Sylvester Williams, candidate for Durham mayor, takes your questions

A pivotal election is underway in Durham, with voters choosing a new mayor and filling three City Council seats this fall.

There are eight people competing for mayor.

Early voting in the primary runs through Oct. 7 and Primary Day is Oct. 10.

The top two mayoral candidates will proceed to the general election in November, and the winner will have a two-year term.

We collected questions from residents across Durham to help readers get to know the candidates.

Sylvester Williams

Name: Sylvester Williams

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Pastor

Website: Not provided

Are we paying people competitively and keeping our promises to our workers?

- East Durham resident Aidil Ortiz

No. Police and sanitation workers are needed in Durham and deserve just compensation for what they do for the citizens of Durham.

Do you have any experience that helps you understand development in Durham? How do you plan to get more affordable units in the city?

- Planning commissioner Zuri Williams

As a financial analyst I studied the economy.

I also was chair for economic development for the Durham Business and Professional Chain and vice chair for the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. The city is sitting on money that could be deployed to create more low-income and elderly housing.

As Durham grows more dense, how do we get away from the classic American model of car-oriented development? Are there any policies that you support that can keep us from becoming another Atlanta or Dallas?

- Downtown resident Nirav Patel

Instead of revisiting the light-rail failure, more money should be put toward expanding the number of bus routes. It is cheaper and more effective.

What policies do you support for implementing safer streets and reducing car dependency locally and regionally?

- Stadium Heights resident Nick Roberts

Instead of revisiting the light-rail failure, more money should be put towards expanding the number of bus routes. It is cheaper and more effective.

What will you do to support the mental health needs of everyday Durham residents, especially thousands of young people in our public school systems?

- Hillside High School senior Isaiah Palmer

HEART is a great program. Big Brothers Big Sisters is another program that will help young people. I will try to get adequate funding for both.

In your vision for the city, what role does public education play and how does that connect to economic development, public safety and community health?

- Fayetteville Street corridor resident Erika Wilkins

Statistics have shown that lack of job leads to greater crime. I would talk to the superintendent of the Durham Public Schools about putting vocational classes such as carpentry, electrical and bricklaying in all public high schools.

On the subject of alleged Clean Water Act violations in Falls Lake and its tributaries: How did we get here and who should be held responsible? Who is going to pay for the creek restoration and environmental damage?

- Southeast Durham resident Pam Andrews

New construction and plastic are some of the main causes.

How have you seen Durham evolve in your time here and what’s one thing you’ll have the power to change if elected?

- The News & Observer

No response.

To find polling places and full details on voting, visit the Board of Elections at or 919-560-0700.