BOC member Dasher prepares for re-election, county growth

Posted 10/14/20

Democrat Mike Dasher is seeking re-election as a Chatham County Commissioner after representing District 2 since 2016. During that time, he’s served as the board chairperson and also acted as the …

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BOC member Dasher prepares for re-election, county growth

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Democrat Mike Dasher is seeking re-election as a Chatham County Commissioner after representing District 2 since 2016. During that time, he’s served as the board chairperson and also acted as the board liaison to eight county boards and committees, including theTriangle Area Rural Planning Organization, Board of Social Services and Board of Elections.

A 14-year resident of Chatham, Dasher is a managing member of Orange Communities LLC, a property development and construction company. If re-elected, he hopes to work toward the board’s adoption of a unified development ordinance and ensuring broadband access in the county.

“I’m running for re-election because I want to continue the important work we’re doing to move Chatham County forward,” he said in his September questionnaire response to the News + Record. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over the last 3.5 years, but there is still work to do.”

He added: “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.”

Dasher, who faces challenger Jimmy Pharr for the Dist. 2 seat, has been impressed by the county’s handling of the pandemic, he said, particularly the staff’s ability to “adjust and adapt and maintain the excellent level of service that our residents expect.” He said that though he thinks the state has responded well overall, “we’ve all been hampered by the failure of our federal government to take this seriously from the start.”

“You know, I wish that more had changed since August, related to the pandemic,” he told the News + Record in an interview last week. “But we are at least working on plans to reopen lobbies and public spaces to the public. I’m hoping we’ll see that here in the next couple of weeks. It’s difficult, but I don’t know that we as a county could have handled it any better any differently — I certainly think you have to put public safety first and foremost.”

During this election cycle, Dasher, along with Chairperson Karen Howard, has faced criticism from the Republican commissioner candidates for wasteful spending — a claim echoed on some conservative Facebook pages. One such page, “Vote out Mike Dasher and Karen Howard in Chatham County NC,” which has just over 200 followers, promotes these ideas. Along with baselessly claiming his personal business ventures as causing a conflict of interest to his commissioner role, this page and others also critique his vote to remove the Confederate monument from Pittsboro while he was the board’s chairperson in 2019.

“All I can do is kind of make clear what my positions are and where I think Chatham County needs to be moving towards and let folks decide whether or not that’s the direction they want to see the county move in,” Dasher said in response.

A focus of his campaign from the beginning has been “moving Chatham forward,” he said, through growth that residents support and is financially responsible.

“I don’t think that government is always the most efficient user of tax funds, but I do think in Chatham County that we do an excellent job,” he said regarding claims that the BOC is promoting wasteful spending. “I guess my challenge is always, to show me what in the budget, what the county is spending money on that we shouldn’t be, and that’s always kind of where the conversation stops.

In his questionnaire, he acknowledged what he called a “justifiable skepticism” toward public service, and said he still thinks serving as a commissioner is worth it.

“I encourage people to get involved whenever, wherever, and in whatever capacity they’re able to,” he wrote. “Democracy is a participatory sport. Run for office. Show up, be heard. Not because you always win, but because that’s the only way you ever will.”

Reporter Hannah McClellan can be reached at hannah@chathamnr.com. 

 

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