The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners is looking for a town resident to fill the vacant seat left by Commissioner Brian Lowen.
Lowen announced his resignation on Jan. 12, which will be effective on March 26. He was appointed to the board in 2000 and has since served four terms. His departure is for personal reasons.
“I want to sincerely thank all Hillsborough residents for supporting me and giving me the opportunity to be their public servant,” Lowen said in a press release. “I’m confident that Hillsborough will continue to be the jewel on the Eno and that our elected officials and town staff will continue to do an outstanding job guiding the future of the town.”
Rather than hold an election, the board will appoint a new commissioner who will take the oath of office on April 9. The new commissioner will serve from April 2018 to December 2019. The application process involves a written application, an interview component and an opportunity for the public to make comments.
“While setting a brisk schedule for the process, the board wants to be very thoughtful and transparent in making the appointment to fill the board vacancy,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said in a press release. “I hope and anticipate we’ll have a diverse pool of qualified candidates apply.”
One of those candidates is Matt Hughes, who is currently the Second Vice Chair for the North Carolina Democratic Party. He previously ran for the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 2016 and has served on several local government entities.
“I’ve been a lifelong resident of Hillsborough, and you know, it’s my hometown,” Hughes said. “A couple years ago I ran for the Orange County Board of Commissioners on issues I care deeply about, like affordability, economic development and keeping our growth in line with the culture and character of our community — and Hillsborough is facing those same issues.”
Hughes values affordability and economic development within Hillsborough. The town has a strong potential for economic growth and a unique position within Orange County, he said.
“I’m a millennial, and a lot of my friends that I grew up with didn’t see a lot of opportunity there for them to stay, and so that’s something that needs to be addressed on the board,” Hughes said. “You know, what can we do to attract folks of my generation to come back and start their families in Hillsborough.”
He recognizes the new commissioner has a responsibility to be an advocate for the public and be involved in local government.
“A lot of my relatives don’t have the time or ability to follow town or local government, so I’m very cognizant of the fact that the people who serve on this board have to be the ones who represent the folks who can’t always come to a board meeting,” Hughes said.
“My family has lived there for generations, so I have an appreciation for where we’ve been, and I’m going to be more thoughtful in terms of where we’re going. I see myself as a bridge between the past and where we’re going for the future.”
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