In District C, incumbent Jack Smith faces newcomer Kenneth Presting. Smith is the council’s longest-serving memberto mark his twenty-fifth anniversary on the council, his colleagues named a park after him in 2014and is now seeking his eighth term. In his lengthy service, Smith has distinguished himself as an advocate for preserving Cary’s small-town charm and its quality of life.

But in our view, it’s time for Cary to go in a different, more progressive directionnot on account of Smith’s shortcomings, but because voters have the opportunity to elect Presting, a self-described “Bernie Sanders democratic socialist,” though his political views tend to be much more nuanced than that.

In his response to our questionnaire, Presting brings upunsolicitedthe fact that Cary has no abortion provider and promises that if elected he would work to change that. He also wants the town to spend money collecting data on gun violence.

We’ve found a lot to like about Presting beyond his liberal stances on hot-button social issues. He says he’d ally himself with council members Lori Bush and Edward Yerha, and he talks smartly about traffic congestion, fare-free public transit, and the town’s reliance on large parking lots. (He favors more expensive underground garages.)

Presting would shake things up, and in this case, that’s a good thing.