This report is part of a series of candidates’ statements in contested races in this year’s general election. Voting day for the primaries is Tuesday, May 6.
BEAUFORT — Despite four of seven county commission seats appearing on the Tuesday, Nov. 4, ballot this year, only one of the current members will see a primary next month.
Incumbent Chairman Jonathan Robinson has a challenger from his own party on May 6 – Laurel Road resident Randy Feagle.
Both Republicans will vie for the county’s District 6 seat, representing Down East, Merrimon and North River.
Though early voting for the primary kicks off in all races, countywide April 24, only Republican voters in the following District 6 areas will cast a ballot for the commissioners’ primary:
•Portions of Wiregrass
Early voting sites will be set in three areas of the county this election and run weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday April 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturday, May 3 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Voters may cast a ballot at the County Board of Elections office at 1702 Live Oak St. in Beaufort, at the Western Park Community Center situated at 275 Old Highway 58 in Cedar Point and at the Fort Benjamin Park Recreation Center, 100 McQueen Ave., Newport.
Voters will be asked for photo identification at the polls, but it is not required to cast a ballot. Election officials are trying to get voters used to the idea, as it will be required in the 2016 race.
Absentee voting by mail for the primaries has already begun. Those using the service must first complete an absentee ballot request form, which can be found at the elections office, on the News-Times website, www.carolinacoastonline.com (here), and on the elections website at www.nc-carteretcounty.civicplus.com/499/Absentee-Ballot-Request-Procedures.
Absentee ballots must be received by May 6 to be counted.
The News-Times sent questionnaires to each candidate in the 2014 election. Their responses are below:
Address: 682 Seashore Dr., Atlantic, N.C. 28511
Seat seeking: Carteret County Board of Commissioners District 6 (North River, Merrimon, areas east of North River), Republican Party
Date and place of birth: Age 62, Morehead City.
Family: Single parent, daughter Staci Robinson Rinehardt, teacher at Smyrna School; son-in-law Michael Rinehardt, teacher at East Carteret High School, and son Mathew Robinson, student at East Carolina University.
Education: Graduated East Carteret High School, Bachelor of Science in business administration from Atlantic Christian College.
Occupation: Lifelong commercial fisherman, 1973-2010, currently serving as driver education instructor for North Carolina Driving School, Winterville.
Political experience: Served on the Board of Commissioners since November 1998. Previously served in the N.C. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1996. Serving on Appropriations Committee, Health & Environment Committee, General Government Committee, Joint Commission on Seafood & Aquaculture. Recognized by the North Carolina Taxpayers’ Union as “Taxpayers Best Friend” while serving in N.C. House. Endorsed by National Rifle Association. Member of the Carteret County Republican Party Executive Committee and served as treasurer before seeking office.
County boards served: Carteret County Partnership for Children, Carteret County Parks and Recreation Committee, Carteret County Health Department, Humane Society Board of Director, Marine Fisheries Advisory Board, Carteret General Hospital (treasurer), Harbor Authority (ex-officio member), Tourism Development Authority and the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway Committee.
Civic activities: Eagle Scout, now serving Assistant Scout Master Troop 252, past-president and immediate past-vice president of Carteret County Fishermen’s Association, Highliner Award from the N.C. Forestry Association as “Unselfish Service as N.C. Legislator,” former volunteer fireman.
Why are you the best candidate? Having served as an effected elected official at both the state and local level, I believe I bring an important and unique perspective to provide insight as to how multiple layers of government can work for the benefit of its citizens. I am particularly proud of the collective accomplishments of current and past Republican boards.
During the past 16 years, I have worked with dozens of leaders from all sides of the political spectrum to raise the standards of Carteret County schools. Recent newspaper headlines reaffirmed the success of Carteret County schools, ranking Carteret County among the top schools in the state.
We have improved the parks and recreational facilities throughout the county, as well as library services located in both eastern and western Carteret County, while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in North Carolina. Most recently, I am proud of the stand my county has made to protect our civilian labor force at Cherry Point and to further strengthen our relationship with the U.S. Marine Corps.
As a local born and bred commercial fisherman, I am especially proud of our county’s support of the commercial fishing community. Having served on the decks of our family’s workboat, “Down East,” my commitment to this heritage and the people of the fishing families of Eastern Carteret County is unwavering.
Top priority, if elected: The challenge of the future will be to maintain the current level of services with fewer state and federal tax dollars.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers? I have fulfilled promises to my neighbors and fellow Carteret County residents when entering politics 22 years ago that I would work with them to maintain low taxes, advance education and support current tourism and commercial fishing interests. My record speaks for itself.
Contact information: Phone – 269-4970, email@example.com.
Randy D. Feagle
Address: 480 Laurel Rd., Beaufort, N.C. 28516
Seat seeking: County Commissioner, District 6 (North River, Merrimon and all areas east of North River), Republican.
Date and place of birth: Age 57, Morehead City.
Family: Wife, Brenda, and son, Daniel.
Education: Graduated from East Carteret High School, 1975, earned Bachelor of Science in agriculture education, 1980, and Master’s, 1985, from N.C. State University.
Occupation: Retired from teaching with 30 years of service, currently work as EMT for Friendly Medical Transportation in Morehead City and Jacksonville.
Political experience: None.
Civic activities: Served in the N.C. Army National Guard as an infantry officer for 26 years, assistant chief of North River & Laurel Road Volunteer Fire Department, and fire captain and EMT with South River-Merrimon Volunteer Fire Department.
Why are you the best candidate? I understand the needs and area where tax cuts could be made without hurting education. As a volunteer firefighter at two departments and an EMT at one, I am aware of today’s needs of our county’s emergency services. These are two large portions of the county budget and I have insight into the workings of both systems.
Top priority, if elected: Focus on ways to avoid wasting taxpayers’ money.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers? I have no special interest group that I represent and would appreciate an opportunity to represent all the people of Carteret County. Now that I am mostly retired, I have the time to listen to the concerns of the people and will attempt to always vote for what’s best for our county.
Contact information: Phone – 342-4345.
Contact Jackie Starkey at 726-7081, ext. 232; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @jackieccnt.