Q&A With Wilmington City Council Candidate: Neil Anderson

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Oct 23, 2023
This year’s city council election consists of seven members of the Wilmington community vying for the council’s three open seats.
Early one-stop voting started Oct. 19, absentee ballot requests are due Oct. 31 and Election Day is Nov. 7. More details on voting can be found on the Board of Elections website.
The Greater Wilmington Business Journal asked each candidate questions about their campaign to see how the candidates compare.

Neil Anderson - Wilmington City Council

Occupation: Owner of Hook Sales LLC
Political experience: Wilmington City Council incumbent
Political affiliation: Republican 

GWBJ: If elected, what changes would you like to see in Wilmington during your term?
 "My first change is … to create and promote a business-friendly environment that enables our existing businesses to grow and thrive, while attracting new employers from an array of industries to the area. … Jobs that can be done virtually favor Wilmington and the quality of life it offers over most bigger cities. However, … we need to stay focused on businesses that can provide jobs for a wide range of people … So quality job growth in the modern economy is one of my primary goals, one that would help in other areas of concern like crime and housing affordability."

GWBJ: What do you want people to take away from your campaign?
Anderson: "I do not want to serve another term as [a] stepping stone to higher political office. I want to continue to serve the citizens of Wilmington and give back to my community … I believe I have been an effective leader during my time on Council. I have worked with my fellow council members by proposing pragmatic solutions and seeking quality compromise whenever possible. For me, there is still work left to do. I need your help to continue to do so for the next four years. I would greatly appreciate your support."

GWBJ: Would you put an emphasis on affordable housing in the city? How would you approach the issue?
Anderson: "The city [needs] to continue to help support programs and nonprofits that preserve the stock of affordable homes by helping financially challenged homeowners prevent them from falling into unrecoverable decay. We also need to be careful that we stay in our lane as municipal government. … The city can only help so much and really only impact the workforce housing component (80% AMI). To produce housing for citizens much below that income level it will require the help of the federal and/or state government …"

GWBJ: What is your approach to growth and development in Wilmington?
Anderson: "I am often asked, how are things with the city, and my usual response is the amount of sustained growth creates many challenges, but I would rather our challenges be from growth than decay like many cities in North Carolina. … Council promotes the use of conditional rezonings… This is an extremely useful tool that helps us improve upon a proposed project, so it fits much better into the existing surroundings. I would continue to lean heavily on this useful practice."

GWBJ: If elected, which industry would you like to see grow in your next term?
Anderson: "The easy answer here for me, is no one industry … We are blessed with a hugely successful tourism industry … The city and county have invested heavily in infrastructure (water, sewer, and gas) along the Hwy. 421 corridor. We need to continue to capitalize on that vision… The research at the marine center and entrepreneurial development coming out of the incubator at UNCW are also exciting … My vision is leveraging our assets and strengths (CFCC as another example) to create a diverse economy."

GWBJ: What do you bring to the role that the other candidates do not?
Anderson: "I have a lengthy track record of preparing diligently, working hard at the job, and committing an incredible number of hours each month to my work with the city … My education, work, and experience separate me from many of my fellow candidates… I also travel to other cities in NC and VA weekly, which exposes me to how other cities are addressing similar issues and challenges … Lastly, I have raised a family here in Wilmington for the last 22 years… I think experiencing raising a family in Wilmington and experiencing life here at all ages is a real plus."

To read the Q&A from the other Wilmington City Council candidates, click here.
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