Notable Wayne County dignitaries and numerous community members turned out to the Paramount Theatre on Aug. 28 to participate in a town hall with Congressman Wiley Nickel.
Nickel, who represents North Carolina’s 13th District, has been in office for roughly seven months, and his stop in Goldsboro marked the 10th town hall he and his staff have conducted.
Earlier in the day, Nickel made stops across Wayne County at a dialysis center, a food bank, he met with Sheriff Larry Pierce and he also toured the Mt. Olive Pickle plant.
Reggie Love, a former personal aide and special assistant to former President Barack Obama, as well as a former basketball and football player at Duke University, addressed the crowd at the beginning of the town hall.
“Even though it seems like Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on many things, we can all agree that Coach K, and Roy Williams, and Dean Smith were all very good people,” Love said. “I’m not going to say who was a better coach. I’m just here today because as a constituent for the district, Wiley has been a great friend to me over the years. He’s also been a great ally to not only everything that I’ve done, but to also President Obama, and his two campaigns for presidency, and all the work he did in the White House. It is great to see this whole thing come full circle. I appreciate you guys supporting Wiley, and I appreciate you guys supporting this experiment we call democracy.”
In his opening moments at the podium Nickel touted his work in congress on the House Financial Services Committee, the Blue Dog Committee, his work to submit over $32 million in community funding requests, his co-sponsoring over 160 bills, his meeting with over 400 constituent groups and closing over 375 constituent cases. Nickel has also been heavily involved in the Acre Act, which helps lower mortgage costs for rural communities and help farmers have greater access to credit through community banks.
Nickel also lauded the work of the men and women of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. He also mentioned recent bipartisan trips to Brazil, Columbia, Panama and Israel.
“My focus has been doing things that will help the people I represent,” Nickel said. “In this congress it means passing bipartisan legislation. Nothing will happen in this congress unless it’s done in a bipartisan way.”
Nickel also addressed the shooting that took place on Aug. 28 on the campus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that left one faculty member dead.
“Before we get started, I wanted to stop for a moment today, because today at UNC Chapel Hill, our community was rocked once again, by an armed shooter on campus,” Nickel said. “These students were only in their second week of classes and have been forced to face yet another episode of gun violence. My heart breaks for every single student, family member and person that’s affected. I will remain committed to solutions to end gun violence, to end this epidemic. Our kids, our community they deserve so much better.”
Nickel also took questions from members of the audience and addressed concerns involving a variety of topics including homelessness, social security, gun violence, high interest rates pertaining to mortgages, housing costs, child care, and scam issues for senior adults.
“My door is always open to everybody that I represent here in Wayne County,” Nickel said. “I promise to be accessible and accountable to the people of our district. If you need anything please reach out to me or my team.”
Also in attendance were Goldsboro mayor David Ham, city manager Tim Salmon, former state representative Raymond Smith Jr., Wayne County councilwoman Barbara Aycock, Wayne County clerk of superior court Julie Whitfield, Goldsboro city councilman Charles Gaylor, and former state representative Phil Baddour Jr.