Q&A With Wilmington City Council Candidate: John D. Lennon

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.

John D. Lennon - Wilmington City Council

Occupation: Director of Operations-River Bluffs Development Corp.
Political experience: First run for office. Eight years on the New Hanover County Airport Authority, four years on the NCDOT Board of Transportation and three years (still serving) on the City of Wilmington Planning Commission
Political affiliation: Republican

GWBJ: If elected, what changes would you like to see in Wilmington during your term? 
Lennon: "One objective … is for the city to address the vacant positions that exist throughout almost every department. This shortage is most apparent in our police department, which … is unable to consider new ways to get involved in our communities right now. I’d like to see changes in our city government’s culture: We need to be focused on customer service, meaning that our most important role is to supply our citizens with strong services that make Wilmington a more livable community for every resident."

GWBJ: What do you want people to take away from your campaign? 
Lennon: "I’ve been vocal about my desire to represent every Wilmington resident. I want to get to work on the issues that matter and the projects that will have the most benefits for every resident. This means swift action on the overdue 2014 Transportation Bond and 2016 Parks Bond projects. It’s unacceptable to me that the benefits our residents were promised in those bonds … still have not been completed. The role of a city government should be to provide the best resources to its citizens, and to be supportive of measures that will make all residents’ quality of life better…"

GWBJ: Would you put an emphasis on affordable housing in the city? How would you approach the issue? 
Lennon: "Absolutely. I would be dedicated to bringing more affordable housing to Wilmington as a City Councilor, … The best way to provide more reasonably priced housing is to increase the supply of it. The recently approved Land Development Code addresses this issue head on and if we are serious about providing more reasonably priced housing and expanding our tax base … our entire community will need to get behind those concepts. City Council’s role will be to make sure that the impacts of this growth are mitigated and minimized … We can only continue to attract employers, and employees for our existing businesses, if we have a diversity of housing options."

GWBJ: What is your approach to growth and development in Wilmington? 
Lennon: "I am in favor of expanding the number of residences and types of housing options in our city, because I believe this is the best way to tackle the affordable housing crisis. The need for more residences for people of all income levels is our city’s most pressing need. I believe it makes sense to revisit a true Unified Development Ordinance that covers the entire New Hanover County … While we need more housing, I am committed to the preservation of green space and the improvement of our incredible Parks resources in the City."

GWBJ: If elected, which industry would you like to see grow in your next term? 
Lennon: "I’m not necessarily interested in favoring one industry over another, but I am a dedicated proponent of the expansion of small- to medium-sized businesses that provide quality employment opportunities for all our citizens. One of my top goals is to create an economic environment in Wilmington that makes our city the best place to start and grow a resident-owned business in the entire Southeast. This goal goes hand in hand with the need for more affordable housing in our community."

GWBJ: What do you bring to the role that the other candidates do not?
Lennon: "Experience in state, county and local government. I have never held elective office but have served on the State Board of Transportation, the New Hanover County Airport Authority and the City Planning Commission. Our city’s future is dependent upon collaboration between multiple governments -- especially when it comes to pressing issues like the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge --and I have a body of work that shows effectiveness in getting things done for our region."

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