November 22, 2016

A conversation with Danny Couch,
Hatteras Island's commissioner-elect

Danny Couch of Buxton, Hatteras Island's commissioner-elect, was the guest on the Nov. 20 edition of "To the Point," a Radio Hatteras interview show, hosted by Irene Nolan, editor of The Island Free Press.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Couch, who will be sworn in as a member of the Dare Commissioners at the next regular meeting at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 5 talked about what he hopes to accomplish on the board.

Couch, a Democrat, ran unopposed in both the March primary and the Nov. 8 general election. He replaces Democrat incumbent Allen Burrus of Hatteras village, who decided not to run again for health reasons.

Southern Hatteras Island's back-to-back storm surge flooding by Tropical Storm Hermine over Labor Day and then Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 9 put a damper on the general election campaign season -- some forums planned by different media and non-partisan groups, especially forums planned for Hatteras were cancelled.

Though there was no question that Couch was the next commissioner representing District 4, many of us on Hatteras Island and elsewhere in Dare County -- commissioners are elected countywide but must live in their districts and represent all of their county constituents -- had few chances for him to address issues and outline his goals during the next four years.

So, Nolan invited Couch to sit down and talk about his view and hopes for his first term on the county board.

Here's a brief intro, for those of you who don't know Danny very well. And he is very well know on Hatteras, where he grew up and graduated from Cape Hatteras School, where he found his passion for history and writing working on the acclaimed student journal, "Sea Chest."

After earning a bachelor of arts in English, with a concentration in writing, he returned to Hatteras, where he has been self-employed.

For almost 15 years, he wrote for editor Nolan for island publications where his colorful prose was a favorite of readers.  He interviewed many of the island's older residents and told their stories, as well as stories of shipwrecks, storms, and shipwreck salvaging.

Today, he is known as Hatteras Island's historian.

However, as time went by, he became involved in many civic and church groups and functions. He has a tour bus business, is a Realtor, and is an active community member in volunteer organizations, such as the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, where he serves as president.

Couch was appointed to the Dare County Board of Education in August 2013 to fill the unexpired term of school board member Anthony Fletcher, and the next year, he was elected to the position in his own right.

He was planning to run for re-election to the Dare County Board of Education when Burrus decided not to seek another term for health reasons. Couch says the choice was difficult but he decided to run for the Board of Commissioners.

Danny is married to Sherry Couch, principal of Cape Hatteras Elementary School, and they have three children who attend Dare County schools -- Rae, Gideon, and Griffin.

In this interview, Couch talks candidly about protecting the county's water quality, which he says he considers a key environmental issue. He talks about bridges, Highway 12, and beach access. He says he has seen Hatteras Island's relationship with the Park Service improve greatly under Superintendent David Hallac.

Couch also discusses storms, including evacuation and recovery. And, not surprisingly, he discusses the education of the children of Dare County and Hatteras Island.

He also addresses head on the fact that he will be the only Democrat on the seven-member board.

If you don't know Danny yet, this is an introduction. And even if you know him, this interview will help you understand what he hopes to accomplish.

To listen to the interview, scroll down to the "To the Point" logo and click on the arrow.

"To the Point" is broadcast on the island's community radio station,101.5 FM on southern Hatteras and 99.9 FM on northern Hatteras, at 5 p.m. on the first and third Sunday of each month. It is repeated on the second and fourth Sunday. Those who don't live on Hatteras can listen to the show on Sundays through live streaming at


Radio Hatteras is Hatteras Island's community, non-profit radio station and depends on grants, memberships, and underwriting.

It broadcasts around the clock with news -- including such things as surfing and fishing reports -- community announcements, music, and special programs. The station is also streamed live. To listen, go to

Our community radio station also needs your support, and you can give that by purchasing a membership or by underwriting the station if you are a business or another community non-profit.

Radio Hatteras memberships are $50 for a family, $25 for an individual and $10 for a student. Mail memberships and other contributions to Radio Hatteras, P.O. Box 339, Frisco, NC 27936.

E-mail [email protected] or call (252) 995-6000 for information about underwriting opportunities.

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