From The Indy Week: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/2012-general-election-endorsements/Content?oid=3171263&storyPage=3
Board of Commissioners (vote for both seats)
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.
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.
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.”