy is that everyone who comes before the board is valuable. Everyone who brings a perspective within the context of trying to improve the community is valuable. I value the voice of the people and that's basically my philosophy around what drives me in regards to representative government.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. How do you intend to gather input from the community before casting important decisions?

William (Bill) Harris:

I'd like to listen to what other people say. We do have a process at our meetings where we oftentimes have public hearings, but one of the things that's so unique about local government is that local government, you have more access to the citizens and the citizens have more access to you. I get people talking to me at the grocery store, at church or if you're at a ball game and there's a local issue, people talk to me and either they may call me on the phone to share their ideas. I want to continue to be accessible to citizens every day, which is a lot different than your state and your national representatives. They are somewhat far from the people, but at local government, you're in the community. People see you, they talk to you, or either they call you on the phone. They know you, so you're much more closer to the voting public, and that's what I intend to do. I have also suggested, and would love to see in the future, as far as citizen engagement is concerned, that we develop some kind of way to have forums or some way, or either task forces or some way we can make sure that citizens do have an opportunity to have input. One of the things that I did initiate in the town of Fuquay Varina is the Let's Talk Fuquay platform. That electronic platform that allows citizens to respond back. I mean, I've even been at funerals and people would pull me aside and say you know, "you got a minute. And they say a minute and I say, of course, a minute is never a minute. The doctor was off and he was saying right, he was saying you got a minute. So I try to make sure that I listen to people when they have a concern. Either they can call me on the phone or they see me at a sport event or whatever. They will talk to me if they need to. I'm approachable.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What do you believe are Fuquay Varina's strengths?

William (Bill) Harris:

I think that we have here a good team. I believe we have good management and good staff. I think also from the standpoint of government I'm going to answer that question from the standpoint of government I think that we're moving in the direction where there's an effort for the leadership of the town to be more responsive, and I think that is important.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What do you feel are Fuquay Varina's weaknesses?

William (Bill) Harris:

The challenge I see for us as a community is to address the tremendous growth that we are experiencing I think that that's going to be the biggest challenge for us and to maintain what I mentioned earlier as a sense of place and community, because one of the challenges about growth is that it has a tendency to change the community at large. I see that as one of the challenges that we are going to have to face. I believe it's something that we will have to have long-term discussions about, because it's so important for us to make sure that we don't lose the reason why we have done what we've done over the years as far as preparing for this growth, but, at the same time, I think we have to look at growing in a smart and innovative way.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Many voters seem to be unhappy with the influx of growth in the area and its ramifications, like traffic and a lack of prepared infrastructure. What does sensible growth mean to you and how do you intend to achieve it?

William (Bill) Harris:

Sensible growth does mean making sure that we have the infrastructure to keep up with the growth. No one expected Fuquay Varina to grow as quickly as it has. I mean, in 10 years the population literally doubled and I think that we have done the best we could to make sure we had adequate water, adequate police protection, adequate fire protection. But nobody really thought that the internal road, a highway system or transportation system or traffic system would be as overburdened as it is today. That's something that we just could not calculate. I see a twofold strategy is to aggressively make sure that we plan for roads and infrastructure. That takes collaboration with the Department of Transportation. A lot of the efforts that we put in place with developing Judd Parkway was to try to address some of the traffic burden here in Fuquay Varina. But at the same time we have to have a conversation with the Department of Transportation in regards to how the future roads are built. We've done some things to try to address some of the overcrowding by our future transportation plans which look at our major intersections to try to make sure that they are safe, to upgrade those intersections, some of the outlying corridors we still have to work on those. That's going to take collaboration and coordination with the Department of Transportation.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What ways have you served the town and its people prior to running for office this time?

William (Bill) Harris:

Okay, I've served two terms as Mayor Pro Tem. I've served as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which I created. I've served as chairman of the Law and Finance Committee, as well as the Public Works Committee. I currently serve as president of the North Carolina League of Municipality and I'm wanting to use my contacts and experience there. I served on the board for the League for four years prior to being elected and I co-chaired the Task Force on Racial Equity for local elected municipal officials for the League of Municipalities. That's from the regular job that I've done as far as the board is concerned. As far as the community is concerned, I have served as a scout master. I've served as PTA president. I've served as the head of our local Masonic Lodge. I've taught Sunday school for over 20 years. I was a finance officer, a treasurer of my local church. I'm a former system football coach with the old Athletic Association. So I've also worked with Pine Acres Community Center. I was very instrumental in our getting the celebration for the Martin Luther King events here in Fuquay Varina. I was very instrumental in making sure that natural gas was supplied to the western Fuquay Varina area. They were not going to do that at one point, so we had to do a petition and I wrote the president of the company a letter to make sure that there was equity in supplying the entire community with opportunity for natural gas. So those are just a few things that I can think of off the top of my head since I've been elected. There have been many more, but those are just a few items.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And when were you first elected?

William (Bill) Harris:

I was appointed in 1987. And then I was appointed to field the term of a commissioner who had been elected to the state to the General Assembly. So I was appointed. Then I had to run two years after that term was completed. I ran for two years, then I ran for four years and then I've been on the board ever since. When I first was appointed, I really didn't understand the magnitude of what I was getting into. I was asked if I would like to be on the board because I was active in doing other community things and so this was just an extension of what I thought my effort was, which was to make the world better for my children. I had three young children at that time, and so when I was asked, I said yes, and then, once I got on the council, I saw that it was a great opportunity to really really make a difference. So I went back to school, got a master's degree in public administration. While in school and being on the board, I was very fortunate because I got the theory of government as well as having the practical application of what I was learning in school. So that inspired me to continue in this arena because I feel like, based on my understanding of it from the theory and the applicable experience that I can really make a contribution and have been dedicated to doing that since I've been on the board. I've taught public administration classes at Shaw University. I was an adjunct professor there so I really like this. I really like this field. I believe that if I want to make a significant impact, that this is the arena, this is the opportunity for me to do that.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Have you been a consistent voter in town elections?

William (Bill) Harris:

Yes, Just an aside. I'll tell you this. My father was a World War II veteran and my father was a staff sergeant in the military in the early 40s this is before the military integrated and his experience taught me something that he was so dedicated and so patriotic that he never missed an opportunity to vote and, growing up in his household, that was part of what was important to us, the voting.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I love it. I grew up in a household that did not vote, so it wasn't until college where I learned that, so it's awesome that you started in that environment and were able to keep it on and progress as far as you have. What are your areas of focus for your campaign?

William (Bill) Harris:

The area of focus now my daughter and I we discussed is we came up with this acronym, P-I- E.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Everybody likes pie. You're already winning here.

William (Bill) Harris:

The P stands for partnerships and I think that part of the way for us to continue to address the tremendous cost of building infrastructure is that we, as a town, we're going to have to partner with other municipalities who are in need of water, for example, the current project we have now to make sure we have an adequate water supply. We're partnering with Sanford, Holly Springs and Pittsburgh to make sure we can get water to Fuquay Varina. We already get water from Harnett County, but for the future growth we're going to have to have water. So I believe in partnership and promoting collaboration. That's the P. The I would be innovation. I think, as we continue to look at the issues around growth, we're going to have to develop innovative strategies in order to make sure that we can address the growth. We got to bring the development community in. We have to think of innovative ways to have the development community to sit down with us as elected officials and talk about how we're going to grow this community. That would be the I. The E would be community engagement, or engaging citizens in that conversation. A lot of times, when the development do occur, sometimes citizens are the last one to know, even though there's a process of notification and hearing, a public hearing. Sometimes, citizens want some input into how their community is going to grow. I think they deserve that. So that's the path, the partnership, the innovation and the engagement.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Awesome. What does housing affordability mean to you and how will you address its lack?

William (Bill) Harris:

Housing affordability means that people who work should have the opportunity to have adequate housing. One of the challenges for housing in this area is the price of housing. There is a need for what would be considered workforce housing or affordable housing. People are now paying more than 30% of their income for housing. We have to find a way again, this speaks to the development community bringing them in and having a conversation about how we can support the development of a housing stock that will make housing equitable and available to those working citizens who need places to stay, who want a nice home as well, and I think we have to try to find a way to make sure we can get that done. So that's housing affordability. We have to find ways, I think, to partner again to make sure that those kinds of housing stock and diversity is available for the Fuquay Varina community.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. When making important decisions, sometimes you have to make compromises or choose the least sucky thing. In the following scenarios, which would you choose? Decreasing lot sizes of homes in order to allow a greater number of homes to be available at a lower price point, or increasing lot sizes to decrease the number of homes available lowering the environmental and traffic ramifications of having more people in a given area?

William (Bill) Harris:

I think we have to have both for a municipality who is trying to provide services. Density allows that to happen, but I like a housing mix. I think that there should be available lots where people feel as if they did not necessarily crowd it. So I think there has to be a diverse housing stock that will provide an opportunity for people who can afford it to have those kinds of houses. Now some communities have, in order to address the affordable housing issue, diversified to include promoting the building of duplexes and triplexes and more multifamily living in order to make the housing stock affordable and available to a large, more wider and broader number of people. I think that that's going to be important. I don't see that we as a community are there yet. I think we have to have a conversation first about workforce housing, which, if it requires density a greater density I think we have to make housing available for those individuals. If we do have individuals who can afford to purchase lots at a larger lot size, I don't think we need to turn them away. I also think that one of the things that's so unique about Fuquaid Verena is that we have to I've talked about this for a while we have to acknowledge our agricultural history. So I'd like to see in some aspects that we reserve the opportunity, we reserve or preserve that agricultural heritage by promoting large lots. If an area of the town, if we have the market that can afford large lots in certain areas, I think that's a good thing.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. With this scenario, which would you choose: having fewer amenities and knowing many constituents may not be able to participate in those amenities because there's not enough space in order to avoid raising the town's taxes? Or would you be more prone to thinking ahead and feel it might be better to raise the town's taxes to a certain point in order to be reasonably proactive with the growing population? And by amenities I am including public safety, utilities as well as parks and rec.

William (Bill) Harris:

I think our primary focus as local government is to ensure a quality of life for our citizens. That means to me, making sure that families and children have the amenities to enjoy the community and to feel safe. So if it costs raising taxes, I would support increased amenities because I think, at the end of the day, when people are driving from work and driving back home, or if they're working here, they want to feel good about the quality of life that they have here in Fuquay Varina. They want to feel safe, they want to feel as if they can ride a bike or if they are pedestrian. They want to be able to walk safely to and from downtown or to and from a park. They want to be able to exercise, they want to be able to live and I think, as a local government, that's our primary responsibility is to promote a quality of life for those people who have chose to live in our area, our community.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Is there a limit to what you feel may be reasonable if a situation warrants increasing taxes during your term?

William (Bill) Harris:

Well, yeah, there would be a limit, I think, and I would have to at that time, based on what the data or the figures show, to determine what would be reasonable. I don't think overtaxing would be the way to go per se. I think it has to be a balance in regards to what we want to do as far as amenities are concerned and what the public feedback and input would be. Certainly, if there's a discussion about raising taxes, we are going to hear from the public. I mean, people are going to give us an idea about what benchmarks we should really be looking at. But I think, because of that and because of our primary responsibility, we have to forge forward, have conversations about what we want in regards to a standard or quality of life, and then hear from the citizens. Let them sort of give us some ideas and feedback about is this too big, is this too small, and then I think, in turn, we will respond to that. I know I will.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. Do you feel there are any major areas where the town is inappropriately allocating resources?

William (Bill) Harris:

Inappropriately allocating resources.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Or doing so in a way that you would prefer the funds to be spent elsewhere.

William (Bill) Harris:

I think our priorities, based on our strategic plan and goal, are in line, mainly because the biggest budgetary line items for the town are police protection and fire protection and then recreation. All those are directly related to quality of life issues. Again, people want to feel safe, people want to feel safe with their property and again, people want to have the opportunity to have fun, exercise, recreate, get together, make sure that their children can have opportunities to have fun as well. So those are your three primary bending priorities for the town and I think those are good priorities. Now, as we continue to grow, I'm sure infrastructure may become part of those priorities, but that gets back to the point I made early about local government's responsibility to ensure a quality of life. And those three things your police protection, fire protection, recreation are crucial to making sure that there is a level of quality of living here in Fuqua Arena that surpasses any other community.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Do you have any creative suggestions on where to get alternative funds for the town to support the town's growth?

William (Bill) Harris:

We have, when you say, alternative suggestions. The town receives funds through grant funds. Funds oftentimes come from intergovernmental relations. That gets back to the partnering that I was telling you about, from the federal, state level, county level to the local, municipal level. A lot of those funds are based on, and the funding is based on, relationships and based on relationships with the general assembly relationship at the county level. Those funds come, and I think that those are ways where we can get fundings and appropriations. That's one way. The other way, of course, are through grants. There are a lot of federal and state programs that offer monies to address particular concerns in local communities and I'm sure that our staff has done a lot to make sure that we're on board with grants. I can tell you I was part of a very exciting project several years back where I was part of writing a grant, a group of citizens called the Fuquay Varina Citizens Against Drugs. We had a horrible drug problem here and a group of citizens got together. I was chairman of this organization, the Fuquay Varina Citizens Against Drugs, and we wrote a grant. We got a grant to the Bureau of Justice and we received a $500,000 grant. That $500,000 grant went to. Half of that went to the police department to address issues and then half of it went to prevention, where we taught parenting for parents. We taught and we provided drug abuse prevention strategies for young people. Grants can be effective for a community people. With your intergovernmental relationships at the state and federal level and local level, coupled with the ingenuity to write grants, there are alternatives to raising taxes for funding

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Many times people, including those who may be your fellow town council members, have varying opinions. How do you approach a situation when there is a major difference of opinion?

William (Bill) Harris:

I voice my opinion. I voice my opinion and, depending on what the issue is, I will vote my opinion. Sometimes I have voted no. I've been the lone person to vote my opinion on an idea, a project, particularly if I don't necessarily I don't mind standing alone and voicing my concerns. I will do that. Then, at the same time, one of the things that I've learned since I've been in government in order to get anything done, you have to work with and through other people. I use a combination of strategies. If something comes along where I feel so strongly about it that it's not good for the community, I'll vote no, or either I'll make a motion to try to get that, which I think is important, pass, and we may be voted down. I may not get a second, but I still believe it's important for me being in that position to vote my conscience and to vote what I believe the citizens will want me to represent. I don't mind voting alone, yet still, I understand that it's important that I be a team player too. I think one of the things that the fellow commissioners know that I serve with is that, though, that I'm going to be sincere in my efforts, that there is no selfish motive or gain from my positions. I just vote from the aspect of what I think is good for the community and for the town and for the course for the citizens here.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

When there is that difference of opinion, how do you mediate that? Are you one to have the conversations or to avoid people or conversations? How do you work through a difference of opinion to try to find some sort of compromise or middle ground, if there can be one found?

William (Bill) Harris:

Well, if there can be one found, I'll try to look for the positive in it. I'll try my very best to look for the positive in it and to make sure that it's not harming anybody or any aspect of that. If that's the case, I would be amenable sometimes to and, depending on again what the issue is, I would be amenable to listen, but at my core I'm not going to stray away from my values when it comes to something I feel so strongly about. They know it. Sometimes some things are so Well the only word I could think of it might be somewhat controversial that I'm not going to win. I'm not going to win the votes, but I'm going to express myself and I'm going to make sure that the people are represented. I'm just going to make sure that, and maybe the next time around I'll win.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right. Do you feel the town could be more inclusive?

William (Bill) Harris:

I think that as we continue to become past 40,000 people, that we're just not going to be able to ignore the diversity in our community which brings so much talent and think that we can't appreciate that diversity. And it's crucial to that. And I just think in the community, people are going to rise up anyway to make sure that they have their voice heard. Can we be more proactive in promoting inclusion? Yes, we can. There have been conversations and there is a commitment that we move in that direction. I'm hoping that that can be part of the conversation continuously, that we continue to make sure there is equity, there is diversity and there is inclusion all of the way around in what we do. You know, there's a saying that talks about inclusion. It talks about diversity is having people sit at the table, but inclusion is having them to have their voices heard while they're at the table. So we have to have the mindset where, when we do open up these avenues of diversity, that we listen and we appreciate the different perspective of individuals in our community. So, yes, I believe in inclusion.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Now some you've just kind of addressed. But do you feel all constituents are feeling like they are seen and heard when it comes to town matters and issues they may be facing, like discrimination?

William (Bill) Harris:

I don't know, I don't know to what extreme. I know that has been part of the conversation ever since I've been on the board from the African American community. There's always a need for greater representation and being heard in greater voice. I mean that's constant now because we're more diverse. I'm sure that that conversation takes place as well, to the degree I don't know. I think it's something that we as a board we have to acknowledge that there is part of our community who may feel that they are not necessarily being heard, that they may not feel as included. I think that that's ongoing work that we have to do as a board to make sure that those voices are heard.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, would you be willing to sign on to Wake County's Non-Discrimination Ordinance? Why or why not?

William (Bill) Harris:

You know, when that first came up, I looked at that and I tried to get some idea as to what that really meant. Most communities already have a non-discriminatory policy. I'm not understanding what more that would do to ensure non-discrimination, because it's part of our policies. Once I get a better understanding of what that would do, then of course, I would consider it. I've read about it and I've read about discrimination and I have had some history in working with the EEOC in regards to my work life. I know that we already have policies in place to address those kinds of concerns, so I'm just trying to get a better understanding of what that really means for people.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, have you gained any endorsements thus far and if you gain more after the recording of this podcast, where might voters find that information?

William (Bill) Harris:

Well, I have a website. The website is HarrisForCommissioner. com. They could go on my website to see if there's any endorsements. I've been endorsed. I haven't had any endorsements yet, other than being endorsed by the Democratic Party. In fact, my campaign is really just kicking off. I waited later to really start the campaign. That's the only endorsement I have so far. In the past I have had more endorsements and I'm sure as I continue to campaign I'll get more.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, and was that the number four in your website or the word F-O-R?

William (Bill) Harris:

F-O-R. All right, yeah, harris, for commissioner.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Now along that same line. Where can listeners connect with you and find out all the latest information regarding your campaign?

William (Bill) Harris:

Of course, the website. If they need to contact me, they can contact me at 919-616-2025 or the website and I have an email and I'll have to get back to you with the email. Okay, I think the email. I'll have to get back to you with the email. I'm not sure. We just set it up and I'm not sure what it is.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Do you have any last thoughts you'd like to share with those voting in the upcoming election?

William (Bill) Harris:

Well, my last thoughts are there are a lot of people running for election this time around. What I've learned is elections are one thing, governing is another and I think, depending on what people's motives are for running, it's important at this point in the history of Fuquay Varina for citizens to look at good governing. I think that's gonna be the key and again, I believe I bring that experience to this position. My years of service, I think, qualifies me to add value. I think that this election is going to come down to the citizens deciding if experience counts or not, if the stability on the board is important or not, and who can take us into the future.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right. So now I have a lightning round of questions that have no political basis at all. Of course no right answers, no wrong answers. You can just speak out what comes to you. We'll start with what is your favorite book?

William (Bill) Harris:

Oh, last book I read, ah, from Good to Great.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Excellent. Who is someone you look up to and view as a role model?

William (Bill) Harris:

I look up to my dad, my father. I think he instilled in me a certain level of commitment to help others, the service that he gave to the community while he was alive, his commitment to family, his commitment to trying to make the community in which he lived a better place. So it would have to be my dad

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's your favorite way to relax and let go?

William (Bill) Harris:

I play music. I'm a trumpet player. Yeah, I performed for about 15 years playing in different bands up and down the East Coast. After my youngest son was born, I came off the road. So now I have a trumpet and a flugelhorn and I have a couple of amplifiers here and I have a mute where electronic mute where I can play my trumpet and get the quality sound. So to relax, I'll put on some music some jazz or either some gospel music and I'll play, and after about five or 10 minutes I'm in another place. I like to play jazz because I like to improvise, and that's one. The other thing is golf. I play golf, I like to be outside. I walk. I walk about an average of three to four times a week. I walk about three miles when I walk. So I walk about 15 miles, 20 miles a week and music, golf, exercise and, of course, family time. But the relaxing thing would be golf and music.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's one thing that fills your heart with joy?

William (Bill) Harris:

There's so many things. I'm trying to just I'm trying to look at one, but there's so many things. When I see children smile, that brings me joy. When I wake up in the morning and I see my wife, that brings me joy. When I see my children, that brings me joy. When I hear good music, that brings me joy. When I hear a good sermon, that brings me joy. When I believe that I'm doing something that's going to be impactful, that brings me joy. I mean I just have a lot of things that make me happy. I look for not necessarily the external things, but those internal things that bring me joy, that have eternal significance.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Excellent, and we are so blessed, aren't we?

William (Bill) Harris:

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. What's your greatest weakness? Sometimes, in situations where I need to say something, I don't. I think that sometimes what I need to speak and a lot of times this is not necessarily in the public arena, but personally sometimes I'll just stay quiet and not necessarily express myself verbally. I think that's one of the reasons why I like music and I like writing is because I can express myself sometimes through those mediums.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What was one thing you wished for as a kid?

William (Bill) Harris:

Let's see as a kid. Oh, I really wanted to be six feet tall.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Did you achieve that?

William (Bill) Harris:

No, I used to stand in the mirror and hold my hands up like this. I was thinking. I said, oh, oh God, if I could just be six feet tall. My dad was five seven. My mother was four eleven. My sister was five four. I was the tallest thing in the house and I'm five ten.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

The odds were not in your favor. You did good at five ten.

William (Bill) Harris:

I don't know why that was a magic number. I guess because you know sports. It would have made me eligible to play more sports. I played football but I knew I couldn't after high school do the thing, but anyway.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's something that's on your bucket list?

William (Bill) Harris:

I always said I wanted to perform before like thousands of people and, just to you know, play my trumpet and like that. I mean, I guess over the years I have performed for thousands of people, but it's been in like little pockets. It hadn't been like a large group of people on stage. That would be nice. Then I want to, let me couch this, like this this past week I was in Charleston. My wife and I we celebrated our anniversary. I went to Charleston and I got inspired because Charleston we traced my family history and Charleston was the place we could trace my great, great, great great grandmother's location to Charleston where she was sold and bought. Amanda Benbow Lunn (Host): Oh, wow. William (Bill) Harris (Guest): And a lot of people from Charleston who come in from West Africa come from Sierra Leone. So I want to go to Africa. I want to find that connection there. We got the bill of sale for her. We don't know how she came to America, but we got the bill of sale and we know she came in from Charleston up through the Carolinas and settled in the southern part of the state. So my bucket list go back to Africa, go to Ghana.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I'm disciplined.

William (Bill) Harris:

Yeah, sometimes I think yeah, I'm pretty, pretty disciplined. I have an internal I guess is almost like my parents' voice. They say don't do this, don't do that kind of deal, but I have goals and visions and I try to carry and conduct myself based on working toward those goals. So pretty much disciplined when it comes to certain things. I like that about myself. I like the fact that I believe in self-improvement. I think every day is another chance for me to try to get it right and I constantly work on myself. I like that about me. I'm just not satisfied. I accept myself who I am, but I know that I can do better. You know what I'm saying and so I like that. I just haven't sat down and said this is it, I'm enough, I got it all together. You know I'm not like that and I like that about me.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect. Well thank you so much. I appreciate you for trusting me and helping me to perform this podcast and being part of our candidate segment of the Holly Springs Deep Dive, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive. May you have the best of luck with your reelection.

William (Bill) Harris:

Amanda, thank you, and thank you for being so patient. I said, you know, after the other night I said poor Amanda's going to really think I'm just not there.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Quite the opposite, because it shows character. So, for those listening, we tried to do this podcast a couple of days ago and we had some technical difficulties and for some people some people this would be outside their comfort zone, so they would just say no altogether. You chose to do it. And then, when people encounter difficulties, it's also easy for some people to turn away and decide not to participate. So for me, what I took from that was that when there's an issue, you hang around, you have patience, you try your best to fix it and you came through, and so I am one that looks for the best in all people, and for me, that's what I want in somebody who's going to represent me in town government. So kudos to you for sticking it through and seeing it through and finding a way for it to work.

William (Bill) Harris:

Thank you, Amanda. Thank you so much.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You're welcome. Democracy is at the heart of all we hold dear. Our local governments have the influence to decide our community's priorities. These offices have a major impact on our daily lives and can have real consequences. They create and enforce local ordinances, fund our local fire and police departments, create the structure and ambiance of our communities and decide our local property taxes. Lower voter turnout in local elections means your vote has even more of an impact. Early voting starts October 19th at the Wake County Board of Elections and begins October 28th and will run through November 4th at the John M Brown Community Center in Apex and the Avery Street Recreation Center in Garner. During early voting, you may go to any of these early voting sites. Election Day will be Tuesday, November 7th. On Election Day, you have to go to your designated polling site. Please remember you will need a valid ID to vote. This year, the voter registration deadline is October 13th, though you may also be eligible to register at the voting sites during the early voting period. And that brings this episode of the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive, to a close. Make sure you check out all the other relevant candidate episodes for the Board of Commissioners, also known as Town Council for Holly Springs, and Fuquay Varina, at www. Holly SpringsDeepDive. com, spotify, apple Podcasts, audible or wherever you currently listen to your podcasts. I will include helpful links for each candidate and voting in general in their episode show notes on our website. If you have any thoughts or topics you'd like to share, you may do so through social media or via email at HollySpringsPodcast@ gmail. com. Thank you for engaging in today's episode and becoming a more informed citizen. Democracy is a team sport. Together we make democracy work and our communities a better place to work, live and play. Your vote absolutely matters. Your voice absolutely matters. You, my friend, absolutely matter. Until next time, my friends. Namaste: The love and light in me sees and honors the love and light in you.

Fuquay Varina Municipal Election Candidate Interview
Decision Making in Prior Service
Taxes, Resource Allocation, and Inclusion
Personal Interests and Qualities Conversation