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Connelly and Croskery Square Off in D5

by Dennis Mitchell
Election correspondent





In the race for Greenville’s district 5 city council seat, longtime physician and one-term incumbent Rick Croskery is challenged by small businessman and former ECU standout and pro baseball player PJ Connelly.

Croskery brings a long résumé of service to the community, as chair of the Chamber of Commerce and of the United Way of Pitt County. He points to this service as the reason voters should return him to the seat. Connelly is the owner of Connelly Properties and believes his experience as a small business owner will resonate with D5 voters.

In their email responses to a series of questions, Croskery said his second term, if he wins it, would focus on pedestrian safety. “I am on record as a strong advocate for traffic and pedestrian safety,” Croskery wrote, “and our unfortunate string of pedestrian fatalities this year has deepened my commitment to increased and better lighting, crosswalks, sidewalks, education, traffic control and enforcement.”

Connelly cited “continuous tax increases,” “lack of quality jobs” and “failing streets” as the issues topping his list of priorities for D5. Saying he knocked on over 2000 doors during the campaign, he said the experience allowed him to hear the struggles of D5 residents firsthand. “I had one person tell me that he is planning to move out of Greenville because taxes are too high,” Connelly said. “Several citizens have told me there are not enough quality jobs in our area.”

(Both candidates’ full email responses to a series of questions can be read here.)

In dealing with the issues they feel to be important for D5, both candidates believe it is important to listen to the concerns of those who put them in office. . Croskery said that, through his work as a physician, he has gained a “deep knowledge of and caring for citizens and their needs.” Connelly points to his “grassroots way” of campaigning, which he believes has provided insight into the needs of the district’s residents. “If you want to represent people and truly understand their concerns, you need to speak with them directly,” he said.

Defeating Croskery will not be easy, given the personal relationships he has been able to cultivate with residents through his service and work.If Connelly’s opposition to what he calls “continuous tax increases” resonates with voters, however, D5 could be in play.

Dennis Mitchell held the At-Large council seat from 2011-2013.

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