Meet the Republican candidates for New Hanover County Board of Commissioners

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

woody-white-586x640 patricia-kusek-640x640derrick-hickey-381x515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Republican candidates, in alphabetical order.

derrick-hickey-381x515

Derrick Hickey is running for his first term on the BOC. He served on the Board of Education from 2010-2014, and on the Parks and Recreation Board from 2006-2012.

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

I am running for this office to serve the people of this county. We have seen an increase in pay-to-play politics over the years.  The donor class is well represented in government, but the people as a whole have lost their seat at the table of local government.  We see evidence of this sentiment in the groups of citizens who have come together to make their concerns heard.  I have lived in this community for thirteen years with my family and want to see it grow in keeping with what has made it special from the outset: first and foremost it’s people, but also its beaches, inlets, environment and commitment to education and higher education. In order to accomplish this, we need to attract businesses that support a diverse economy.  We need county systems, policies, and procedures that are hospitable to this goal.
 
 (2) If elected, what is your top priority for the next four years?
 
There are two immediate issues we must address that go hand-in-hand; the crime problem that we have in our community, and jobs.  One of the first things both businesses and people consider when choosing a location is safety.  We must employ a holistic approach including education, enforcement, and rehabilitation to address the gang violence and opiod epidemics that have affected our area.  We also need good, well paying jobs. Updates to the zoning ordinances must support this goal and should include a robust special use permit including required community meetings.
 
 (3) What would you tell someone debating a move to New Hanover County?
 
The beauty of our beaches and environment speak for themselves. But the people of this county are what make it so special.  We have a diverse mix of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences that come together to create a town that any and every person would want to live in.  The crime issues we have in our county must be addressed so that we can add safety and security to our county’s list of qualities.

patricia-kusek-640x640

Patricia Kusek is running for her first term on the BOC. She has been on the board of the Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority since 2011, serving as chair since 2014.

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

For the past several election cycles, I have gone to vote and looked at the choices we had for our elected officials and asked myself, “Is this really the best we have to choose from?” Clearly there have to be other people who have owned businesses, worked in corporate America and have been involved in this community for years, who live their lives honestly and ethically, who know what it’s like to work hard and make a payroll, and who have the best interests of New Hanover County citizens at heart. And so I decided to run for County Commission.

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

I want to inject fiscal responsibility throughout the county, through working smarter and treating every taxpayer dollar as if it were my own. That includes staffing, operations, programs, services and infrastructure.

 I would also like to instill a sense of urgency in government. Things simply do not need to take forever. In the business world, time is money and effort pays big dividends. That philosophy can be applied to the government as well.

 New Hanover County simply must retain and attract new business and industry. This will help expand our tax base, helping us keep taxes level while funding education and law enforcement. We can also strike the proper balance between economic development, job creation in the manufacturing sector and the protection of our environmental assets, and exercise responsible judgement in the process.

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

I like to recall my own story about first coming here. When we moved here 16 years ago we didn’t know a soul. In the first 60 days I met 600 new people. I did that by knocking on their doors and introducing myself. Out of all those 600 people I only met one person who did not want to live here. (I am sure she must have moved!).

 I like to say that New Hanover is the “goldilocks” county…its’ not too big, not too small, it’s just right!

 Our beaches, our river, our neighborhoods, our schools and our arts all combine to make New Hanover County one of the best places anywhere to live, work and raise a family.

woody-white-586x640Woody White is running for re-election to the BOC, his first term started in 2012. He was also a North Carolina State Senator in 2014.

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

I own a small business in Wilmington, and have a family.  We care deeply about our community and I ran for public office to make a difference.  I know everyone says that, and it may ring hollow in this cynical political environment we are in.  But it’s true with us.  I know that I have made a difference in the taxes people pay (keeping them low!) and in many other areas that affect the lives of my fellow citizens.

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

I would continue to work hard to make certain that the No. 421 corridor has water and sewer services.  Having this critical infrastructure has eluded our county for decades.  After working hard with many other parties, we are now on the verge of getting it done.  Once completed, it will ensure that manufacturing and industry grows in the area close to transportation hubs.  I would also continue a strong relationship with Wilmington Business Development, the Chamber of Commerce, and other pro-business groups with whom we have enjoyed many years of solid outcomes.

We need more high-end jobs (I.E. Live Oak Bank, PPD, etc.) but we also need entry level jobs and a healthy manufacturing sector, as well, to employ the citizens in our community that do not have college degrees or the education to work at these high-end jobs.

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

We live in the best part of the world, abundant with fun activities, excellent educational assets, and diverse people.  When you arrive here, bring a bright smile and an eagerness to get involved.  And get ready to live here the rest of your life!  You will love it.