As a service to voters ahead of the 2024 party primaries in North Carolina, SamWalkerOBXNews.com has asked each of the candidates running in Dare County to answer a series of questions on various issues.
Primary Day in North Carolina is set for Tuesday, March 5.
To be as fair as possible to each candidate, the order in which their answers appear has been dictated by the order in which their name appears on the ballot.
Below are the candidates running for the Republican nomination for Dare County Commissioner District 1 seat between incumbent and Vice-Chair Wally Overman and challenger Carson Creef.
District 1 commissioners represent Roanoke Island and the Dare County mainland, but are elected at-large and appear on all ballots in Dare County.
Meet The Candidates
I graduated from Benvenue High School in Rocky Mount, NC in 1964 and from N C State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Technology in 1968.
I had a 38-year career in the domestic and international textile industry with the last 16 years in capital equipment sales in the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America, China, and Thailand.
I have been married for 26 years and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. I have lived in the Skyco community for 24 years.
It has been my honor to have served on the Dare County Board of Commissioners since October 2013, and this represents all of my political background and experience.
I look forward to being able to continue my service to the people of Dare County.
I’ve coached and mentored children in our community, commercial fished, and lived here my entire life, like the 12 generations of Creefs that came before me.
I am a true conservative. I attend church, believe in lowering taxes, and publicly support Donald Trump. I am a progressive’s worst nightmare.
God, Family, Fishing is my motto. God bless you and your family if you’re reading this, help is on the horizon.
Besides housing, what are the biggest challenges the county faces over the next 10 years, and if elected how do you plan to address them?
The primary challenge for any commissioner is to be sure that the services the people of the county expect and require are provided on a timely, efficient, and cost-effective basis. This includes education, safety, health and human services, emergency services, and public works among others. All of these need to be provided in a financially responsible manner in order to allow the county to continue with a low tax rate for our residents.
While serving on the board of commissioners, I have worked to keep these things in mind and I think we have been successful in doing so. We have accomplished these goals while maintaining the fifth-lowest tax rate among all NC counties. I intend to continue these efforts.
Our small businesses and local industries need more attention than our current legislators are willing give. We need to completely revamp the budget and cut spending so we can lower taxes. Tax reform would create more income for middle-class business owners to be able to potentially spend more on employees, trickle-down economics is key to success.
We need to address the state’s attacks on commercial fishing in Dare County. Commercial fishing was instrumental in the development of our Island home. I am an 11th-generation commercial fisherman, we are so poorly represented that state officials have taken away much of our industry. We will probably never get it back.
We need a jetty at Oregon Inlet. It’s a logical solution that would reverse 40 million dollars of needless spending on beach nourishment.
As commissioner, how will you move forward in solving the housing issue in Dare County?
I support working collectively, and importantly, on a conciliatory basis with the towns and others to find viable solutions to the housing issue here.
There are no simple answers to this, but hopefully by working together with a common goal some progress can be achieved.
It’s pretty simple. Housing in a vacation destination is never going to be affordable again.
We need to figure out some form of transportation for low-income employees. We could buy charter buses and send them to Columbia, Moyock, and Elizabeth City.
If your business has employees that uses the public transportation, then you would pay a share of the cost based on a percentage. That way the cost is not thrown completely on the taxpayer. If your business utilizes the transportation then you pay for it.
Do you believe Dare County has a growth problem? If yes, in what ways as commissioner will you try to bring it in check? If not, explain why you feel the county’s path of development has been positive?
Dare County has been growing for years. People want to come here to live, work, retire, recreate, or a variety of other reasons.
During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, this reached a level of growth that was, by some accounts, unprecedented.
I think this growth will return to normal levels, but it probably will not stop. This growth creates challenges for commissioners to ensure that all the aforementioned services are properly provided and I feel that this board has done that.
I will continue to work to see that we maintain and improve our levels of services wherever needed.
It’s certainly not positive to over-populate anywhere.
We need to rezone the county again, reversing what the Board of Commissioners did in 2018. They have let out of town contractors have free reign and the result is cluster homes that are $400,000 a piece. Glorified time shares that will ruin our communities.
Ask locals in Colington how they feel about all of those developments. Personally I feel that it is despicable and purely for the financial benefits for those involved.
What is your view on beach nourishment projects overall, and what steps would you be willing to take as commissioner to nourish the Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo beach?
Beach nourishment projects have proven to be highly successful in restoring our beaches and thereby helping to ensure protection for N.C. 12 and that our tourism numbers continue to exceed $1 billion per year that results in several thousand dollars in tax savings for our residents.
I fully support beach nourishment and I support working to find possible solutions for nourishment at Rodanthe/Waves/Salvo.
We have worked with state and federal sources to find funding, applied for grants, and worked with stakeholders to find potential solutions to this issue, and these efforts are ongoing.
I will try my hardest, like the intelligent men from Hatteras and Wanchese did before me, to get a jetty at Oregon Inlet, which would quickly reverse the loss of beach in Hatteras and Nags Head.
I find it almost laughable that environmentalists say that jetty would negatively affect wildlife.
Then they approve a ship to hose everything off the bottom, killing every fish and shellfish that enters that pump, putting temporary sand on the beach at a $40 million price tag, paid by the taxpayers.
Do you support/oppose the county joining with the National Park Service on the remediation efforts they have already undertaken in Rodanthe (buying oceanfront properties and removing homes), and please explain why?
Yes. I support any and all organizations willing to help with the remediation efforts in Rodanthe. We have worked with the NPS already on this issue, and will continue to work with them as well as other stakeholders.
I believe more in state and local government. The federal government aspect of it leaves me wondering what the goal is here. I do not want more federally owned property in Dare County.
As commissioner, how will you work with state and federal regulatory and elected officials to protect the marine and seafood industries of Dare County?
I will continue to actively lobby to protect our fishing community on both the state and federal levels. The attacks and untenable regulations on our fishing community, from shrimp to pelagics, are ridiculous and must be opposed.
Fresh, wild-caught North Carolina seafood is a public trust resource and should be available to everyone who wants it and especially those who cannot catch their own.
I will not work with them. I will work against them.
The same marine fisheries board that has taken away many generational-types of employment is my adversary in this fight. I want reform not compromise.
I want the God-given right to fish these waters restored to those who desperately need the income. I will never back down from these oppressors and feel very strongly on the issue.
Do you support or oppose the proposed expansion of The Soundside Event site in Nags Head, and please explain why?
The Soundside Event site will develop as a collaboration between the Dare County Tourism Board and the Town of Nags Head.
This will include negotiations regarding acceptable zoning regulations and the wishes of the Nags Head Board of Commissioners and residents. I am sure that a proper resolution will be achieved and I am ready to fully support that decision.
I have not been able to look over and evaluate the project for myself. Therefore I cannot make a comment on the expansion at this time.
How as commissioner will you address/improve the needs of residents of mainland Dare County?
I intend to remain responsive to the needs of the mainland through dialogue with the residents there just as I have with the residents throughout Dare County.
Our board has included the mainland on capital project decisions that will begin this year regarding an updated EMS station and improvements to the volunteer fire station in Manns Harbor.
By lowering taxes. We cut spending, we lower taxes, we put more money in the pockets of our residents.
It’s simple really and I find it uniquely strange that our Republican Board of Commissioners lets a Democrat write up our budget every year.
I will stop the cluster homes. I will bring more employees, not tourism, to Dare County.
What is one public service the county lacks that you would like to see added, a public service Dare already has that needs improving, and a public service the county excels at?
Dare County provides exceptional services to our residents and we are attentive and responsive to any needs that are brought to our attention from the community. My commitment is to continue doing this.
The county does a great job with Health and Human Services, Emergency Medical Services, law enforcement, school funding, and the water system among others. These are second to none in the state.
Some recreational needs and expansion are being worked on now and these areas should see improvement shortly.
With regard to overall improvements, the county manager meets monthly with department heads to discuss any needs and any ways to facilitate necessary or desirable improvements within their department.
I believe a charter bus plan for low income employees is potentially the best idea of any commissioner. I think we excel in our garbage and recycling services. We also have an excellent Sheriff’s Office thanks to Sheriff Doug Doughtie.
What is one thing you want voters to know about yourself that makes you stand out from your opponent?
Experience and commitment.
My experience as commissioner for the past 10 plus years provides a basis for making decisions in the best interests of Dare County.
My commitment to the position is to work every day to see that Dare County remains as the best place to live in North Carolina and that it will be managed in a fiscally responsible manner while providing the best services available to our residents.
I will be voting for Donald Trump in the primary. The same way I did in 2016 and 2020.
I am a lifelong conservative Republican, unlike many of our commissioners on the board. I have never voted for a single Democrat, nor will I if they continue their pursuit of communism. I do not believe in switching parties if my house was falling apart and in need of repair. I would fix it, not move into your house and act like it was mine.
Wally voted to approve the cluster homes in my village of Wanchese, sending me on this endeavor.
God bless America, North Carolina, and Dare County. Without God we are nothing, therefore I will not make any decisions without proper consideration and prayer.