Batton challenges in Sleepy Hole

Published 10:15 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Raymond Batton is challenging the incumbent on City Council for the Sleepy Hole Borough seat.

“I’m here for the voters, not for my views,” Batton said.

Batton served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years and currently works for Jani-King in Portsmouth as the vice president. He also owns the Jani-King franchise in Roanoke.

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Batton said he will focus on education, controlled growth and accountability if he is elected.

Batton is currently vice president of the Suffolk Education Foundation and said he wants the city to view education differently.

“I believe we need to be more involved,” he said. He wants city leaders to get into the schools and see what teachers face every day.

“I truly believe if we did we would stop seeing the education part of our city as a business,” he said. “We’ve got to look at it differently. The schools are something that will bring people here. Look at it not as a business; look at it as an asset.”

He noted a good school system is the first thing potential residents and new businesses look at and said City Council and the School Board need to work together more to properly fund education.

“We need to figure out what we can do to make it better,” he said. “Education’s going to be my No. 1 thing.”

Batton said controlled growth is a priority for him.

“I don’t want to see us stop bringing in new residences,” he said. “I definitely don’t want to see us stop bringing in new businesses. “I will work with anyone as long as the project is right for the city. If you’re doing the right thing, it shouldn’t matter.”

Batton also said he wants to improve accountability. He hopes to set up a website where citizens can submit compliments or concerns, so City Council members can grade themselves and the performance of the city as a whole.

“The city belongs to the citizens, not us,” he said.

Batton also said he will give his City Council salary to charity if he is elected.