In Dist. 5, Republican incumbent Andy Wilkie will face Franklin Gomez Flores — the first contested commissioner race in Dist. 5 in two elections.
Wilkie, who has served on the board since being …
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Wilkie, who has served on the board since being appointed to fill a vacancy in May 2019, is seeking a full four-year term. He is a Chatham County native, served six years as a paratrooper in the Army Reserves and operated a business and non-profit in Sanford.
Since being appointed to the board in 2019, he’s served on seven local or regional boards and committees, including the Adult Care and Nursing Home Committee, the Agriculture Advisory Committee and the Research Triangle Regional Partnership. If re-elected, Wilkie’s main priorities would be to reduce debt, as well as property taxes, by adding to the county’s industrial tax base with new development.
“I am the only conservative on the board,” he wrote in a September questionnaire response to the News + Record. “My district and the western half of the county is rural and conservative. We have fewer school children, require fewer county services and pay property taxes that go to support the ever-expanding population in the northern and eastern sides of the county. With the setup we now have in electing commissioners, the only hope we have to control taxes is to keep trying to elect a majority of 3 conservatives to the board and get control of spending and taxing.”
Wilkie did not respond to multiple requests for an interview from the News + Record for this profile.
Only a few months after being appointed as commissioner, Wilkie held the singular dissenting vote on the board in regards to the removal of the Confederate monument from the historic Chatham County Courthouse in downtown Pittsboro. At the time of the board’s vote that August, Wilkie said he voted “no” as an attempt to represent his District 5 constituents, which includes most of the land south of Siler City and west of Goldston.
He is running as a team with this year’s other Republican candidates, Jay Stobbs and Jimmy Pharr, with the slogan, “Vote 3 for change.” A flyer for the candidates, paid for by the Chatham County Republican Party, indicates the following priorities: restoring the Veterans Memorial (the Confederate monument removed by the BOC in Pittsboro in 2019), repealing county-wide zoning, reducing property taxes and spending and replacing the Democratic candidates up for re-election, Mike Dasher and Karen Howard.
In his questionnaire response, Wilkie said the question he wanted to be asked was: “What do you like most about living in Chatham County?” To that, he answered: “The people.”
“After talking and listening to them you come to the understanding that we all have so much more in common than we have in differences,” he said. “Let’s talk (less) and listen more.”
Reporter Hannah McClellan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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