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Thank You!


As the fall settles upon us, the holidays approach, and we have a little distance from the election, I wanted to take a moment to again say thank you all so much for your support and confidence in me.  It was due to your efforts our campaign was successful.  I look forward to working with all of you to move Wake County forward and put solutions first.

I would also like to take a brief moment and thank Erv Portman for his service to our County.  He set an outstanding example of what it takes to be a thoughtful, responsible Commissioner, and I will no doubt call upon his wisdom when I begin serving on the Commission.

The election is over, but I’m keenly aware the real work now begins.  Thanks again for your continued thoughts and prayers of support, and please do not hesitate to bring any questions or concerns to my attention.



The Independent Endorses Caroline

From The Indy Week: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/2012-general-election-endorsements/Content?oid=3171263&storyPage=3

Wake County

Board of Commissioners (vote for both seats)

District 4

Although there’s no chance of the Republican majority changing hands on the seven-member Wake County Board of Commissioners, these races are vital. The commissioners control the purse strings for Wake County schools, and they hold the key to Wake County’s transit future.

We strongly endorse political newcomer Caroline Sullivan in this district because of her stances on transit funding and education. Sullivan regularly mentions in her stump speech that she’d be the only commissioner with children in the school system. She says that experience has led her to understand that overcrowding is a huge issue and a construction bond for schools can’t wait.

Sullivan is running against Republican Dale Cooke, who is opposed to a half-cent sales tax referendum that would pay for commuter rail and expanded public transportation in the Triangle. Durham County has already passed such measures—Orange County voters cast ballots on a similar referendum in this election—and we believe it’s time for Wake County to wake up and do the same thing. Sullivan shares that belief.

Cooke thinks the best way to deal with Wake County’s development, whether schools or transportation, is to increase the tax base and thereby the revenue. We’re not opposed to that, but we think anyone who won’t consider raising taxes for the public good is irresponsible.

Cooke’s views would fit in extraordinarily well with those of the GOP commissioners already on the board. But we don’t think a county commission that wouldn’t allow its citizens to vote on a transportation tax needs any extra support.

News and Observer Endorses Caroline for Wake

CAROLINE SULLIVAN Another round of musical chairs has created an open seat here. Democrat Erv Portman, who’d been serving on the Cary Town Council, was appointed last year to fill the vacancy created by Stan Norwalk’s resignation for health reasons. But Portman wants to move up to fill an open seat in the state Senate. The contest to succeed him has drawn two well-qualified candidates who offer voters a clear choice.

The Democrat is Caroline Sullivan of Raleigh, who brings the perspective of a parent actively involved with the public schools that her two children attend. That means she is especially sensitive to the Wake school district’s needs for additional classrooms to keep pace with growth.

Since it is the commissioners who have the initial say on bond issues to finance school construction – they set the amount of money to be borrowed and schedule referendums – Sullivan shapes up as a strong advocate for moving ahead with school construction sooner rather than later.

Her Republican opponent is Dale Cooke of Holly Springs, a technology entrepreneur and executive who has been active in south Wake civic and political circles. Cooke praises the county’s “strong family atmosphere, excellent education system and conservative values.” He has a business person’s perspective on governing, with an emphasis on cost control and less regulation.

Regarding a bond issue for schools, Cooke wonders if construction expenses might instead be met with added tax revenue from economic growth. That seems to be more along the lines of wishful thinking than sound planning for enrollment increases that are virtually certain to occur.

Cooke looks as if he’d be a solid member of the conservative majority on the commissioners board led by the current chairman, Paul Coble. His experience in the business world could prove valuable. But Sullivan has a better grasp of why the commissioners should take the larger view when it comes to the county’s benefits from public investment. She has our editorial endorsement.


Wake County Mayors Endorse Sullivan

Raleigh – Several of Wake County’s Mayors have endorsed County Commission candidate Caroline Sullivan. They include Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones, Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams, Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe, Knightdale Mayor Russell Killen, Wendell Mayor Tim Hinnant, and Zebulon Mayor Bob Matheny.
Caroline Sullivan said, “I am honored to have the endorsements of these outstanding local officials who are on the front lines of our economy where the rubber meets the road. They understand Wake County is bigger than the sum of its parts, and we are better when we work together.”
“These Mayors are from across the political spectrum, and their endorsement is recognition that local government requires moving beyond partisan politics and putting solutions first, “Sullivan said.
Wendell Mayor Tim Hinnant said, “Caroline listens and understands the issues facing our communities.”
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said “We need leadership that is going to focus on our economy, not on an extreme agenda that has nothing to do with creating jobs. Caroline will be a breath of fresh air to keep us moving forward.”

Why County Commission Matters

Local government is the closest to the people, and has the most impact on our daily lives. From schools to transportation infrastructure; from open space and parks to libraries; from public safety to health care and human services, the Wake County Commission is a critical part of funding and providing services that the people of Wake County utilize every day.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners is a 7 seat board. Members must live in their districts but they all run county-wide. There are currently 611,000 registered voters in Wake County, (the population of the county is projected to be 958,015 by this July). We are bigger than 5 states. However, since many voters are focused on National and State elections, it is even a greater challenge to communicate with the voters about how critical the County Commission is to issues important to them.

The Board of Commissioners is responsible for all county spending and by far the largest area is in education. Last year, of the $634,709,259 in revenues through property tax and a portion of the sales tax, $313, 503, 224 was spent on public schools. The state of North Carolina pays for 60% of teacher’s salaries and a portion of the administrators for Wake public schools. The county is responsible for the balance of their salaries. Counties are responsible for the construction and maintenance of school buildings and supplies. They must issue bonds for school construction and renovation. The same formula is true for one of our County’s primary economic engines, Wake Tech Community College.

The county must issue bonds to pay for school construction, Wake Tech construction, library construction and open space purchases. Voter approved general obligation bonds pay for these investments in our community. The county is also integral to transportation planning, and is currently considering a referendum on expanding transportation options, (expanded bus services, and planning for regional rail). Bonds and the transportation referendum cannot be on the ballot unless the Board of Commissioners approves them.
The county is also responsible for human services, (medical examiner, child welfare, public health, health clinics, mental health, and services for the disabled). Many other things that we take for granted are also run by the county: open space and county parks, the county board of elections, food/restaurant inspections, public libraries and animal shelters. The sheriff’s office, county jails and courthouses are in their budget, as are all EMS services and some fire departments.

Most of the solutions to the challenges we face do not fit in neat partisan ideological boxes. Because the County is involved in so many issues we interact with every day with so little attention, individuals like you who are willing to contribute your time and resources’ can have a disproportionally greater impact. Please take the time to get involved in this effort. Together, we can put solutions first and build upon Wake County’s success as the best place to live and work in America.