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New Bern mayor: "If I become DA, there are going to be major changes"

By Christy Andrews
Published On: Aug 29 2013 04:32:15 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 05:22:20 PM CDT
NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY -

New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis told NewsChannel 12 Thursday he might run for the district attorney seat in the 2014 election.

Bettis announced in February he would not run for re-election for New Bern Mayor, but now says he is considering the DA job for Craven, Pamlico and Carteret Counties.

Bettis said current district attorney, Scott Thomas, is wasting taxpayer money by appointing a special attorney to Bettis’ DWI case. Thomas said that’s because of a conflict of interest, but Bettis disagrees.

“Taxpayers are paying him to come down here for five minute motions and drive back to Raleigh,” Bettis said. “I think there's a lot better way of doing the DA's job than the way it's being done now.”

Bettis’ announcement comes just days after he was arrested by a Grand Jury on child abuse charges. He faces two charges of child abuse from a May DWI charge. Bettis’ two stepchildren were in the vehicle with him at the time of the DWI.

When asked if his recent consideration to run for district attorney is related to his current charges, Bettis responded: “Oh God, no. I’ve been talking about it for a long while.”

Scott Thomas, district attorney, declined to comment on the mayor’s announcement, but confirmed he plans to run for re-election in 2014.

As for the election, Bettis said nothing is confirmed, but he is not ruling out the possibility of his name on the 2014 ballot.

“If I become DA, there are going to be major changes,” Bettis said. “I'm going to go after it like I went after the troubles in New Bern and when I closed down the Housing Authority. Everybody wants a hamburger, but nobody wants to see the cow slaughtered. There's going to be blood splattered.”

Bettis said his decision to run for DA relies on the support of his family.