The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday May 26th

Board of County Commissioners candidates discuss goals

Marc Marcoplos responds to a question posed by a member of the audience. Candidates for the Orange County Board of Commissioners spoke at a forum on Tuesday afternoon, March 1.
Buy Photos Marc Marcoplos responds to a question posed by a member of the audience. Candidates for the Orange County Board of Commissioners spoke at a forum on Tuesday afternoon, March 1.

Incumbents Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich, as well as newcomer Jamezetta Bedford attended the forum and are running for the two available District One seats.

Andy Cagle, Matt Hughes and Mark Marcoplos were also in attendance, and are running for the available at-large seat.

Dorosin, who serves as Vice Chairperson for the Board of Commissioners, said his experience as a civil rights lawyer and activist brings a new perspective to policy making.

He said one of the biggest challenges in Orange County is economic disparity — which ranks highest in the state.

Dorosin said his biggest priorities if he is re-elected are the education system, economic opportunity and social justice.

“I think the county has been a good steward of the money (we have been given),” Dorosin said. “We have the highest possible bond ratings, the highest performing schools in the state and the most stringent environmental protections for water in the county.”

Rich said she understands the challenges faced by residents.

She said one of her goals is to make sure senior citizens have access to affordable programs and resources.

Rich said another one of her main priorities is to repair the public schools.

“For a place that education is so valued, the (achievement gap) is a disgrace,” Rich said.

Bedford said she is passionate about making progressive changes to the county.

Bedford said education is her priority.

“I am your strongest, most experienced candidate about schools,” Bedford said.

She said the county needs more commercial development to generate more revenue to pick up responsibilities left to the county by the state.

Cagle said he brings an extensive background in emergency services, public safety, construction and environmental health.

He also said he understands the process for zoning and land use items, which is an important aspect of working for the county.

“I care deeply about our community and I am committed to bringing positive change,” Cagle said.

Hughes said his experiences with family growing up in Orange County prepared him to be a good candidate.

Hughes said his priority is making sure schools are well-funded and safe by centering focus on affordable housing and higher teacher pay.

He said he looks forward to collaborating with other government bodies, both local and regional, to make positive changes.

“The county has been really good stewards,” Hughes said. “But I would like to see more citizen participation in the budgeting process.”

Marcoplos, who runs his own construction company and serves on the Orange County Housing Authority, said he has always had a commitment to affordable housing.

He also said the county cannot afford to let schools deteriorate. “My focus has always been local,” Marcoplos said.

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