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2019 Wake County Election Surveys

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Candidates running for this year's election provided responses to The Wake Weekly's candidate survey. The Wake Weekly sent an identical list of six questions to all Wake County election candidates in the newspaper's coverage area.

Responses are always published in alphabetical order by candidates' last names. The newspaper's questions and candidates' answers are as follows. NOTE: Some answers have been shortened for space purposes.

The "one-stop" early voting period ends today. Election Day is Tuesday.


Candidates: Mayor - James Roberson (incumbent) is running unopposed. Town Council (two seats open) - Ben McDonald, Stephen Morgan. Roberson and McDonald did not submit candidate surveys.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

MORGAN: An even better version of its current self. The council and the staff will work collaboratively to develop strategic plans based on community feedback that will better guide the town with respect to development, transportation, housing, shopping, leisure and employment choices.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

MORGAN: A commitment to service, respect and opportunities for all citizens. Service experience includes Knightdale Land Use Review Board member and chair, Planters Walk HOA board member and president and hospice volunteer. I'm a professional engineer with NCDOT and understand the importance of good planning and collaboration.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

MORGAN: Mitigating the impacts of rapid growth will be the most challenging issue. Collaboration with neighboring communities and state partners will yield the best outcome to this regional issue. The council will work collaboratively to represent the town's interests by attending regional meetings or even hosting regional meetings to discuss issues such as transportation, housing and environmental concerns.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

MORGAN: Open government is the cornerstone of a free society. I believe strongly in the first amendment and will defend it vigorously as an elected official. Public notification is an issue that has yet to be resolved with fewer people reading print media. It's one of the issues I would like to resolve, it also affects advertisements efforts for small businesses.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

MORGAN: We are on par with broadband in larger cities.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

MORGAN: Talking and listening to the communities' concerns is something I look forward to. There will many opportunities to engage with citizens. I would expect the staff to engage the larger community with surveys. As an individual in the council I plan to actively seek feedback by direct one-on-one engagement.


Candidates: Mayor - Ronnie Currin (incumbent) is the only name on the ballot. Board of Commissioners (two seats open): Edward Carelli, Steven Dieckhaus, Michelle Medley (incumbent), April Sneed, and Sheilah Sutton (incumbent).

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

CARELLI: In five years, I believe Rolesville will be a premier small town in Wake County. A place where people will want to call home. There will be many amenities that will enhance the quality of life for our youth and adults.

CURRIN: Rolesville will continue to grow because the secret is out, it is a great place to live and raise a family.   I see us growing using smart principles and maintaining a healthy rate of residential growth. I see the non-residential growth expanding in the next one to three years. There are two mix-use proposals that will add opportunities for more restaurants and businesses.

DIECKHAUS: I would love to see the great town of Rolesville expand to include a greater mix of industrial properties.This would expand our tax base so the residents could get a tax break.

MEDLEY: I see Rolesville as a more balanced community with commercial and industrial properties to alleviate the tax burden currently felt by Rolesville residents. To achieve that vision, my plan is to continue to be proactive in economic development, smart growth, building partnerships and relationships with key players and supporting our small businesses, all while being honest and transparent in decisions made on behalf of our citizens.

SNEED: I see Rolesville with a thriving town center, a place which will serve as a core to the town, a place of gatherings and community. I will promote the center as a community decision. I have and would continue to make it my mission to keep my fellow residents in the know about what is happening and how the changes will benefit Rolesville.

SUTTON: Rolesville is now on the map, and developers know who and where we are. We are not just going to accept anything they bring to the table. I am not afraid to challenge when needed or say no to a project that is not a good fit for our town. I will continue to challenge to get what Rolesville deserves.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

CARELLI: Over the past 40-plus years, I have had a wonderful diverse career. I was a small business owner for years. I grew my company from three to 50 employees and from one to three brick-and-mortar locations. Additionally, I held various management positions working for Fortune 500 companies.

CURRIN: I believe I have the experience, leadership and commitment to be successful as mayor. It is very difficult for the town to operate efficiently without a mayor that has working knowledge of the town. I have served as mayor pro-tem for eight years. With our mayor retiring, who has served for the past 12 years, I am uniquely qualified to step in.

DIECKHAUS: I have been in many leadership roles. Rotary, masons, shriners and the Boy Scouts, In these roles I had to listen to others, do research if required and then form my opinion.

MEDLEY: I have served the citizens of Rolesville as an elected town commissioner for the past four years. During my tenure as a town commissioner, the highlight of my career was in the duty of serving as the Economic Development Lead. My team and I were also instrumental in interviewing and presenting our findings for an economic development consultant.

SNEED: I was the executive director and sole employee of the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce during their time of transition. A time which afforded me the opportunity to work closely with the town board and staff helping me to gain a better understanding of how our town works and the vital importance of its businesses on our economy.

SUTTON: Having served for almost four years as a commissioner in Rolesville, I appreciate the voice of our Rolesville community. I have live in Rolesville for 15 years and the Raleigh area almost 22. Having never run or held an elected position prior to 2016 I bring a fresh, unencumbered perspective to the table and not afraid to push to do what's right.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

CARELLI: I will meet with our regional and state representatives on a regular basis. I believe that as a commissioner, interfacing with elected officials will go far in becoming knowledgeable about current and future plans that could affect our community.

CURRIN: I have worked as a regional representative for Rolesville for more than a decade. I am a member of the Triangle J Council of Governments that represents seven of our local counties. I presently serve on the executive board and I am the past chair. I am active representing Rolesville in regional affairs and discussions. I have working relationships with county and state elected officials.

DIECKHAUS: I would always be looking out for the opportunity to talk to a company to relocate here.

MEDLEY: First off, I would identify the resource needs for our community and collaborate with the Wake County Commissioners to align the appropriate solutions to meet those resource needs. For resource constraints beyond the span of control for the Wake County Commissioners, I would escalate and advocate at the state level for assistance to secure additional support needed to grow our community.

SNEED: While at the chamber I had the opportunity to meet and work with many regional and state leaders. I believe it is important to make sure Rolesville has a seat and is represented at the regional and state tables. I will attend and agree to represent Rolesville at the regional and/or state level to make sure Rolesville's voice is heard or continues to be heard.

SUTTON: I have relationships with mayors, other elected town official, chambers, pastors, school board members and officials in the legislature. I will work with these individuals and groups to find solutions to our challenges by learning from those who've already done it.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

CARELLI: As far as open government is concerned, we work for the citizens of our community and we owe them complete transparency. Many people believe there is only one way to disseminate information, however, we should use multiple methods to inform our citizens.

CURRIN: I am certainly an advocate for open and transparent government. If elected mayor, I plan to have our town board meetings live stream for public viewing. This has never been done in Rolesville before. I think most public records requests are regulated by our state General Assembly. I would not advocate discontinuing the newspaper requirements we have today.

DIECKHAUS: I believe that that all votes and procedures should be transparent. These meetings should be recorded and resident can view at a later time.

MEDLEY: I support openness and transparency in government. I feel people should have a choice in how they attain the information they are seeking. If it is already public knowledge and an individual does not have time or prefers not to do the research to get such information, then charging a surcharge should be expected.

SNEED: I agree with the public being informed on what our governing bodies are doing. It allows taxpayers the ability to see where their monies are going, it permits transparency which keeps the governing bodies accountable, which would hopefully lead to greater participation from the citizens.

SUTTON: I believe open government is vital and we must always allow the public to have free access. We should continue to use newspapers and add additional mediums to get notices out. But it definitely should not be stifled and the public should not be charged.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

CARELLI: Presently, we need to improve our network infrastructure. As we look to attract business, we will have to enhance network speeds with fiber technology. This will give our community a vital calling if we are going to attract business.

CURRIN: My regional experience has allowed me to understand many aspects of broadband. For a town to be successful, broadband must be available and have competitive pricing. We have a couple of providers in Rolesville that compare to others our size, but Rolesville does need a high-speed provider option. We have a new provider that just started operations a few months ago.

DIECKHAUS: We have choices when it comes to broadband - and we just had a memo that a new company is coming.

MEDLEY: There really is not a comparison. My town is on broadband and towns like Raleigh are on fiber. Our speed is inadequate most hours of the day and worse at night. With Rolesville being on the cusp of major commercial and retail  growth, it is important that we have all of our infrastructure in place, including our fiber optics.

SNEED: There is no comparison of Rolesville's broadband to larger cities. To speak on many of the individual neighborhoods, I see constant complaints about internet service. We are in major need of upgraded and better broadband service in all areas from the neighborhoods to town hall. If we continue with the services we now have that will be a hindrance to residents who work from home.

SUTTON: Broadband in our immediate community of Rolesville is limited. We are on the verge of getting more options like Ting and Google Fiber, but currently we are limited to Spectrum and Windstream. The lack of broadband options can hamper the growth of businesses, particularly home-based businesses. It can also place a financial strain on citizens especially those with fixed or lower incomes.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

CARELLI: First and foremost, it is critical that I have an open-door policy where I'm available to meet with my constituents to discuss their concerns. An elected official should be transparent and open to our citizens. I will not make false promises but will deliver on those things possible.

CURRIN: As mayor, I am committed to be accessible to my constituents. I have provided my personal mobile number and email address to the public. I will not carry a "mayor phone." My constituents will be able to reach me as easily as my wife and family. I also have a Facebook page with messaging for another communication option.

DIECKHAUS: We currently have Coffee with a Cop quarterly - I would have coffee with a commissioner at the same time.

MEDLEY: I have an established social media presence as a candidate for re-election that I intend to keep active through my next term as town commissioner. I also invite my constituents to attend our regularly scheduled town hall meetings to keep their concerns front and center and on the record.

SNEED: I have always been perceived as "someone in the know." I enjoy being involved, volunteering and helping where and when possible. For years friends and fellow residents have and still contact me asking me about happenings in town. I do and will make myself accessible to my fellow residents to be as transparent as possible with them to answer any concerns they have.

SUTTON: I have a candidate page on Facebook titled "Sheilah Sutton for Rolesville" where I have posted information since 2015 and will continue to do so. My contact information is also public so citizens can reach out to me. We also have expanded communication methods from the town, which I pushed for since 2016.

Wake Forest

Candidates: Board of Commissioners (three seats open) - Greg Bartholomew, Jim Dyer, Heather Loftin Holding, Anne Reeve (incumbent), Chad Sary, Sean Sullivan and Adam B. Wright.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

BARTHOLOMEW: In five years, I hope our community will be the premier town to live in, and one of the best destinations for tourists to visit in Wake County. To achieve that, we need a much more efficient transportation system, a dedicated business park, and a concentrated effort to seek tourist dollars. Tourism dollars can strengthen the backbone of our economy.

DYER: I see Wake Forest as a thriving small city. The Wake Forest town tax base and budget will be increased to cover the cost of additional town services. Wake Forest residents and guests contribute millions of tax dollars to Wake County through restaurant and hotel taxes. We receive very little of that back to our community.

LOFTIN HOLDING: I see the town of Wake Forest stronger than we are currently in many ways.  Ultimately, five years isn't a long time to make the kind of changes many people would like to see in the town.  I see the new comprehensive transportation plan beginning to make a difference in the ways we move around the town.

REEVE: Wake Forest is certainly in a growing pattern. Many communities just east of us would love to have any of the growth we are seeing. The growth truly did not happen overnight. People love the area and will continue to move here and bring their parents, children, brothers/sisters, cousins and friends. Thus, continuing the need for more housing and  shopping/professional services.

SARY: In five years I would like to see more strides made towards job growth and economic independence. A town where more and more of our citizens can live, work and play. The town must strive to have a balanced economy and search for ways to create a diversified employment base. We must grow our workforce and education and provide adequate infrastructure.

SULLIVAN: Our town will be much larger in five years in terms of population. We need to be smart in controlling the growth to ensure residents' needs are met. Building should not outpace road improvements or classroom space all while continuing to attract large corporate businesses to Wake Forest.

WRIGHT: I see a community that conducts its rapid growth in a more maniagle manner. The town also has many new small businesses and work is starting on a new performance theater. If elected, I will vote for smarter growth, small business growth and cultural growth. Smart growth means not approving dense housing in the most congested area of town.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

BARTHOLOMEW: I'm not uniquely qualified.  Any citizen has the capacity to be elected. The question is, do you have the passion, desire and time? Being a good commissioner is almost a full-time job. Are you committed for four years? Can you take that much time from your family? Can you solve problems? Can you work with people? I can!

DYER: I have served in leadership and management roles for over 40 years. Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel; taught leadership and management skills at Colorado State University; worked on the personal staff of two different four star generals; served on active duty for 22 years; Vietnam helicopter pilot; and graduated Leadership Wake Forest. 

LOFTIN HOLDING: My qualifications for town commissioner date back to 1986 when I moved to town as a teenager.  After graduating from Wake Forest University with a business degree, I have worked in corporate life as well as running several small businesses. I have most recently chaired the Kerr Family YMCA Annual Fund Campaign for five years during which we raised over $2.5 million.

REEVE: I have served on the Wake Forest town board for 12 years. If elected this would be my fourth term. I believe my proven leadership is unique, as I have the background of the community growth and development. Having been involved in the town since the early 1990s, I have seen about any and everything that can arise, good, bad and ugly.

SARY: I've been a resident of Wake Forest for 16 years and worked in the town's Planning Department for 15 years. During my tenure with the town, I supported many town committees and boards, one of which was the Board of Commissioners. After I left the town, I served on the Planning Board and currently serve as a municipal planning consultant to towns and counties across the state.

SULLIVAN: As a resident of Wake Forest for over 25 years I have seen and lived through the growing pains of our town. I can relate to the issues my fellow residents, who have both lived here just as long or are new to the area are experiencing. Costs of living and taxes directly impact each person's livelihood and happiness.

WRIGHT: I graduated with highest honors in political science with a concentration in public policy and a minor in communication. I am also a small business owner that started right here in Wake Forest.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

BARTHOLOMEW: It is absolutely key to have a working relationship with our county commissioners, NCDOT, and state legislators. They need to be constantly aware of our problems. They have our money! Whether it's personal contact, phone calls, emails, video clips, or group texts, they need to be seeing Wake Forest in their dreams. Teamwork wins!

DYER: Work with town staff to seek additional federal, state and Wake County tax dollar grants to improve our community. Our citizens can see many of those grants at work currently improving our sidewalks and greenways.

LOFTIN HOLDING: At a regional and state level, I would continue the hard work of the mayor and previous boards of commissioners to continue to build relationships within the higher government offices to advocate for the citizens of the town of Wake Forest.

REEVE: The town already works with those entities. Commissioners receive wonderful training from the UNC-School of Government. We are also very involved with the NC League of Municipalities, who also offer great programs. We know our legislators. We are working hard to ensure smart growth with the future plans for parks/greenways/activities/programs that enhance families and individuals quality of life.

SARY: Being in constant communication with county, regional and state agencies should be a priority to every elected official. It is vital to create and foster relationships and have regular communication with representatives from NCDOT and the Wake County Public Schools System to make sure the concerns of our town are heard and to hopefully have a voice in their decision making process.

SULLIVAN: On the regional and state level I will work to ensure our town's needs are heard so road and school improvements are properly planned and completed in a timely manner. Regionally we need to find locations and have incentives to bring larger corporations to the area.

WRIGHT: I have formed working relationships with many of the representatives for our region. I will make sure that I am in their ear on an ongoing basis to fight for what our area needs.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

BARTHOLOMEW: All local, county, state and federal levels of government must be clearly transparent and accessible to all citizens and media. All public requests should be free, or a negligible fee. Why would it not be available? Is there something to hide? Thank you for your time and your vote on Nov. 5. God bless.

DYER: With the exception of some personnel issues, all local government proceedings should be open. My family has been a subscriber to The Wake Weekly since shortly after the first publication in 1947. We read it regularly to include public notices, but if I want to find out something about the town government, I usually go online. Town board meetings can be seen on local television.

LOFTIN HOLDING: I believe that local governments should be as transparent as possible, while recognizing that sometimes information must be delayed in an effort to fully understand the issue at hand. I believe that public notices should be posted on all possible news outlets. The communications department of the town of Wake Forest strives to make sure that citizens can find the information they need easily and quickly.

REEVE: The town of Wake Forest has a very transparent government. Our town clerk receives many requests for information, and to my knowledge, she always complies. As far as enacting staff-time surcharges, that would have to be a broad discussion. We have all of our meeting minutes posted on the website. I like to have things posted in the newspaper.

SARY: I think that a surcharge for public record requests would depend on the volume of the request. The larger the request then there may be a need for a surcharge. Publishing notices in the local newspaper is a requirement of state law and should continue to reach as many citizens as possible. Government should be very transparent.

SULLIVAN: Government issues should always be open. The challenge is to be sure the residents directly impacted by public notices are actually notified. Residents need to be informed about anything the planning boards are reviewing. I think access to public records should not come with fees and I think public notices should be posted using as many modes of communication as possible.

WRIGHT: I am all for transparency. Part of why I am running is I found the public notice process broken and not transparent. Our town has a great app. I want to have push notification options for public hearings. I do not think it is right for our citizens to have to pay to access info that their taxes paid for.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

BARTHOLOMEW: Wake Forest broadband speeds lag substantially behind Raleigh and most of Wake County. While Raleigh, and the Cary area, have speeds up to 1000 mbps, our local speeds are around 100 mbps. Basically, one tenth the fastest speed available. High technology companies require very fast speeds and bandwidth. This is just another detriment to business growth locally.

DYER: Well that depends on what city is compared to Wake Forest. Some newer communities in Wake Forest have high speed fiber. In the historic district of Wake Forest, where I live, we are far behind current technology. Commerce grows at the speed of the local broadband.

LOFTIN HOLDING: Broadband and technology are important issues in communities today. We need to continue to find ways to stay current with technological advances.

REEVE: We are currently working with Ting to bring these services to all citizens and businesses. These services are critical for future growth.

SARY: There is not wide coverage in Wake Forest, except for in the newer subdivisions. The town is is the process of issuing bids to have more connections on all town facilities. This will provide more opportunities to get fiber in to older neighborhoods.

SULLIVAN: I think Wake Forest is doing well with broadband access. Ting is here and I recently spoke with a few of this company's employees who were splicing fiber in Heritage. They were almost as excited about bringing Ting to the area as the folks with signs in their yards saying "Bring Ting Here."

WRIGHT: Our broadband is not sufficient. While I know Ting is trying to come into the area, we need more options and competition for fiber. I live downtown and amazingly only have one option. If we want to attract more businesses to come here, we need fiber options.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

BARTHOLOMEW: If elected, I would publish all ways for citizens to contact me. This would include my name, address, phone number, email and social media methods. In addition to personal contact, I hope to attend as many public events as possible. I suggest town hall supply a dedicated office for commissioners to have set public office hours.

DYER: Social media is the way that most people keep up with what's happening locally and nationally. I would use it regularly to keep the community informed. When an item is coming before the town board that would be of interest to a specific neighborhood, I would try to make certain they are made aware through several social media venues.

LOFTIN HOLDING: If elected, I will continue to do as I have during this election. My website, Facebook page, and email address will continue to be monitored and published. I want to hear from the community about the issues we are facing. I believe that my primary job as a commissioner is to gather input from the community to make the best decisions possible.

REEVE: During my tenure, I have always tried to be responsive to the citizens. I do not when my email is crammed with the same letter 100-plus times. I do respond to individuals who are honest with how something will change their quality of life. When a citizens speaks to me directly about a problem, I always work to have the issue resolved through my town resources.

SARY: I would be available to listen via phone, email or in-person meetings when concerns arise. I will also try to attend as many community events as possible. I don't take receiving someone's vote or being elected lightly and will always be available to serve our citizens.

SULLIVAN: If elected, I will do my best to have open dialogue with any and all of the town's residents. Facebook and email are just two methods I have made available for this dialogue, but I prefer face-to-face conversations. I will make myself available to discuss any issues affecting our residents. Being responsive to residents, planning boards and developers will go a long way to build trust.

WRIGHT: I am responsive to emails, Facebook and my website's comments. I am running to represent the community's voice. I do not want to lose that if elected. I will conduct regular walking audits and curbside chats within the community to reach the voices that I may not hear otherwise. The community needs to know that the board values their input.


Candidates: Mayor - Virginia Gray (incumbent) and Braxton Davis Honeycutt. Board of Commissioners (two seats open): Ben Carroll (incumbent) Joe DeLoach and Phillip Tarnaski. Carroll and Tarnaski did not submit candidate surveys.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

DELOACH: The next five to 10 years in Wendell are critical. Growth is coming and we need to embrace that. We can protect our historic downtown and still grow in a way that gives "choices" to our citizens. Our community has so much to offer and I intend to continue promoting that to anyone that will listen. 

GRAY: Wendell is growing fast and will continue into the future. To prepare for that we have updated our transportation and pedestrian plans, acquired land, created a townwide five-year paving plan, updated our strategic plan and park plan, hired employees, and updated our processes and procedures to increase efficiency and so much more.

HONEYCUTT: In five years we will be one of the fastest growing areas in the county and we need to thoughtfully manage that growth to create.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

DELOACH: I have been involved in the business of the town since the first day I moved here. Current member of the Wendell Planning Board (selected by current commissioners), active participate in the Wendell Chamber of Commerce, and a local business owner. I understand what the needs are of local businesses and I tirelessly promote our town to potential businesses and residents.

GRAY: I've served on the town board for the last 10 years with the last four serving as mayor. That time and experience will be very valuable going forward. Also, I'm a 30-year resident of Wendell. Wendell is part of me. That kind of history and love for a town can't be earned in a few months.

HONEYCUTT: I am uniquely qualified because I can bridge the gap from old Wendell to new Wendell. We currently have a bit of division on the board, I can bring new ideas and get our family back on the same page. I have done that all my life as an entrepreneur and a problem solver.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

DELOACH: I don't feel we do a good job at times of promoting Wendell on the regional and state level. We need to actively recruit businesses. We need to push ourselves to the front of the line for funding in areas - transportation, etc. We need to partner with other local leaders so that our voice in Eastern Wake County is louder.

GRAY: I represent the citizens of Wendell at many regional and state meetings and serve on a variety of regional boards These provide numerous opportunities for me to bring resources and opportunities to Wendell. Two good examples are the CAMPO Executive Board where we currently have two projects or InterAct which regularly serves many Wendell residents.

HONEYCUTT: The biggest issue that we need state and regional matching funds is transportation. I would use a combination of NCDOT money, CAMPO money, and other programs to create more transportation options like greenways, bicycle lanes, multi-use lanes, golf cart lanes, etc. all in an effort to create.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

DELOACH: How people seek and receive information has evolved. We need to make sure that public notices are accessible and truly "public" in nature. Transparency is important, but we cannot overburden the town's resources. 

GRAY: Transparency is vital to all levels of government. As far as staff time surcharges or posting on municipal websites, those decisions are financial and deal with spending taxpayer money. We would discuss these issues with our staff and consider our various options keeping the financial implications in mind.

HONEYCUTT: I am for open government. And I would use whatever method was the most efficient and least costly to the taxpayer. If that meant putting it on Facebook or other social media or the town website and that was more efficient than the old way that would be fine.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

DELOACH: Wendell has solid options for service. We even have free service available throughout our downtown area!

GRAY: Like most small towns, we are in need of upgrades in technology to fill gaps. As growth takes place, gaps will be filled due to increased demand by citizens and businesses and industry. This will likely be sooner than later based on our anticipated rate of growth.

HONEYCUTT: Broadband and the internet are critical to any communities growth and connectivity to create.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

DELOACH: I will continue to meet with citizens, be visible and volunteer in our community if elected.  Promoting our town is easy for me, since I am passionate about our town, our growth and our accomplishments! My hope is that more people will become involved in the business of the town - attending more town board meetings, and participating on more citizen boards.

GRAY: I will continue to be available and responsive to citizens. I consider that to be a huge part of my job. I get calls, emails, social media questions/comments and even visits to my home from citizens. I always welcome their input and strive to meet their needs.

HONEYCUTT: The very first thing I would do would be that prior to every town meeting, have an open forum that any citizen of Wendell could come talk to the mayor in a town hall discussion. Rather than just having an open forum where people speak problems, this would give the chance to have a discussion and a dialogue to solve problems and bring about solutions.


Candidates: Board of Commissioners (three seats open) - Shannon Baxter, Don Bumgarner (incumbent), Sam Hayes, Larry Loucks, Stan R. Nowell, Marilyn Price Wagner and Glenn York. Bumgarner, Nowell and Wagner did not submit candidate surveys.

Where do you see your community in five years and what would you do to help the town achieve that vision?

BAXTER: In five years, I see a vibrant community that has attracted people from all over to call Zebulon "Home." It has a busy downtown with many bustling small businesses, lots of parks and green space to encourage outdoor activity, great classes and events that bring people together, and a robust town government that encourages public engagement, all while remaining a small town in look and feel.

HAYES: I'd like to ensure roads and infrastructure are ready for the 2,500 new homes already approved, start acquiring land for a high school so we have a large enough site preserved, build a new fire station, possibly including police or EMS substations if needed. I will work to bring businesses, jobs and medical facilities as well as revitalize downtown.

LOUCKS: Over the next five years, Zebulon's population will grow by an estimated 10,000 citizens, along with new businesses and industry.  I will help lead the town to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to support this growth. This will include roads, schools, fire and police, parks and recreation, sidewalks and bike paths, along with community involvement in this growth.

YORK: In the next five years the town of Zebulon's population will increase from 5,646 to approximately 11,292. It will double its current size. I will focus on smart growth that will support housing development, safe and inviting communities and economic development.

Why are you uniquely qualified to serve your community in an elected capacity? Please share any details about your background that you feel are relevant to the office you're seeking.

BAXTER: I offer a new perspective and fresh ideas. Although I have called Zebulon home for the last 12 years, I have had the opportunity to live in several large cities, a few suburbs and a couple small towns. I have traveled domestically as well as abroad.  Through this, I have experienced many sets of "best practices" and this gives me a unique point of view.

HAYES: As a Professional Project Management Professional, I look at the holistic picture, create a plan to achieve a goal, identify any risks or obstacles to success, and remove or mitigate them. This requires facilitation, communication and collaboration with a number of different groups, listening to their needs and feedback, and sharing that information with everyone from executives to engineers, vendors and customers, to ensure needs are met.

LOUCKS: I have been a citizen of Zebulon for 36 years and served on the Zebulon Board of Adjustment for 29 years; 25 years as the chairman of the board. I have worked for 27 years in economic development with UNC's Small Business and Technology Development Center and the last 17 years as assistant state director.

YORK: I've served as a Zebulon Town Commissioner in the past for a four-year term. I have completed studies at the North Carolina School of Government. I've also served on the Zebulon Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. I have a BS degree in Pre-PhysioTherapy/Physical Education from North Carolina Central University in Durham.

How would you work at a regional and state level to bring resources and grow the community?

BAXTER: There are many areas in which we could utilize state and regional resources. Whether it is applying for grants to expand open space, partnering with agencies to provide needed services to the aged or infirm, or working with NCDOT to improve our roads, there are many ways to work with state and regional agencies than we are currently exploring.

HAYES: N.C. State Cooperative Extension is one underused asset with staff and a goal of stimulating economic development and investment in Zebulon. There are also regional planning and transit organizations we should be more engaged with and more vocal in. I would work to build relationships with our state senators and representatives as well as state agencies and programs.

LOUCKS: The town needs to work regionally with Wendell and Knightdale on the development of Eastern Wake County. We need to work closely with Wake County on our public education, roads and parks and better use of the Five County Stadium that is idle approximately 300 days a year. I would like to have a Wake Tech Community College Satellite campus in Eastern Wake County.

YORK: I have been involved with the collaborations and negotiations on local, state and federal levels. I've advocated for assistance and partnered with agencies to legislate an Inter Agency Agreement with the Department of Transportation, Divisions of Prisons, Community Probation and Parole, Department of Motor Vehicles, tourism and commerce and legislative committees. I have experience in networking and building upon these relationships.

What is your stance on open government issues? Would you ever consider enacting staff-time surcharges for public records requests or support the posting of public notices on low-traffic municipal websites instead of publishing them in the newspaper?

BAXTER: The town of Zebulon has always been very accommodating to people requesting public records. I would encourage that to always continue. As for posting public notices, Zebulon needs to make it easy for people to get information. I would encourage the town to use multiple outlets to reach people for not only public notices, but for town events in general.

HAYES: I am for transparency as much as possible in conducting the public's business. I may have to consider charges for public records and/or staff time if a large volume of information is requested and the amount of work/time/money it takes staff to compile, print or copy such data is significant.

LOUCKS: I am a strong advocate for open government and full transparency. As a former co-editor of my high school newspaper and the editor of two college newspapers, I am fully aware of the importance of open records and keeping the public informed. Staff-time surcharges should only be charged on large information requests - say, over 12 hours of staff time and be at a reasonable rate.  

YORK: I believe that citizens have the right to access information in order to have public oversight and transparency. This would depend on the amount of information requested. If the amount of information requires considerable time for a staff member to obtain, there should be a charge. This may also depend on the current General Statute. I would also support both postings of public notice.

How does the broadband compare in your town to larger cities? How does that affect the future of your community?

BAXTER: Zebulon does not currently have an adequate broadband solution. For our town to grow and prosper, we need to manage our connectivity and ensure that we have multiple quality offerings.

HAYES: We currently have good residential and business service through several providers. We do not have citywide access to wifi as some other towns do. All new developments should have access and capacity to handle multiple users in each home without impacting service quality or speed of any other individual or group.

LOUCKS: Broadband service in Eastern Wake County is spotty and poor at best. With population and business growth, it is vital that we have excellent service and pricing of broadband services in our area. With our town's growth and the expansion of 5G networks, I believe the service (internet, cellular and streaming) will dramatically improve within the next year.

YORK: The broadband in the Zebulon corporate limits is good. However, outside the corporate limits there are not many options. How does that affect the future of your community? Our area suffers without access to broadband. Businesses, communication, education, safety and health are all affected in this area. Our system must be improved in order to facilitate future growth.

If elected, what would you do to stay responsive to your constituents' concerns?

BAXTER: If elected, I will be out engaging the community regularly. I want people to know that they can participate in town government and that I am available to hear their concerns.

HAYES: My email and phone number will be public and I plan to keep my webpage active so residents can ask questions anytime day or night. I plan to make myself available to listen to the citizens regarding their concerns and ideas for solutions, ways to save money and learn what their primary concerns are.

LOUCKS: I would like our Chamber of Commerce to start a "Welcome Wagon" concept to educate and welcome new citizens to our great town. The town needs to better use social media to communicate with all citizens. I would organize more citizen's academies for adults and children to educate them on town government and the services provided. 

YORK: I will continue to stay involved in civic organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Regional Center Advocacy Committee, Miss Zebulon Educational Scholarship Pageant, Zebulon Arts Council, Zebulon Historic Preservation Society, Zebulon Woman's Club, the Downtown Zebulon Property Owners Association, James E Shepard Alumni Association and local homeowners associations. Invite and encourage citizens to visit my website for updates and current information.