Mike Dasher

2020 Candidate Questionnaire - Chatham County Commissioner, Democrat, District 2

Posted 2/21/20

Mike Dasher

Date/place of birth: 1977, Toledo, Ohio

Current occupation: Chatham County Commissioner, builder

E-mail: info@mikedasher.org

Campaign website/social media: …

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Mike Dasher

2020 Candidate Questionnaire - Chatham County Commissioner, Democrat, District 2

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Posted

Mike Dasher

Date/place of birth: 1977, Toledo, Ohio

Current occupation: Chatham County Commissioner, builder

E-mail: info@mikedasher.org

Campaign website/social media: mikedasher.org

Education and work history: B.S. Political Science, B.S. Economics, Barton College, 1995-1999; Commissioner, Chatham County, 2016- present; Managing Member, Orange Communities, LLC, 2011- present; Director of Construction, Builders of Hope, 2008-2010; Project Manager, Alphin Design/Build 2006-2008; Construction Manager, Habitat for Humanity Wake County, 2002-2006

Family (names & ages, as of Election Day, of immediate family members): Selbe Bartlett, 45, wife; Abilene Dasher, 15, daughter; Jude Dasher, 11, son

Party affiliation: Democrat

Current and previous elected offices held or sought & terms of service: Chatham County Commissioner, 2016-present

Campaign manager (if applicable): N/A

Campaign treasurer (if applicable): Karen Scriven

Why are you seeking this office?: I’m running for re-election because I want to continue the important work we’re doing to move Chatham County forward. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over the last three years, but there is still work to do.

What is your understanding of the responsibilities of the office you seek, and in 100 words or less, why do you believe you’re qualified to fill that role?: I had served on county advisory boards, worked with area non-profits, and majored in Political Science, so I came into office with a good understanding of the responsibilities and functions of local government. I was able to hit the ground running and immediately begin making the improvements I was elected to make. My three years as a Commissioner have allowed me to build solid relationships with my colleagues and other elected officials, with community leaders and with residents across the county. I know the processes and procedures for getting things done. I’ve proven that I’m willing and able to do the work required to bring about real progress.

Give us three goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected: My goal for my second term, should I be fortunate to serve, is to get to a place where we no longer feel like we’re catching up but instead have established: 1) the ordinances that will allow us to grow and still protect our environment and rural character; 2) the programs and funding streams that will provide for schools, parks, affordable housing and all the things that make a community vibrant, and; 3) the staff and facilities that a growing, modern, progressive county needs.

What are the biggest challenges in Chatham right now and how would you address them?: In Chatham County, that depends almost entirely on where you live. Certainly on the east side the most pressing challenges continue to be around growth and development and its associated impacts. But farther away from the Pittsboro-Chapel Hill corridor the concerns are quite different. Understanding those differences and the unique opportunities they present is the biggest challenge for our Board right now. I want to continue working on the things we all value - good, safe schools and access to college and job training, quality affordable housing, clean water, opportunities for employment and a responsive and effective county government.

Chatham County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state. What do you see as the major challenges due to growth and how would you address them?: Our recently adopted Comprehensive Plan does an excellent job of detailing our goals and priorities in the face of that growth, such as preserving our rural character and concentrating development in particular areas, but the challenges will be in developing our Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) and putting in place the rules that will give “teeth” to those priorities. We also need to adequately plan for needed schools, parks and other county services and facilities that additional residents will require.

Parts of Chatham County’s future development plans are closely tied to the comprehensive development plan. What do you see as the next steps working toward Chatham’s future and the role of the comp plan?: The adoption of the Chatham County Comprehensive Plan is certainly one of the most significant achievements of my tenure thus far. Plan Chatham calls for targeted growth and development in specific areas, and for maintaining the rural character of our county outside of those. We’ve now begun the process of developing a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which will consolidate - and most importantly update - our ordinances into one document, and will provide clear rules for smarter growth that protects our environment and keeps Chatham County the unique blend of landscapes it is today. I want to ensure that we are providing certainty but also flexibility so that we will see unique projects that reflect the vibrancy and diversity of our community.

What is your view of the expansion of rural broadband and how do you see the county’s role?: This continues to be an area of incredible frustration for me, but more importantly for too many of our residents. We are very limited in what we can do locally due to state law, but we have seen some improvements and progress. Some private providers have expanded into Chatham County, and we are working with Chatham County Schools and other partners to leverage county facilities for potential use by private providers. I am optimistic about some promising news soon for our residents.

What’s your overall view of the role of county government? Is it fulfilling its mission at present? If not, what needs to change?: I believe government generally — and local government especially — allows us the ability to do things together that we can’t do individually. When we pool our resources (through taxes), we can pay teachers and build schools, we can provide emergency and human services, we can protect our natural resources and determine appropriate land uses. And yes, I think Chatham County does an excellent job of doing those things and more in an efficient, effective and transparent way.

What differentiates you from your opponent which makes you the better candidate to represent your party?: I have not had the opportunity to hear from the other candidate publicly and have seen only a couple written statements, so it’s difficult for me to ascertain any particular policy positions on which we agree or differ. I will let my record of accomplishments as a Commissioner speak for itself.

Biographical Facts

Political/government hero(s): Jimmy Carter

Favorite book: “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck

Book most recently read: “Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future” by Pete Buttigieg

Favorite film: For great filmmaking, “Chinatown.” For all the feels, “Field of Dreams.”

Hobbies: Designing stuff, building stuff, spending time with family and friends.

Church/civic involvement: Board Member, Willow Oak Montessori; Board Member, Main Street Pittsboro

Personal motto or one-line philosophy: “It is what it is.” I say that all the time, anyways.

Strongest childhood ambition: I thought I wanted to be an architect.

Most significant life goal you’ve accomplished: My kids are happy.

Goal you haven’t accomplished yet: I’d like to see more of the world.

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