Meet Matt Rhodes, a candidate in the republican primary for a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

Matt Rhodes, republican candidate for New Hanover County Commissioner

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A total of 15 candidates are seeking their party’s nomination in the primary elections for three seats on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Nine candidates are running in the republican primary, and six are running in the democratic primary. The top-3 finishers in each primary will advance to the 2020 General Election in November.

The republican candidates (in alphabetical order) are Deb Hays, Joe Irrera, Harry Knight, John Lyon, Frank Meares, Ricky Meeks, Matt Rhodes, Bill Rivenbark and Skip Watkins.

The democratic candidates (in alphabetical order) are Jonathan Barfield, Jr, Don Betz, Leslie Cohen, Kyle Horton, Steve Miller and Travis Robinson.

All of the candidates agreed to be interviewed at WECT-TV, answering the same questions on a range of issues that includes public transportation, affordable housing, opioid addiction, economic growth, environment and the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Rhodes, 49, works in the health and wellness industry and in personal consulting for clients. He believes the potential sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the biggest issue facing the county.

“After looking at a lot of the issues in regards to sales of other hospitals that are similar to New Hanover Regional, it was very apparent to me that it would be a very bad idea,” Rhodes said. “You have a situation where prices would go up, quality of care goes down, and there’s the potential loss of jobs. They employ 7,500 people. Those are local jobs, and money that goes into the local community, and it would affect the community negatively if it were sold. If I was elected as a county commissioner, and the vote came before me, I would not sell the hospital.”

If you would like to hear Matt Rhodes’ response to questions on specific issues, you can go to the corresponding time in the interview listed below:

00:30 Candidate’s biography

01:00 Why he decided to run for office in 2020

02:55 Why he is best candidate in primary

03:50 What he considers the most important issue in New Hanover County

05:40 What is his vision for the next generation of WAVE Transit or public transportation?

08:15 What steps will he take to foster a better working relationship with city council?

09:40 Where does he stand on the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center?

11:10 Is there a circumstance where he could support a possible sale of NHRMC?

12:25 What should be done with county-owned area included in Project Grace?

14:40 What will his priorities be when deciding whether to support rezoning requests?

18:35 What role should the county play in addressing the affordable housing issue, and how?

21:00 What does the county need to do to make area more resistant to tropical systems?

23:40 Where should money from opioid lawsuit settlements go to help those battling addiction and needing treatment?

26:45 What types of jobs should be recruited to NHC and best way to do it?

29:05 Are the county and CFPUA doing enough to provide clean water and/or hold polluters accountable?

31:35 Does he think the county is doing enough to protect the tree canopy & greenspace?

32:55 Is there an instance where he could support a property tax increase?

34:40 What other issue of vital importance was not addressed in interview?

Early voting for the March primary elections begins on February 13, 2020. There are five locations in New Hanover County set up as one-stop early voting locations. To find the locations, along with the dates and hours the sites will be open, click here. Election day is March 3, 2020.

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