Meet the Democratic candidates for New Hanover County Board of Commissioners

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2016 Democratic Board of Commissioners Candidates, Left to Right: Julia Boseman, Jonathan Barfield and Nelson Beaulieu

The 2016 New Hanover County Board of Commissions election has six candidates – three Democrats and three Republicans – vying for three open seats on the board.

Port City Daily contacted members of each party and asked the following questions: (1) Why have you chosen to run for this office? (2) If elected, what is your top priority for the next four years? (3) What would you tell someone debating a move to New Hanover County?

Below are the responses from the Democratic candidates, in alphabetical order.

jonathan-barfield-240x300-240x300Jonathan Barfield is running for re-election to his third term on the BOC. He has served two previous terms, from 2008-2016.

(1) Why have you chosen to run for this office?

It started in 2007, when I was elected president of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors. But really it started before that. My father [Joe Barfield] was county commissioner from 1980 to 1992. So I grew up in county politics. In 2008 I started really thinking about Wilmington, and our county. I got my family’s blessing.  I ran that year and in 2012. It’s all been about my strong desire and passion to help this community.

(2) If elected, what is your top priority for the next four years? 

I would keep focusing on what I’ve been doing the last two years, creating more economic growth, creating more jobs. I’ll continue to work with the public schools to make sure we have the best schools, not just K-12, but also the best community college. And, of course, I’ll keep working to protect our environment.

(3) What would you tell someone debating a move to New Hanover County?

We have a lot of great qualities here. I grew up here, and I know there are lot of great families here, and great values here. We have excellent green spaces and parks. There are the beaches and the historic downtown. Our community has it all. We’re also the economic hub of southeastern North Carolina. I think we are the county that a lot of other counties look to for leadership. Our doors are always open. And the lights are always on!

nelson-beaulieu-640x427Nelson Beaulieu is running for his first term on the BOC. He has been a professor of history and political science at University of North Carolina and Cape Fear Community College since 2012.

(1) Why have you chosen to run for this office?

My overall idea behind running was to fundamentally change the nature of the board to the citizens of our county.  I don’t think the board of commissioners does a good job of communicating with the citizens.  This board has “public” meetings at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. every other Monday.  My public works during those times.  As a result, the board is deaf to the needs and concerns of a large percentage of its citizens, and those citizens in turn, often don’t know what county government is doing, or worse, don’t care. 

This needs to change.  People living in communities are often able to identify potential areas of need well before they become major problems.  More than anything else, I want to give a voice to an oft forgotten group of people and provide the perspective of the working-class citizen.

(2) If elected, what is your top priority for the next four years?

My first priority would be dealing with the opioid drug abuse problem. I view this issue more as a public health emergency. What we have done to deal with both prescription and illegal drugs has not worked. So, we have to re-assess and re-think our strategy on a local level. 

 My other top priority would be working with our state leaders to figure out a long-term solution to our traffic congestion problem and doing what we can, (sidewalks, bike paths, Wave transit) to help alleviate the congestion that continues to cripple New Hanover.

(3) What would you tell someone debating a move to New Hanover County?

When I left the Army, my wife Amanda and I could have gone anywhere. But we chose New Hanover as the place we wanted to raise our two daughters. Whenever I’m on the campus at UNCW, or enjoying a summer evening with my family at the Carolina Beach boardwalk, or stopping in to the Fort Fisher Aquarium to say hi to “Maverick” (our very own bald eagle), I see a community that our residents embrace.  From the Azalea Fest to Riverfest, to the Christmas parade, and every farmer’s market and community event in between, we are a place that embraces all of that which makes us different.  New Hanover is more than a community, it’s a lifestyle and a state of mind.


13731536_635606696597256_3488354067825413445_n-640x426Julia Boseman
is running for her second BOC term, she served previously from 2000-2004. She also served as a North Carolina state senator from 2005-2011.

(1) Why have you chosen to run for this office?

Being a mom of children in public schools, I have seen first hand how important it is to make sure the schools are adequately funded by the County.  I want to make a difference for all of the citizens of New Hanover County by investing in education, building a vocational high school, making sure infrastructure is in place before new development is approved and bring home good paying jobs.

(2) If elected, what is your top priority for the next four years?

My top priority would be to bring jobs back to New Hanover County.  We have lost so many jobs thanks to Raleigh not continuing the film incentive program I put in place when I was a State Senator.

(3) What would you tell someone debating a move to New Hanover County?

New Hanover County represents every part of me past, present and future.  I was born here, my 86-year-old mother lives here and it’s where we’ve decided to raise our kids Lucas and Jack. New Hanover County offers a wonderful climate, beautiful beaches and strong cultural arts scene and if we elect the right people, we’ll have leaders committed to making it even better by bringing back good paying jobs, protecting our natural resources that attracts and keeps so many of us here and making sure every child is college bound or career ready.