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

Skip Watkins, 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.

Watkins, 61, is a former county commissioner who works as an investment adviser, and he also teaches economics at Mt. Olive University. While Watkins concedes the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the current hot-button issue, he looks at managing growth and development as a more recurring challenge for the county. Watkins sees the stormwater program that he helped initiate as a commissioner as one big part of the solution.

“Some people are concerned about development without proper infrastructure,” Watkins said. “I knew we needed to get that stormwater plan going. That’s just one of the things that will help properly smart development for the future.”

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

00:35 Candidate’s biography

02:00 Why he decided to run for office in 2020

03:00 Why he is best candidate in primary

03:45 What he considers the most important issue in New Hanover County

06:05 What is his vision for the next generation of WAVE Transit or public transportation?

08:35 What steps will he take to foster a better working relationship with city council?

10:40 Where does he stand on the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center?

16:15 Is there a circumstance where he could support a possible sale of NHRMC?

16:50 What should be done with county-owned area included in Project Grace?

19:00 What will his priorities be when deciding whether to support rezoning requests?

22:20 What role should the county play in addressing the affordable housing issue, and how?

24:35 What does the county need to do to make area more resistant to tropical systems?

26:35 Where should money from opioid lawsuit settlements go to help those battling addiction and needing treatment?

31:35 What types of jobs should be recruited to NHC and best way to do it?

32:55 Are the county and CFPUA doing enough to provide clean water and/or hold polluters accountable?

33:50 Does he think the county is doing enough to protect the tree canopy & greenspace?

35:55 Is there an instance where he could support a property tax increase?

37:05 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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