As we enter another election year here in the city of Hickory, I began to reflect back on my short time being a member of the Hickory City Council. I am so grateful to be part of a group of people that have combined with our excellent and very knowledgeable city staff that has done some really great things for our city.
Here in Hickory we have so many things in the works it’s crazy. We have better-paying jobs coming to our Trivium Corporate Center, which has two commitments from Corning and a company from Germany called ITM. We have hopes that others will join them as we continue to add jobs for our citizens to have better economic opportunities for their families.
There has been improvements done to our downtown which will enhance our City Walk project and I was very happy that Book Walk, which will include the Ridgeview Community, has been added, as well. I could go on and on listing projects like downtown apartments, Ridgeview Library Expansion, Riverwalk, etc.
Seems like since I’ve joined council we have been making announcement after announcement of things that bring economic growth and opportunities to Hickory. What I’m most happy with is that all communities are sharing in this growth which is one of the things that pushed me to run for my seat in the first place, inclusion and a chance at better quality of life for all. I’m also proud to see us trying to address our homeless and affordable housing situations as well. Seems as if it’s all good and this is easy, right?
Now, I’ll get to the not so good part. With all these great things we have going on there’s always those who don’t share our vision and direction and think these things are unnecessary, question our decision-making, and think that we waste money.
I’ve come to learn that comes along with the territory of this position. It took me awhile but I understand that others will have their opinions and will think we should move in other directions than we choose. That’s cool with me though, I look at it as if I’m ordering a sandwich, some want onions and pickles some don’t but it doesn’t mean one is more right or better than the other. However, many truly don’t understand the way municipal government works and it’s hard to explain to some there are budgets, guidelines, and a process to the way things must be done.
Also for those of you reading this that don’t know who David Williams is, I am an African American — the only African American on Hickory City Council, the youngest member, and the only African American council member in Catawba County. Now let me tell you what comes along with that: pressure and expectations from my community, envy from my own kind and, of course, being called an Uncle Tom. On the flip side, I have to manage a disconnect from other races that don’t truly understand our community all while not coming off as an angry black man. It’s a very tight rope to walk. Doesn’t that sound fun? Actually it is.
I love being in this position because I feel as if I am contributing to change and bridging the gap to better understanding. The progress being made and being a member of a team that is making Hickory a better place for my son and the next generation makes it all worth it. Also being a role model and inspiring others pushes me to continue on my path to destiny.
I feel I was meant to be here right now in this position and trust God in all situations I find myself in along this path. Now I see others stepping up to run like Daria Jackson here in Hickory, Brenda Powell in Conover, and Beverly Danner in Newton and it makes me proud.
Aside from that we have great candidates running for office here in Hickory, and I’m excited to serve the winners of their respective wards until it’s my turn to run again. Catawba County in general has great elected officials and we should all be glad to have all those that represent us in this county. I have had the pleasure of meeting our county commissioners, our county manager, as well as council members and mayors of our surrounding cities through events and my association with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.
I also have become very close with Conover Councilman Don Beal, whom I serve with on The NC Board of Barber Examiners. Don serves as chairman of our board and is seeking re-election. Conover is lucky to have him as he is a great leader and a man that cares about all people and has the best interests of his city and its residents as priority. He has my support in all he does and I’m proud to call him my friend.
I’ve stated so much about my time being involved with Hickory City Council, I guess now everyone can see why I enjoy it so much. I’ve learned so much in a short amount of time all while building some great relationships and making a difference. That truly outweighs any difficulty I may face along the way. I look forward to continuing serving our great city and promise to try to keep being the best I can.
In no way am I perfect but I will always give my best and at the end of the day that’s all I can do. I want to end by saying thanks to all that have supported me and to those that haven’t, what are you waiting on? Seriously though, let’s all continue to work together to make Hickory a better place as it takes each and every one of us to play a part. Thanks for listening to my two cents. God bless you all!