Get to Know Your Carolina Beach Candidates

Get to Know Your Carolina Beach Candidates

Get to Know Your Carolina Beach Candidates Featured

By / Local News / Friday, 23 July 2021 17:15

This past Friday the New Hanover Board of Elections officially closed their filing period. In the Mayors race we have former Mayor, Dan Wilcox and current Councilman Lynn Barbee. Carolina Beach Council has five potential candidates to fill 2 seats that are listed in filing order; Deb LeCompte, Vincent Losito, Mike Hoffer, former Mayor Joe Benson and coming into the Board of elections as the last candidate to officially file, Matt Dunn. This election, should Councilman Barbee be elected to the Mayor’s position, the empty seat will later be filled by the newly elected Mayor and Council. Without a doubt this is an important election filling three, possibly four seats. There are a lot of hot topics on the table and the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce’s has a Candidate forum in the works with the date to be determined.

So what are some of our candidates key point? Councilman Barbee released this election update last week, “First and foremost, this campaign will run just like the last. I will focus on my vision for Carolina Beach, how we will achieve that vision, and why I’m the right person to represent you as Mayor. I have to say from the flurry of emails, text and comments, the social media lust for political theatre is palpable. I will just stay true to my values and personality. I would much rather attack the issues, as that is what moves this town forward.

Why me? First and foremost, experienced leadership. Over 30 years of leadership responsibility within businesses of all sizes and the last two years as your Town Council representative. I pride myself on listening to the needs, getting the decision makers to the table to define the solution, and then communicating the goals to the team and making sure we follow thru together. In my world, leadership is not flashy. I measure great leaders by the great people around them and the results they accomplish together. It takes a team and I hope you will join us on this campaign.

Secondly, it’s the right time. Carolina Beach has undergone dramatic change in recent years. We all feel it in our daily lives. When I ran for council, I made it clear, that as a lifelong resident, I also have moments where I pine for the good old days, but these times are different, and we need to move forward. We know all too well the issues that we are facing today and how we got here. The decisions we make today will determine if we can maintain our quality of life for generations to come.

We have gone thru dramatic swings in leadership in recent years. To accomplish the task at hand we need stability.”

Mayoral Candidate Dan Wilcox released this statement, “While I have been enjoying my 3+ years of (non-political) respite since completing my former mayoral term, my love for my community is still strong. As a result, I am concerned about the many legislative and funding challenges we currently face, as well as new issues we will likely face as this post-covid era evolves. Things are improving, but not yet normal, and there is still concern about what the future holds.

My previous town service includes 3 years on P&Z, 4 years as council member, 4 years as mayor, and 13 years leading our boardwalk revitalization teams. In that time, I have also built relationships with our fellow beach-town officials and our county, state, and federal partners. This combined experience puts me in a unique position to be effective as your mayor on my first day in office - I do not require on-the-job training.

Although through no fault on the part of our recently elected council members, the disruption of council’s normal functions caused by covid lockdowns have limited training and learning opportunities, as well as exposure to our county, state, and federal representatives that would otherwise have existed for them. Therefore, in addition to addressing our funding and quality-of-life issues, I would also work closely with our council members to create a learning environment that will result in the best possible council “team” to represent our community.

Mayor Pierce and Councilmen Shuttleworth and Garza will also be leaving office, which means we will lose their historical knowledge, their grasp of our more complex issues, and their long-standing relationships with our representatives.

While no one’s fault, the combinations of these factors will leave our council with less historical continuity and less experienced leadership. As your mayor I can fill these voids and over the next two years leave council in a better place.

As I have done in my previous campaigns – I will run on my merits. If issues or claims arise that I feel need addressing, I will do that, but I do not believe in nasty or smear campaigns.

We have many new residents since I left office, so for any person, group, or organization wanting to discuss issues, or to get to know me better, please let me know and I will arrange to meet with you.”

The open Council seats bring lots of different focal points including infrastructure, smart trees, spending, walkability, sustainability to name a few. Deb LeCompte for Town Council has stated, “I am excited to announce my intent to run for Carolina Beach Town Council this November. I have never been one to shy away from speaking out and speaking up for what I believe is right and have put my leadership and passion to work while serving my friends and neighbors on various town committees. I have a proven record of rolling up my sleeves and doing the work necessary to succeed. I want to ensure that Carolina Beach is a great place to raise a family for generations to come. I will spend the next couple of months doing what I do....listening and researching.”

Vince Losito for Carolina Beach Town Council stated voters should choose him because, “An accomplished finance person with 25+ years of proven success in managing all aspects of corporate finance.   I am experienced in creating budgets as well as explaining them openly, transparently and simply.  I am a good listener and will work hard for the best of Carolina Beach.” Losito states, “We all agree that we live in paradise here in Carolina Beach.  What we seem to have trouble agreeing on is the definition of paradise.  Carolina Beach means something different to all of us.  To me, personally, it means a place that has been calling me all of my life, a place where my children and grandchildren love coming to.  I want to do my part to help push everyone's vision of paradise forward to help make Carolina Beach a town that people will want to come to for generations to come.  Also, I feel that, as Deb LeCompte said, win or lose on November 2, nothing will change how I feel about this town.” He goes on to list infrastructure, fiscal responsibility and the future of Carolina Beach in his key points.

Mike Hoffer for Town Council released the following from, “My vision is for a Carolina Beach focused more on the sun and the sea than it is on restaurants and rides... a town where bikes and pedestrians are as important as cars and trucks... a town that is healthy, environmentally sound and sustainable.

The traffic and the crowds are getting insane. We must focus on alternative transportation or we'll find ourselves in gridlock. Let's encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their feet, their bikes (and yes, their golf carts too.) This will result in a safer town, easier access to our businesses and a more peaceful environment.

Carolina Beach needs to calm down. Therefore, I will not support policies that make things crazy, crowded or complicated. I will gladly support policies that make things sane, serene and simple. Ultimately these decisions will result in a town that is easier to manage and fiscally sound.

Our community should be an absolute paradise for outdoor recreation and I will see that it happens. Let's make our town beautiful, safe, and convenient for bikers, hikers, walkers and rollers.”

Former Mayor Joe Benson shared the following statement after signing up for council, “I've missed serving you. I've missed the interaction, the dynamic exchange of ideas, the many town halls and, from the unmatched creativity of our residents, the pursuit of solutions. It was a privilege to have served you as your mayor. I was humbled when you elected me and I made every effort to serve and lead with humility. I'm asking for your support again as I seek a position on Town council.

If given the opportunity to serve on town council, I pledge to remain accessible and accountable, just as I was while serving as mayor. I never turned down a request to meet or talk, even if just on the phone. You have my word that I shall remain 100% accessible to each and every one of you.

Before the end of the week, I will lay out my position on a number of the significant issues that our Town is grappling with, as well as some of the recent initiatives (e.g. gotta love the wall art!). For the purpose of organization, the most pressing matters we face could be summarized as such:

(1) Address the BASICS (e.g. water, stormwater, parking). (2) Sustain the BEAUTY (e.g. beach renourishment--MUST DO). (3) Support the BUSINESS (e.g. set conditions for businesses to propser while attracting new businesses to call CB home)

Idea: how about swapping a possible tree ordinance, which presents an 'either-or', with a reduction in the stormwater impact fee for residential and commercial development choosing to plant trees as well as a general increase in pervious surface area (e.g. driveway). In doing so, we avoid the implementation of an ordinance which would be difficult to enforce (what size tree qualifies? what type? arborist on call?) with something that maintains the rights of property owners, addresses stormwater impact and promotes natural beauty.

I've got more to add and look forward to doing so before the end of the week. In the meantime, feel free to share whatever is on your mind, possible solutions as well!”

Matt Dunn for Carolina Beach Town Council share this, “Graduates of UNC Wilmington in 1997, my wife, Kristen "Doc" and I , moved to Carolina Beach in 2005. We have two boys, Willie (11) and Jimmy (8). My boys were born in the Betty Cameron Women's and Children's Hospital. Both of my boys went straight from the hospital to the Ocean Blvd beach access before they went to our home located just down the street. Inspired by my parents, Chuck and Cindy Dunn (also Carolina Beach residents), I believe that it is important to give back to the community you love. That is why I have volunteered in our community with organizing youth baseball. As a volunteer, I have worked to keep kids and families here on the island by giving them a viable and affordable youth sports experience close to home, something I believe makes our community stronger.

My campaign believes kids and families continue to face unprecedented times. School shutdowns from Hurricane Florence to COVID are still impacting children. It is a critical time for children and families. I would like to do more to preserve the future of our children and their well-being in Carolina Beach. In order to do that, we need to address key issues that will not only benefit children and families, but everyone else who has an interest in where we live, learn, work and play.

Carolina Beach has a lot of big issues, including water quality & capacity, stormwater, flooding, the Lake, Freeman Park, the inlet, beach nourishment, parking and bike & pedestrian paths. I am looking forward to discussing those issues, issues residents bring up during the campaign as well as issues concerning kids and families... Many of those issues are a mindset and do not cost millions of dollars. 

People keep asking me why I am running. I say it was gravity pulling me towards the Board of Elections. Over the last decade, I don't think I have heard enough candidates mention the issues that my wife and I talk about every night. Other parents, residents and friends have the same concerns. Someone needs to stand up and bring these topics to the table. We are so lucky to call Carolina Beach home.”

This election will fill 75% of the current council seats and residents are left with big decisions on the topics they hold near and dear for the future of Carolina Beach. Consider prioritizing wants and needs and the extremely fast growth of this little Island.






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