Democratic voters in Chatham County will choose between two candidates in that party’s May 17 to decide who will be on the general election ballot come November.
The choice is between David Delaney and Lewis Hendricks for the Democratic nomination, each seeking to take the seat currently held by Commissioner Diana Hales, who is not seeking reelection.
The winner will face Republican candidate Tom Glendinning, who doesn’t face a challenger in his party’s primary, in November.
David Delaney: Political newcomer Delaney — a cybersecurity and privacy attorney at Truist Financial — decided to file for office on the first day filing reopened after the gerrymandering legal proceedings came to a close.
Delaney has also served as an army officer, law and policy professor and executive cybersecurity attorney for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which he said gives him a certain level of experience other first-time candidates may not have.
“What’s essential to good policymaking is strategic thinking, collaboration, a willingness to learn, and experience balancing the benefits and costs of policy options,” he said. “Those roles, and my recent work as a private-sector attorney, shaped me as a coalition-builder, problem solver, and innovator.”
Chatham faces several challenges as the county continues to grow, according to Delaney. He said infrastructure capabilities and environmental impact are two challenges Chatham faces, as well as new social and economic issues.
After VinFast and the state announced the electric car manufacturer would be coming to the Triangle Innovation Point in Moncure, Delaney said it would hopefully provide some relief for residents and a chance to make important structural changes.
“Our tax base is heavily residential, which limits our ability to build public infrastructure that will attract larger businesses,” he said. “VinFast’s arrival is welcome news to create jobs and increase the business tax base — we need a similar win for the Chatham-Siler City megasite.”
Delaney ultimately wants to help ensure a “community-minded partnership,” and he wants to do that by bringing his life experience to the board of commissioners.
“I’m running to ensure we advance smart, strategic development, protect our environment, and promote equity for all county residents,” he said. “We must keep innovating and improving in those areas, and we must take a strategic approach to the education, public health, economic, and technological inequities that limit many residents’ lifelong opportunities.”
Lewis Hendricks: Hendricks was among one of the first people to file for office when filing originally opened in December before coming to a halt due after the gerrymandering lawsuits were brought before the North Carolina courts.
He said his experience as a business owner and a veteran help give him the level of experience needed to fulfill the duties of a county commissioner.
“The responsibilities of the (county) board of commissioners are to make policy including land use planning, recreation, utilities, building inspections and permits, waste disposal and recycling, libraries, tourism and emergency response,” he said. “I feel qualified to fill this role because of my budget experience in government agencies, being a small business owner and having lived in Chatham county for over 20 years.”
Hendricks voiced his support for teachers and a need to support K-12 education, as well as provided three goals for Chatham County he wants to see come to pass: increasing teacher pay, establishing a County Bond Fund to buy county land to preserve waterways and expand natural parks and increasing the funding in schools to provide an equitable education for students.
“Teacher pay and overall teacher support has to be dramatically improved to maintain and improve our school system,” he said. “Making sure we are thinking of secondary and tertiary effects of development decisions is critical to managing Chatham’s growth.”
Chatham County continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, with companies such as VinFast deciding to come to the area, bringing more jobs and people with them.
Hendricks said he believes infrastructure needs to expand to accommodate the increased population. By doing so, the county can be sure it is prepared for future economic and social development.
“Waste water, clean water, and pressure on our school class sizes are a few of the major challenges due to growth,” he said. “If capacity can’t be increased to meet the proposed development then the proposed development won’t be able to move forward.”
County government has had a lot to face in the last two years — ranging from handling a pandemic to navigating the challenges brought by it, Hendricks said the county has done a good job in providing relief for the county’s residents.
Hendricks said he wants to do his part and be a part of a body he said actively worked to support his community in the hardest times.
“From the full time county staff, to the sheriff, to the superintendent of schools, the county has a very thoughtful and hard working team in place to move Chatham forward,” he said. “Whether in the Army, the State Department, or small business I have always looked to be part of a team that leverages the strengths of each member to accomplish great things together.”
Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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