Candidates are competing this year to be Orange County commissioners, Orange County School Board members, sheriff, district attorney, Register of Deeds, and state lawmakers, among other positions. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com
Candidates are competing this year to be Orange County commissioners, Orange County School Board members, sheriff, district attorney, Register of Deeds, and state lawmakers, among other positions. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

Orange County

Who’s running in the 2018 Orange County elections, and why

By Greg Childress And Tammy Grubb

gchildress@heraldsun.com

tgrubb@heraldsun.com

March 01, 2018 12:42 PM

HILLSBOROUGH

The Orange County races heated up as filing ended Feb. 28, with eight people vying for four school board seats and multiple candidates giving voters a choice in two commissioners districts.

Challengers also emerged to Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood and longtime Clerk of Superior Court Jamie Stanford, who drew a well-known opponent in former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.

Three incumbent school board members – Tom Carr, Michael Hood and Donna Coffey – and Orange County Commissioners Barry Jacobs and Mia Burroughs are not seeking re-election.

Former Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board member Jamezetta Bedford, who is seeking to replace Burroughs, will be unopposed in District 1. That will virtually guarantee Bedford’s election in November.

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Meanwhile, three newcomers are competing to replace Jacobs, who filed for re-election to his at-large seat but then withdrew his name. The at-large candidates are former Chapel Hill Town Council member Sally Greene and Hillsborough attorneys Brian Crawford and Noah Oswald.

Commissioner Earl McKee, the lone incumbent seeking re-election to the board, faces a primary challenge from business development manager Tommy McNeill.

Early voting for this year’s primary begins Thursday, April 19. The primary election will be held Tuesday, May 8, with the winners in each party heading to the November election.

A separate filing period will be held this summer for the county’s Soil and Water District Supervisor and for district and superior court judges.

Orange County Board of Commissioners

The job: County commissioners serve four-year terms and can have a major impact on residents’ daily lives. The board sets policies and guides the county by, among other duties, approving budgets, land-use changes and developments; setting property tax rates; assisting and speaking with residents; and attending regular board meetings and other local, state and national meetings.

District 1 (one seat)

Jamezetta Bedford

Jamezetta Bedford
submitted



Age: 59

Address: Knob Court, Chapel Hill

Contact: jamezettab@gmail.com

Website: jamezettaforcommissioner.org

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board member, chair and vice chair, 2003-2015; former co-chair, former member, school governance committees at Ephesus Elementary School, Phillips Middle School and East Chapel Hill High School

Relevant experience: Democratic Women of Orange County, president, 2016-present; Orange County ABC Board, 2016-present; Orange County Communities in Schools board

Career: Certified Public Accountant with Coleman Huntoon & Brown, PLLC

Why are you seeking re-election? “As the mother of three, including a daughter with autism, and the grandmother of two young children, I am deeply invested in our community, especially in the quality and equity of government service and education we provide to our residents. I have extensive knowledge in education and tax policy and also understand the role Orange County plays in providing affordable housing as well as mental health, senior and disability services.”

District 2 (one seat)

Earl McKee (incumbent)

Earl McKee
submitted

Age: 65

Address: Kiger Road, Rougemont

Contact: mckeeagri@yahoo.com

Website: http://earlmckee.com

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Orange County commissioner since 2010; elected deacon and elder at Little River Presbyterian Church

Relevant experience: Orange County Planning Board, Social Services Board, Triangle J Council of Governments, Fire Chief’s Association of Orange County; founding member of the Caldwell Fire Department; Jaycees; Orange County Farm Bureau

Career: Farmer; Summit Engineering inspector

Why are you seeking re-election? “Public education, business development, and fiscal responsibility have been, and will continue to be, my priorities as a BOCC member. There are many other issues that the BOCC must address over the next few years. They range from housing costs and public transportation, to maintaining the quality of basic services such as public safety, libraries and waste disposal. We must find ways to provide these services without raising the property tax rate to levels that force our residents out of the county. I will continue to push for sound financial decisions as we look to the future needs of Orange County.”

Tommy T. McNeill

Tommy McNeill
Satsuki "Sunshine" Scoville Submitted

Age: 55

Address: Laurel Creek Way, Durham

Contact: ttmcneill@icloud.com

Website: bit.ly/2HU58AL

Twitter: @McNeilltt

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Ran in 2008 for the Orange County Board of Commissioners and in 2012 for the Orange County Board of Education; sought appointment in 2013 to the House District 50 seat

Relevant experience: Born into a third-generation farming family in Raeford, N.C.; Air Force Reserves, 1985-2005; Friends of Orange Public Library; alumni member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; former vice president of the Tuskegee Airmen, Heart of Carolina Chapter; former executive director for Boy Scouts Troop and Pack 144; former member of Toastmasters International; Triangle Healthcare Executives’ Forum of NC, board member and communications chair; former Orange County Planning Board member; active member, Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Bahama

Career: Business development manager

Why are you seeking election? “It is my strong desire to be elected so that I may serve others and contribute to our county as we strive to achieve the highest possible quality of life for our citizens. I am proud to be a resident of Orange County and confident that I could be of the greatest value in such a position by: Increasing funding for Economic Development Commission, maintaining farmland preservation, increasing funding to our school systems, and exploring affordable housing. It is for these reasons that I am running for elected office.”

At-large district (one seat)

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford
submitted

Age: 54

Address: Grand Oak Drive, Hillsborough

Contact: info@crawfordfororangecounty.com

Website: crawfordfororangecounty.nationbuilder.com

Facebook: facebook.com/crawfordfororangecounty

Party: Democrat

Political experience: None

Relevant experience: Orange County Planning Board, including chair and vice chair, Election Board, Orange Democratic Party; founding chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Board; managing director, Carter Community Charter School in Durham; former senior vice president and general counsel, N.C. Community Development Initiative

Career: Attorney/partner at Sanford Holshouser LLP; 12 years in private practice focused on commercial real estate and community development

Why are you seeking election? “Politics are local and in Orange County the schools, affordable housing for all and transportation is lacking. I do not think our current leaders are listening to the constituents to find solutions that work for all. I have a daughter in the school system and she and her peers deserve better. I want to be a voice for all of the county; not red or blue but Orange! I am proud of this County and I want to help it better serve the future.”

Sally Greene

Sally Greene
MIchael Czeiszperger submitted

Age: 62

Address: Morgan Creek Road, Chapel Hill

Contact: sally@ibiblio.org

Website: sallygreene.org

Facebook: facebook.com/sally.greene

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Chapel Hill Town Council, 2003-11, 2013-17

Relevant experience: Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness; leadership positions on Town Council in affordable housing, including inclusionary zoning ordinance, affordable rental housing strategy, Community Home Trust (board member); Orange County Food Council; chair, Town Council committee to explore use of former Town Hall as community museum; Council public lands committee, resulting in permanent preservation of Merritt's Pasture and Morgan Creek Trail; liaison to Cultural Arts Commission, Community Design Commission, Historic District Commission, Planning Board (former Planning Board member). Former board member, Orange County Literacy Council

Career: Research and appellate attorney affiliated with BalBrenner, Carrboro

Why are you seeking election? “I believe that I can effectively translate my experience from three terms on the Chapel Hill Town Council to the county level. My focus on the council was on human services issues, including homelessness, access to housing, the rights of the formerly incarcerated, the need for effective mental health interventions, and food access and security. My work supporting the arts community has involved engaging with the county to support the hundreds of artists whose work contributes to the vibrancy of Orange County. I am eager to take this experience and apply it collaboratively to the benefit of all county residents.”

Noah Oswald

Noah Oswald
Submitted

Age: 33

Address: Collington Drive, Mebane

Contact: noah.oswald@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OswaldForOrange/

Party: Democrat

Political experience: None

Relevant experience: Past experience working in the state legislature and Congress; Orange County native; former president of the Orange County Bar Association; honorary member of the OCBA board; member of the Orange County Affordable Housing Advisory Board

Career: Partner and trial attorney at Leigh Peek Law in Hillsborough, practicing domestic and civil litigation, and representing parents against the Department of Social Services and the local Child Support Enforcement Agency; auxiliary court programs, including Guardian ad Litem work, mediation and negotiation

Why are you seeking election? “I have a long-held admiration for our public officials at all levels, and have looked forward to an opportunity to serve my home community through elected office. Local governments, at both the county and municipal levels, have the most direct impact on our homes and families. I believe that my experience and perspective will provide Orange County with positive leadership that enhances our community.”

Orange County School Board (Four seats)

The job: School board members serve four-year terms and are responsible for working with the district’s administrative staff and teachers to improve student performance and manage the business of local public schools. Their duties include hiring a superintendent; advocating for district needs and desires; developing budgets, curriculums and policies; and make decisions about district buildings.

Sarah Smylie

Sarah Smylie
submitted

Age: 40

Address: East Queen Street, Hillsborough

Contact: sarahforocs@gmail.com

Website: sarahsmylie.org

Facebook: facebook.com/sarahforocs

Political experience: None

Relevant experience: Former second- and third-grade teacher; parent of two Orange County Schools students

Career: Talent strategist for Teach for America

Why are you seeking election? “I’m running because I believe every child in Orange County deserves a world-class education. As a parent and former teacher and education nonprofit leader, I’m someone who has devoted my entire career to great education for every child. That experience will help me help the district to succeed.”

Brenda Stephens (incumbent)

Brenda Stephens
Submitted

Age: 65

Address: Craig Road, Durham

Contact: stephens4students@gmail.com

Website: stephens4students.com

Political experience: Orange County Schools board member since 2002

Relevant experience: Four terms on school board; active in PTA, PTO and numerous civic organizations; substitute teacher

Career: Retired library director in Orange, Caswell and Person counties

Why are you seeking re-election? “I like supporting all students. We have new resource and updated thinking to address our challenges and I want to be a part of addressing these issues. Safe Schools.”

Hillary MacKenzie

Hillary MacKenzie
submitted

Age: 34

Address: Kennesaw Court, Hillsborough

Contact: mackenzie4ocs@gmail.com

Website: mackenzie4ocs.com

Facebook: facebook.com/MacKenzie4OCS

Political experience: None

Relevant experience: Mother of two; leader in Hate-Free Schools Coalition; Orange County, Guardian ad Litem volunteer

Career: Stay-at-home mother, school volunteer, former operations manager for a digital advertising company

Why are you seeking election? “I feel like our children deserve energetic, excited, engaged leaders, and they need people who want to build bridges in the community among elected officials. I also adore kids, and because my youngest is going to kindergarten this year, I have the time energy and passion to do this work. I want to focus on racial equity and to reach out to underserved communities.”

Jessica Aguilar

Jessica Aguilar
submitted

Age: 38

Address: St. Mary’s Road, Hillsborough

Contact: pwmcprez@gmail.com

Website: None

Facebook: None

Political experience: Appointed to Orange County School Board in 2016-17

Relevant experience: Has seven children; master’s degree in liberal studies, foreign languages; working on master’s of divinity

Career: Senior investigator, Durham County District Attorney’s Office; Army Reserve chaplain; former mental health professional; former probation officer

Why are you seeking election? “Our family is deeply invested in Orange County Schools. All of our children attend schools and we want to make sure every child has the opportunity to build the best future they can. We want all children to be treated as if they are our children.”

Hawkeye Aguilar

Hawkeye Aguilar
submitted

Age: 41

Address: St. Mary’s Road, Hillsborough

Contact: pwmcprez@gmail.com

Website: None

Facebook: None

Political experience: None

Relevant experience: Major, Durham’s Citizen Observer Patrol; volunteer, Durham County Sheriff’s Office

Career: Former firefighter, Durham, Orange and Wake counties; former Durham Technical Community College Fire Academy instructor; former U.S. Army sergeant; former Homeland Security instructor

Why are you seeking election? “Anybody can help adults, but children are defenseless and they need our help. With me having a lot of children, I see their struggle in school every day and I also see the struggles of children from other families. I lost a daughter to suicide due to bullying in 2013.”

Mike O’Hagerty has withdrawn from the school board race. His name will appear on the ballot because he withdrew after Feb. 23. Candidates needed to withdraw by Feb. 23 to avoid having their name included on the ballot.

Will Atherton

Will Atherton
Submitted

Age: 45

Address: Cavell Court, Hillsborough

Contact: willaton@athertonmail.com

Website: willforschools.com

Facebook: facebook.com/willfororangecountyschools

Elected office held: None

Relevant experience: Managing multi-million dollar budgets, Orange County Schools Technology advisor committee, Sports Plex Advisory Committee, PTA Member, Classroom Volunteer, HYAA Baseball Commission and coach, Internal business experience

Career: Information Technology at Clorox

Why are you seeking election? I am seeking a seat on the board to ensure all children are represented and supported equally in a safe, secure environment. I want to see diversity represented in our school systems and quality education available for all of our students. We need to continue to recognize and support our exceptional teachers and staff and focus on retaining our biggest asset in our school system. As a board member fiscal responsibility, transparency and clear communication would be a priority during my term as well.

James Needham has withdrawn from the school board race. His name will appear on the ballot because he withdrew after Feb. 23. Candidates needed to withdraw by Feb. 23 to avoid having their name included on the ballot.

Sheriff

The job: The sheriff serves a four-year term and is responsible for patrolling the county, responding to calls for service, investigating crimes, operating and maintaining the county jail, serving civil process papers, providing security in courthouses and courtrooms, running the county’s sex offender registry program, hiring deputies and preparing budgets for consideration by the county commissioners.

Charles Blackwood (incumbent)

Charles Blackwood
submitted

Age: 57

Address: Pinewood Drive, Chapel Hill

Contact: blackwoodforsheriff@gmail.com

Website: blackwoodforsheriff.com

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Sheriff since 2014

Relevant experience: N.C. Sheriffs’ Association member and executive committee secretary; governing board member, N.C. Criminal Justice Information Network; Governor’s Crime Commission; N.C. Justice Academy Joint In-Service Training Committee; Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute Curriculum Committee; 15B Judicial District’s Racial Justice Task Force; awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor, in 2012

Career: 36 years with Orange County Sheriff’s Office

Why are you seeking re-election? “We have accomplished much during our first term in office, the work is ongoing and I believe each day we wake up, we either get better or we get worse, we never remain the same. We are constantly striving to improve and make certain we are effectively serving the ever-changing needs of those we are entrusted to protect. Going forward my priorities include but are not limited to addressing mental health needs at the Detention Center, developing a comprehensive approach to our opioid epidemic, and continuing to address the needs of our elderly population, provide our staff with the most up-to-date training and strengthen community relations.”

Tony White

Tony White
submitted

Age: 48

Address: N.C. 57, Rougemont

Contact: white6067@yahoo.com

Website: tonywhiteforsheriff.com

Facebook: bit.ly/2CquL8u

Party: Democrat

Political experience: None

Relevant experience: Deacon, Glenn Grove Baptist Church; 28-year Hillsborough Fire Department volunteer; State Employees Credit Union, Hillsborough branch advisory board; assistant baseball coach for traveling youth team HYAA Hawks; former assistant football coach, Stanford Middle School

Career: Retired investigator after 19 years with Orange County Sheriff’s Office; 9 years as mechanic with Orange County Schools

Why are you seeking election? “Most of my career, I’ve done something for Orange County, and at this point, I believe I can do some things for Orange County that I believe strongly in, just making sure that the taxpayers’ money is spent correctly, wisely and efficiently. There’s some issues that I think I can put out there and do that they’re not getting.”

District Attorney

The job: The district attorney serves for four years as Orange and Chatham County’s top prosecutor, participating in criminal cases, deciding what charges to file, and prosecuting accused people before a judge or jury, or offering them a plea agreement. The Orange-Chatham district attorney supervises roughly 23 staff members, including 10 assistant district attorneys.

Jim Woodall (incumbent)

Jim Woodall
File photo

Address: Bartlett Circle, Hillsborough

Contact: james.r.woodall@nccourts.org

Website: ncdistrictattorney.org/15B/jimwoodall

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Appointed interim Orange-Chatham district attorney in 2005; first elected in 2006

Relevant experience: Began law career in 1985 in a private law firm handling both civil and criminal cases; in 1990, moved to the District Attorney’s Office for Chatham and Orange counties, becoming the senior assistant district attorney for Orange County before becoming district attorney

Why are you seeking re-election? “Virtually my entire professional life has been devoted to working as a prosecutor. I believe prosecutors have the greatest influence on fairness and justice in the criminal justice system. The 15B District Attorney’s Office has a statewide reputation as one of the most fair and hard-working offices in North Carolina. My office is tough, yet fair, compassionate, and innovative in the pursuit of justice. My entire staff is dedicated to upholding our duty to seek justice every day. I believe I am the best person to continue leading that effort in District 15B, Chatham and Orange Counties.”

Register of Deeds

The job: The office of the Register of Deeds records legal documents and maps, issues marriage licenses and provides certified copies of documents (including birth and death certificates and military discharges), as well as administering notary oaths. The Register of Deeds serves a four-year term.

Mark Chilton (incumbent)

Mark Chilton
File photo

Age: 47

Address: Hunter Place

Contact: mchilton@outlook.com

Website: facebook.com/MayorChilton

Party: Democrat

Elected offices held: Register of Deeds since 2014; Mayor of Carrboro, 2005-13; Carrboro Board of Aldermen, 2003-05; Chapel Hill Town Council, 1991-97

Relevant experience: Real estate attorney (inactive)

Career: Orange County Register of Deeds

Why are you seeking re-election? “Over the last four years, I have expanded public services at the Register of Deeds office, including adding U.S. Passport services, while maintaining the same staff level. I am in the final stages of selecting a new vendor to create a more user-friendly website for the Register of Deeds. I have also recently completed the indexing of over 4,300 records related to slaves mentioned in Orange County’s old deed books; our slave records project expands opportunities for genealogists while honestly acknowledging our county’s history. I am running for re-election to continue and expand these services and more.”

Clerk of Superior Court

The job: The Clerk of Superior Court serves a four-year term and has numerous judicial functions, including jurisdiction over the probate of wills and administering estates; adoptions; incompetency proceedings; condemnation of private lands for public use; and foreclosures. The clerk also is responsible for keeping records of the district and superior courts, and handling court fees and fines that are collected.

James “Jamie” Stanford (incumbent)

Age: 60

Address: Spring Lily Lane, Hillsborough

Contact: jstanford2@nc.rr.com

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Clerk of Superior Court since 2001

Relevant experience: Lifelong Orange County resident; UNC Law School graduate/non-practicing licensed attorney

Career: Practiced law with Northen Blue Law Firm in Chapel Hill for 11 years before being appointed Clerk of Superior Court by then-Resident Superior Court Judge Wade Barber

Why are you seeking re-election? “To continue to serve the citizens of Orange County when they come into contact with our judicial system. I love the job and garner a great deal of satisfaction in assisting people who oftentimes are not familiar with the ‘ins and outs’ of the court system.”

Mark Kleinschmidt

Mark Kleinschmidt
Submitted

Age: 47

Address: Boulder Lane, Chapel Hill

Contact: markforocclerk@gmail.com

Website: https://markforocclerk.com

Facebook: on.fb.me/1FqrK94

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Chapel Hill Town Council, 2001-09; Chapel Hill mayor, 2009-15

Relevant experience: Past president, North Carolina ACLU; delegate, 2012 Democratic National Convention; former Equality NC board member; former International Network of Gay & Lesbian Officials board member; steering committee member, Mayors Innovation Project; former attorney-coach of the award-winning Chapel Hill High School Mock Team; active member, United Church of Chapel Hill

Career: Former attorney with Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, now in private practice

Why are you seeking election? “The Clerk’s office is the public face of our court system. Because of this, everyone should be made to feel welcome, should be treated with empathy, and should expect information that helps facilitate their experience through personal interaction and tools that employ modern technology. Moreover, the office should enthusiastically partner with other court officials and community organizations who share the goal of improving access to justice.”

N.C. Senate District 23

The district lines for Orange County’s N.C. Senate seat will remain the same for the 2018 election.

Valerie Foushee

Valerie Foushee
submitted

Age: 61

Address: Rubrum Drive, Hillsborough

Contact: fousheefornc@gmail.com

Website: valeriefoushee.com

Facebook: facebook.com/valerie.foushee

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, 1997-2004; Orange County Board of Commissioners, 2004-2012; 2012 House District 50, 2012-13. Appointed to Senate District 23 in 2013.

Relevant experience: 2005 Leadership Triangle Goodman Fellow; All-State School Board; former Durham Technical Community College board member; former president, N.C. Association of Black County Officials; UNC Board of Visitors; Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP; former Orange County Social Services board member; Boys and Girls Club of Eastern Piedmont board member

Career: Retired after 21 years as a Chapel Hill Police Department administrator

Why are you seeking re-election? “I am proud to serve the citizens of Orange and Chatham Counties. I will continue to be a champion for education, equality, job creation, and policies that give hope to those less advantaged.”

Tom Glendenning

Address: Eddie Perry Road, Pittsboro

Party: Republican

N.C. House District 50

The district lines for N.C. House Districts 50 and 56, representing Orange County, were redrawn slightly for the 2018 election. District 50 now includes the following precincts: Cameron Park, Coles Store, Grady Brown, Hillsborough, St. John and West Hillsborough.

Graig Meyer

Graig Meyer
submitted

Age: 43

Address: Leslie Drive, Chapel Hill

Contact: info@graigmeyer.com

Website: graigmeyer.com

Facebook: facebook.com/graigmeyer

Party: Democrat

Political experience: N.C. House lawmaker since 2013

Relevant experience: Founding co-chairman of the Early Childhood Caucus and the Life Sciences Caucus; 2015-16 co-chair of the House Democratic Freshman Caucus

Career: Trained social worker with 16 years in public schools, as coordinator of the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program and director of student equity for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Also, co-founder and principal consultant with The Equity Collaborative LLC

Why are you seeking re-election? “I am even more committed to my service as State Representative today than I was when first appointed to this seat in 2013. I hope I’ll have your support in 2018 so that we can continue to work for North Carolina in the years to come.”

Kenneth Rothrock

Kenneth Rothrock
Submitted

Age: 67

Address: Lake Orange Road, Hillsborough

Contact: krothrock@rothrocklaw.com

Website: rothrocklaw.com

Party: Republican (since 2016)

Political experience: Democratic candidate for N.C. House District 55 in 2002; president, Cedar Grove Precinct of the Orange County Republican Party

Relevant experience: N.C. Bar Association; N.C. State Bar; Exchange Club of Hillsborough; Hillsborough First Baptist Church member and greeter; N.C. Lifetime Sportsman

Career: 37 years in private civil and criminal law practice at Rothrock Law Firm

Why are you seeking election? “I think we all need to start sitting down at the same table – the table is America – and we need to start talking about how we’re going to handle the problems we have. It can’t be identity politics. I’m hoping people understand that for 46 years of my adult life, I’ve been a Democrat. Now I’m a Republican. … I want to be the voice for everybody, but I am more conservative than Democrats … and the Democrat Party no longer has an open door for everybody. They have many times said, if you feel this way about something, we don’t want you.”

N.C. House District 56

The district lines for N.C. House Districts 50 and 56, representing Orange County, were redrawn slightly for the 2018 election. District 56 includes these precincts: Booker Creek, Cedar Falls, Eastside, Weaver Dairy and Weaver Dairy Satellite.

Verla Insko

Verla Insko
submitted

Age: 82

Address: Surry Road, Chapel Hill

Contact: verla.insko@gmail.com

Website: verlainsko.com

Facebook: facebook.com/verla.insko

Party: Democrat

Political experience: First elected to N.C. House in 1996; eight years on Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board; four years on the Orange County Board of Commissioners; four years on the Orange Water and Sewer Authority board

Relevant experience: Former Orange County Partnership for Young Children (Smart Start) board member; former Orange County Center for Women board chair; former Orange County Democratic Party chair; former district legislative assistant for Congressman David Price

Career: Former junior high school science teacher; former program administrator for UNC Sickle Cell Program, UNC School of Medicine

Why are you seeking re-election? “I am proud to live in a state with a history of moving forward with public policy that benefits all. I can’t and won’t let the erosion of the past six years destroy the progress of the previous 60. I’ll fight to improve education – early childhood through our superb community college and UNC systems – expand access to heath and mental health care, protect the environment, extend social justice, reform our criminal justice system, celebrate our diversity and build an economy for all. I’ll work to restore North Carolina to its noble motto, ‘...where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great’.”

Marcus Cooke

Age: 74

Address: York Place, Chapel Hill

Contact: wmcooke1943@gmail.com

Party: Republican

Matthew Clements

Matthew Clements
John Warner Submitted

Age: 45

Address: N.C. 54 Bypass, Carrboro

Contact: mclements@lpnc.org

Website: matthew4freedom.com (under construction)

Facebook: facebook.com/matthew4freedom

Party: Libertarian

Political experience: None, but have had various N.C. Libertarian Party roles

Relevant experience: Volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill; NC Torch Run for Special Olympics; IT support volunteer for the nonprofit food agency TABLE in Carrboro, along with other causes

Career: Hotel and restaurant operations management; IT support

Why are you seeking election? “I was inspired to run for office to provide the citizens of Orange County to have an option on the ballot. Historically, Democrats have run unopposed in previous years for N.C. House and N.C. Senate. Citizens of Orange County deserve to have a choice in whom represents them in Raleigh.”

U.S. House District 4

David Price (incumbent)

David Price
Submitted

Age: 77

Address: Raleigh

Email: david@pricecampaign.com

Website: priceforcongress.com

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Member, U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-1995, 1997-present; chairman, N.C. Democratic Party, 1983-84; staff director, Commission on the Presidential Nomination, Democratic National Committee, 1981-82

Relevant experiences: Duke University professor with tenure, 1973-1986, 1995-96

Career: U.S. Congressman

Why did you decide to seek election or re-election to this office? “I'm running for reelection to continue fighting for accessible health care, affordable housing and education, and other policies that improve the lives of American families and advance progressive values of fairness and equality. I am also running to serve as an effective check against an erratic and reckless President and a compliant Republican Congress.”

Richard L. Watkins

Richard Watkins
Submitted

Age: 33

Address: Chapel Hill

Contact: richardwatkins@richardlwatkins.com

Website: richardlwatkins.com

Social media: facebook.com/RichardLWatkins; @RLWatkinsNC

Party: Democrat

Political experience: Science/technology policy and science advocacy at the local, state and federal level

Relevant experience: Member, Sigma Xi, the scientific honor society board of directors; president, UNC-Chapel Hill Chapter of Sigma Xi; member, American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Human Rights Coalition Council

Career: CEO and founder, The Science Policy Action Network Inc.; program coordinator, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Chancellor’s Science Scholars Program

Why are you seeking election? “I am seeking election to make addressing climate change a top priority; to close the gap between the multi-billionaires and the rest of America; to bring Universal Healthcare to the American people; to bring an end to both the war on drugs and the privatized prison system, both of which profit on the captivity of people of color; to make education truly equitable for all; and to deliver the full menu of American freedoms, rights, and protections to my fellow citizens of the LGBTQIA community. I am the progressive candidate. I am your candidate.”

Michelle Laws

Michelle Laws
Submitted

Age: 49

Address: Durham

Contact: init2gether2018@gmail.com

Website: michellelaws.org

Facebook: facebook.com/CongresswomenMichelleLaws

Party: Democrat

Political experience: First woman elected president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP; third vice chair, appointed by then-Rep. Joe Hackney, for the N.C. Human Relations Commission

Relevant experience: Longtime advocate for women and children, and community organizer; former executive director of the N.C. State Conference of the NAACP, 2014-16; Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; legislative liaison, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services; campaign press secretary for former Maryland Congressman Albert R. Wynn; campaign organizer for Lafayette Barnes for Washington, D.C., City Council

Career: Adjunct professor of sociology at N.C. Central University; Associate minister at Union Baptist Church in Durham, member of Pastor’s Transition Team with the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Hammond, ministering to three churches in Apex, Morrisville and Greenville, S.C.; assistant director, nonprofit Community Health Coalition

Why are you seeking election? “I believe that during this time that we’re in ... it’s important that we have people in Washington, D.C., who take bold stands against some of the regressive policies that are coming out of that administration and Congress. I have supported Congressman Price for as long as I could vote, but I honestly don’t think that his leadership style at this point is serving us well. We need people there who are not afraid to speak out and who take strong positions even when they are not popular positions. ... We need people there that can do some critical analysis of what policies are best for the districts that they represent.”

Steve A. Von Loor

Steve A. Von Loor
Submitted

Age: 39

Address: Brier Crossings Loop, Durham

Contact: vonloor4congress@gmail.com

Website: steveavonloor.com

Facebook: facebook.com/vonloor4uscongress

Party: Republican

Elected office held: Second national vice chairman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly of the United States; second vice chairman, Republican National Hispanic Assembly of North Carolina

Relevant experience: President, Latino Republican National Federation; Executive Board Member of Republican National Hispanic Assembly of the United States of America; Republican National Committee-Hispanics Initiatives; Republican National Hispanic Assembly of North Carolina; appointed by then-Gov. Pat McCrory to the Governor’s Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs; former lawyer referral specialist, N.C. Bar Association

Career: Entrepreneur/founder and CEO, Von Loor Language Solutions; Automotive manufacturing electrical technician, Altec Industries

Why are you seeking election? “I am running for Congress, because I want to give the Power back to the people, be the voice of those who were ignored and neglected for too long. I want to serve all of us living in our district. It does not matter the party affiliation. We are all American, we are all North Carolinians, we should work together for the same mission – to help one to another and prosper. I’m reaching out to ALL.”

Scerry” Perry Whitlock

Age: 47

Address: Garner

Party: Libertarian

Contact: perry_whitlock@bellsouth.net

Elected offices held: Candidate for House District 33 in 2014

Relevant experience: Lots of reading. Formal education in objective information, as opposed to the subjectivity of arts degrees. Ability to recognize sophistry. Contempt for destruction, rewards for innovation/creation.

Why are you seeking election? “I support the Libertarian position of addressing limited access to the ballot. Currently any unaffiliated candidate must gather an excess of 60,000 validated registered voter signatures to become ballot eligible, with a filing fee. Roughly, one-third of registered voters are unaffiliated. These unaffiliated voters can still vote in their primary of choice, at the cost of practical ballot access. The Bill of Rights protects the individual from the mob, making the U.S. a republic, not a democracy.”

Greg Childress: 919-419-6645, @gchild6645