Editor’s note: In Chatham, the five-member board of county commissioners acts as the main policy-making body for the county’s government. This year, three of the board’s five seats will be …
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Jay Stobbs has been an airborne ranger, taught advanced physics at West Point and served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Now, he’s seeking one of the Chatham County Board of Commissioner’s five seats, facing incumbent Karen Howard in the Dist. 1 race.
Running as a Republican, Stobbs was an engineer and financial adviser who has managed large-scale projects as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In a News + Record September questionnaire, he said he is seeking office as commissioner to help the county incentivize business opportunities and economic growth to create more jobs. In that same answer, he also added that the county needed to recognize the role of veterans, specifically calling for the county to “honor this past by restoring the Veterans Memorial.”
“As a 30-year veteran U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer and Professional Engineer, I have experience and expertise in managing large-scale projects including the need to work with a variety of stakeholders and customers,” he wrote. “As a financial adviser with an MBA, I have the business acumen to understand detailed plans, budgeting, and reports. As a taxpayer and responsible citizen, I have the ability to make fiscally responsible decisions to ensure a bright future for our youth.”
In 2018, Stobbs ran for election to the N.C. House of Representatives to represent Dist. 54, but lost to the current representative, Democrat Robert Reives.
Stobbs did not respond to multiple requests for an interview from the News + Record for this profile, but wrote earlier in his questionnaire that the most significant challenges for the county in the coming year are “to provide the requisite leadership, management, and encouragement” to position the county as a smart place for the opening of new businesses and growth of existing ones. His objectives as a commissioner would be to reduce county spending and create a tax structure that would meet the county’s needs and incentivize business growth. If not elected, Stobbs wrote that he would continue his volunteer work with military veterans groups.
Related to COVID-19, Stobbs said Chatham has done a great job following state guidelines, but expressed doubt in North Carolina’s response due to what he characterized as “conflicting reports,” suggesting reported case numbers “may be highly inaccurate.”
Stobbs is running as a team with this year’s other Republican candidates, Commissioner Andy Wilkie 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, Stobbs also emphasized a need for transparency in county government.
“I will be transparent and make decisions and recommendations on what is best for the county,” he said. “I will strive to continue to use the West Point mantra and choose the harder right rather than the easier wrong.”
Reporter Hannah McClellan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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