Congressman G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat in his first term representing the 1st District, including northern Vance County and all of Henderson, took the driving cleanup tour of the city Thursday morning, then had lunch at Uptown Rose with Mayor Clem Seifert and other city representatives.
The former prosecutor and judge said his father began his career as a dentist in 1927 by taking over the practice of Dr. Beckford, who was dying. Butterfield said his father had an office downtown on Montgomery Street (the very street where he was having lunch Thursday) for a year before moving to Wilson.
Butterfield said nothing he saw in Henderson surprised him: He has seen the same decay and abandoned structures in Wilson, where he said he personally has invested $1 million the past five years in buying dilapidated buildings and either rehabilitating or demolishing them.
He urged the city to become more aggressive in clearing abandoned structures, placing tax liens and, in what would be a major policy change in Vance County, foreclosing on the properties to allow the city to sell them and recoup its money.
Look for much more on the visit later.