Long list of Dems line up for Mecklenburg At-Large County Commission

A long list of Democrats have lined up to run as at-large candidates on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. A few of the names are familiar, but most are newcomers to Mecklenburg County politics as candidates.

The following is a rundown of the candidates listed in the order in which they responded to my question on Amendment One. The only exception to this order is Pat Cotham. For many reasons, Pat is the one candidate I am choosing to endorse. I recommend close attention to all of the candidates near the top of the list, however, this is one of the most qualified slate of candidates I've seen in a long time and it is a shame we don't have more seats open.

Pat Cain Cotham

Pat has been an hourly wage worker in retail and an executive with a recruiting firm. She has a strong understanding of both sides of the job market. She has helped everyone from felons to executives find work and knows what employers are looking for.

She has also spent many, many years volunteering in the community and in the Democratic Party. Again, giving her time doing anything from simple tasks to serving in leadership roles with Democratic Women, Uptown Democratic Forum and the DNC. She also serves as a host parent for international teens attending CMS.

More information:

Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Facebook page

From Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

I have worked in business since 1973. In business, relationships are the foundation for getting things done. Regardless of our background or party affiliation, county commissioners are in the business of making life better for the people of Mecklenburg County. I will work tirelessly to establish the type of relationships needed to succeed in this task.

 

I will work to understand the priorities of each Commissioner, and – for those elected from a district – the demands of his or her district. I will regularly visit all of the districts, to get a feel for their character and uniqueness. I will listen objectively to the ideas of my fellow Commissioners, evaluating those ideas on the merits and not on the personalities.

 

Finally, I will promote an air of professionalism and collegiality among the board. I have always done that in business, and I will continue to do it in the business of government.  

Position on Amendment One:

I am against the amendment. I do not want to write discrimination into our Constitution.

Endorsements:

Creative Loafing
MeckPAC

 

 

Gregory Hunt

Gregory has a civil and domestic law practice in Charlotte.  He and his family moved here in 2007. He received his law degree from Albany Law School after graduating with honors from the City College of New York (C.U.N.Y).  Hunt also earned his MBA degree from Russell Sage College/Sage Graduate School, in Albany New York.

More information: 

ElectGregoryHunt.com
Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire

From ElectGregoryHunt.com:

"It's not about cutting programs in order to balance the budget; rather an over-all balanced budgeting approach is more effective.  Allot resources that offer the maximum return of benefits for all residents.  In addition, Mecklenburg County residents deserve transparency.  They deserve to know how local government makes decision that impact their everyday lives, particularly as it relates to : social services, public safety and real property (re) evaluations."

Position on Amendment One:

I am against Amendment One and will vote "No" on May 8, 2012. I believe that Amendment One is discriminatory in nature, and unduly burdensome on citizens and businesses of North Carolina. I also believe that Amendment One harms families and children, and how how companies may provide benefits to their employees.

Endorsements:

Creative Loafing
MeckPAC

 

Craig Madans
 

Craig Madans, businessman and entrepreneur, is founder of HOCOA- Home Repair Networks. He has first-hand experience as an employer and small businessman. He supports aggressively seeking ways to bring manufacturing jobs back to Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, especially as a means to provide products to support the county's growth.

Madans also has experience on the campaign trail. He has challenged both Pat McCrory and Sue Myrick, so has first-hand experience running a county-wide campaign.

More information:

Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Rebic/Sppace Questionnaire

From Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

Because of my business background and sense of fiscal responsibility. I understand the pressures of payroll; I understand the pressures of being a small business owner and an entrepreneur. I truly believe you don’t spend what you don’t have. My business experiences in marketing and manufacturing, communication skills, and my desire to serve separate me from my opponents. I want to continue to make Mecklenburg County a place to live and raise our families in a safe, enjoyable, and prosperous community. “A place where we all live our dreams, and where others can dream of living.”

Position on Amendment One:

​I am against Amendment One. It is wrong to write discrimination into our Constitution.

 

 

Kim Michele Ratliff

Through her work as an Area Vice President for Communications Workers of America Local 3603 Kim has lobbied at the state, local and federal level for worker's rights and the rights of all people. She attended two years of leadership school. According to Ratliff, she has experience in working with budgets, public policy and intergovernmental relations.

Ratliff currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Latin American Coalition and is an associate member for the Young Democrats. She has been involved as a community activist for twenty years. Ratliff has attended St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church since 1968.

More information: 

KimforMeckCounty.com
Rebic Questionnaire
Facebook Page

Quote from our email interview:

As a Area Vice President for Communications Workers of America Local 3603 I have lobbied at the state, local and federal level for worker's rights and the rights of ALL people. I have attended two years of leadership school. I have experience in working with bugets, public policy and intergovernmental relations. I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Latin American Coalition and an associate member for the Young Democrats. I have been involved as a community activist for twenty years. I have attended St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church since 1968. I am committed to seeing Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and North Carolina obtain more jobs and have the best educated workforce utilizing all resources available.

Position on Amendment One:

I voted against Amendment One on Thursday April 19th because it a bill that discriminates against everyone and would make it harder to bring jobs to our area.

 

 

Trevor M. Fuller

Trevor Fuller is the senior partner in a law firm with City Councilman, Michael Barnes. They have practiced law together for 20 years. He earned his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Georgetown. He is married to Camille Davidson and is father to a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter.

​Fuller has served as an appointee to the Citizens’ Review Board from 2009 to the present.

More information:

TrevorFuller.com
Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Facebook Page

Quote from TrevorFuller.com:

I’m running for County Commission At Large for 3 reasons.

 

First, we need to focus on education, specifically on vocational and technical training because we need people to get the jobs that are already in the economy in the sciences, technology, and energy.  This is the path of the future. And our educational system should meet the needs of the new economy.

 

Second, we need to focus on real job creation, not simply corporate giveaways.  We need to link business incentives with jobs being created for citizens who are already here in this county.  A good job is the foundation of any successful economy.

​Position on Amendment One:

I am firmly against Amendment One, if for no other reason than that it is profoundly wrong to enshrine bigotry in our state constitution. In fact, I find this amendment repugnant to our constitution. In addition, the amendment is unnecessary, since state law already prohibits recognition of gay unions. But this amendment would go much further than banning gay marriage, and would affect many heterosexual people in a negative way. In short, the amendment is just bad law and bad policy, from beginning to end.

 

Robert Hillman

Rob has lived in Charlotte for 15 years and is currently President of RLH Consulting LLC, an investment advisory firm. He has 20 years experience as a finance executive. Rob grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and received his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Rob has volunteered in the field for Kay Hagan, Barack Obama, Anthony Foxx, John Autry, Patrick Cannon - among others.

More information:

VoteforHillman.com
Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Facebook Page

Quote from The Charlotte Observer:

All levels of government – city, county, state and federal – need to focus on policies that support sustainable job creation and stimulate the economy. This will help many of our neighbors to become more productive members of the community and assist those in our community who greatly seek self-sufficiency. As we grow the economy, we put more people back to work, we create more revenue to support the vital social services that far too many of our citizens desperately need and we effectively reduce the number of people who need those services. As county commissioner, I plan to advocate for policies that encourage entrepreneurship, support tax incentives to attract business, and promote Mecklenburg County as a great place to do business. One core component of these policies will promote infrastructure development (mass transportation) and vocational/technical skills training. These steps will invariably have a positive impact on our economy and stimulate local job growth.

​Position on Amendment One:
 

I am against Amendment One.  It writes discrimination into the constitution - a foundational document.  Discrimination is wrong and has no place in North Carolina.

 

 

Harry Taylor

Harry Taylor stormed on the political scene in 2006 after he attended a rally in Charlotte for President George Bush. He was recognized to speak and in front of the heavily Republican crowd he stood and said, 

In my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of my leadership in Washington. And, I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and grace to be ashamed of yourself.

​At the time, dissenting voices were silenced around the President, so it was a refreshing change and was celebrated by activists on the left. His story spread like wildfire on the internet. Harry took his political activism a step further when he challenged Rep. Sue Myrick in 2008, so has experience under fire on the campaign trail.

Harry works as a commercial real estate developer and in off hours spends time volunteering for Big Brothers, Habitat for Humanity, Outward Bound, the Sierra Club and the Charlotte Folk Society. 

 

More information:

HarryTaylorforCountyCommission.org
Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Rebic/SPPACE Questionnaire
Facebook Page

Quote from our email interview:

 Many years ago I was captured by this from Dr. Martin Luther King.  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  That thought has become something of a mantra for me, and I do stand up and speak out, witness the last half dozen years of my life.  As candidates, we talk lots about issues, but make no mistake, this is about leadership.  Whether to George Bush, Sue Myrick, a large utility, or powerful financial interest, speaking the truth – about things that matter – IS what I do.

​Position on Amendment One:
 

I will vote against Amendment One. Same sex marriage is presently prohibited in North Carolina. Passage of this poorly conceived and written amendment will – without question – cause the loss of jobs and cause companies that might otherwise come to North Carolina to go elsewhere. It will negatively impact other types of civil unions. It may very well harm victims of domestic violence, as has the same law in Ohio. This amendment is mean, divisive, and designed to identify a class of people who “we the people” are expected to exclude, marginalize, and hate.

 

Marc Gustafson

Marc has served the community volunteering for several organizations in leadership roles. He was appointed to Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Keep Charlotte Beautiful Committee and the Public Art Commission. He was also elected to the UNC Board of Visitors, served on the McColl Center for Visual Art Board of Directors and the board of Charlotte Reads at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

As an attorney, Marc has worked in both large and small law firms as well as an internet firm. He understands employment needs and challenges faced by large and small companies.


More information:

Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Rebic/SPPACE Questionnaire
Facebook Page

Quote from the Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

While there are a lot of dedicated and talented people running for Mecklenburg County commissioner at large, and I sincerely appreciate their willingness to serve in these difficult times, I believe that I can bring a unique perspective and skill set to the commission. Working at some of the country’s largest law firms, an internet company, and now a small firm of just nine lawyers, I understand the needs and practices of large and small businesses. I also understand the needs of non-profit organizations in our community, having served on the boards of The Spokes Group, Charlotte Reads and the McColl Center for Visual Art. In my law practice I have represented teachers, homeowners, large businesses, small business owners and individuals. I believe these experiences have taught me the importance of investing in our community, in balancing long-term goals with short-term needs, in building consensus and in resolving disputes. I have learned there is rarely a single right way to the difficult challenges we face, but I know what Mecklenburg County needs, and I believe what I offer is hard work, dedication, creativity and a deep understanding and commitment to this community.

​Position on Amendment One:

I am opposed to Amendment One because I believe it hurts families and, as a lawyer, I am opposed to writing any form of discrimination into our Constitution.

Endorsements:

MeckPAC

Adam Geremia

Adam is a fresh face to Mecklenburg County politics. He received a degree in history from UNCC and is currently working in the banking industry.

He has said as a commissioner he would prioritize finding working solutions to the county's budget problems.

More information:

Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire

​From the Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

People are elected to help the citizens of our county and if they cannot work together to make things better for our community they have no business representing our interests. We need people who are willing to listen and look for solutions. If elected I will not look at my fellow commissioners as Democrats or Republicans but as eight other individuals who have chosen to represent their county and hopefully we can all work together effectively and efficiently

Position on Amendment One:

I am against the amendment. This is a civil rights issue and should not be decided by voters. I don't know where we would be as a society if the majority was always left to vote on the rights of the minority. I would hope both groups can work towards a compromise that will protect the definition of marriage for people with deeply held religious beliefs at the same time extending the same benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.

Paul M. Brown, Sr.

A former officer in the U.S. Army, Brown came to Charlotte in 1998 and has since earned a degree in Criminal Justice and a masters in Public Administration. He is host of the Paul Brown Show and serves on the board of Mecklenburg Public Access Corporation. He is a newcomer to Mecklenburg politics.

More information:

ElectPaulMBrown.com
Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Rebic/SPPACE Questionnaire

From the Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

Even though I applaud all the candidates seeking to becoming a member of the board of county commissioners, I feel that my love for the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County is the biggest difference. As a prior officer in the United States Army, I have been a leader for individuals willing to sacrifice their lives for our country. With masters of public administration and business administration degrees, I have shown the dedication needed in completing my objective. As a member of the bBoard of directors of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Access Corporation, I have shown the ability of working as a team with my fellow board members, with the mission of best interest of the Producers that I was appointed to serve. “Fresh Voice, New Leadership” my slogan for electing Paul M. Brown Sr. as Mecklenburg County Commissioner At-Large 2012.

Position on Amendment One:
 

Has not responded to request for information.

Endorsements:

MeckPAC

 

Jyoti Friedland

Jyoti Friedland has a degree in Social Work, has been a business owner and executive chef. Jyoti was very outspoken in 2008 about her disappointment over Hillary losing the nomination. She split with the Democratic Party and announced she would cast a revenge vote against the DNC for Sarah Palin and John McCain. Her loyalty to the Democratic Party and Democratic ideals has come into question.

Typically, I wouldn't consider this a disqualification for office, but in 2010 Jyoti allegedly became aggressive toward another woman during a Democratic Party meeting. A police report was filed, but I'm not sure it went any further. I believe that people deserve opportunities to redeem themselves, but after recent issues within our party, I feel we should be especially careful to avoid electing candidates with known past indiscretions.

More information:

JyotiFriedland.com
C
harlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire

Quote from Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

Personal differences will always be there, but this should never be a hindrance in policy-making. Commissioners are elected to do their job for the betterment of their constituents, not to fight among themselves. Sometimes compromise is needed to get work done, but this does not include “selling out” the values or morals of what I believe in and why voters will elect me to be on the county commission.

Position on Amendment One:
 

She did not respond, however, her website encourages people to vote against the amendment.

Endorsements:
 

MeckPAC
 

Oronde McLean

Oronde has worked as an educator and business manager. He has also taken missionary trips to Micronesia and Brazil.

His political experience includes work with Young Democrats, Black Political Caucus and the West Blvd Community.

More information:

OrondeMcLeanforMeckCounty.com
Charlotte Observer Questionnaire
Charlotte Post Questionnaire
Facebook Page

From the Charlotte Observer Questionnaire:

As county commissioner, I believe programs that should receive top priority are simply the programs that we get our biggest yield on each dollar spent. Education, transportation and quality of life – these areas are important in getting business to relocate and stay in Mecklenburg County. I believe in responsible decision making on the behalf of county government. I would like to cut our programs and services that are no longer needed. I would like to reward programs that are needed, especially when they work towards reduction of cost and overhead. 

 

Tags: 

Comments

Charlotte Observer endorsed today

Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Marc Gustafson



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

2 out of 3

I agree with them on 2 of the 3

Honestly....very decent choices

..but there may be scuttlebutt of which I'm not aware.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Amendment One

The majority are against Amendment One. That's a good thing. The two who didn't respond to the question are for it as far as I am concerned. Why would you vote for someone who won't answer the question?

Lovex7

So many Democrats

I am amazed that so many Democrats are running for the At-Large County Commissioners slots. It is good that most of these candidates are against Amendment One but where do they stand on other issues? Those components were left out.

Vote for Harry Taylor

I urge all progressives who are in Mecklenburg County to vote for Harry Taylor for an at-large position on the county commission. I write for, and was longtime editor of Creative Loafing newspaper, an alt weekly in Charlotte. I know several of the Dem candidates, and I can tell you that no one on the above list will "out-liberal" Harry Taylor anytime soon. Harry is informed and speaks with authority on the issues currently before the Meck. Cty. commission. He is practical while retaining his idealism, maybe the most useful gift for a politician. Moreover, he has a deep talent for bringing together people with opposing viewpoints, which is something the current dysfunctional version of the county commission desperately needs. Anyone in Charlotte reading this may like to know there's a musical fundraiser/rally for Harry Taylor Saturday, 6-9pm, at the Evening Muse in NoDa.

Sorry I wasn't able to follow up on comments

I took the youngest and a friend for a college tour at USC. I'm exhausted.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.