NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Six democratic candidates were vying for three open seats on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for the next term.
Final numbers show Kyle Horton, Leslie Cohen and Jonathan Barfield came out on top.
Jonathan Barfield, Jr. is the only incumbent for this race. He has been on the board of commissioners since 2008. Barfield has a real estate background and he also serves as a church pastor. He grew up in Wilmington and is a New Hanover High grad. Barfield has extensive involvement in the community through various organizations and programs. Some of his top issues include afforable housing and not selling NHRMC.
Leslie Cohen is an artist and a small business owner. She moved to Wilmington in 2013. Cohen ran for state house in 2018, but has never served in office. She is strongly against the sale of NHRMC and values the importance of transparency while in office. Cohen also wants to expand public transportation in the county.
“I’m really excited about talking to voters about what needs to be done in new Hanover County. I really think the commission should be a non partisan board but it’s not," Cohen said. "But we really need to all be able to sit down and talk about what’s going on and find solutions to our problems. So I’m just really interested in hearing what everybody in the county has to say and I want to serve all the people in new Hanover county.”
Dr. Kyle Horton is an internal medicine physician and has a background treating veterans. Dr. Horton graduated from UNCW. Horton has won the primaries before, but has never run for a seat on the board of commissioners. With her medical experience, she feels very strongly about retaining local control of NHRMC. Dr. Horton also wants to do more to ensure the Cape Fear has clean water.
“I’m really excited. With our race, we really wanted to bring into focus, how many of the core issues are really relevant to our public health," Horton said. "As a physician, I really have a unique set of experiences and expertise to guide us through the crisis and the biggest issues that are facing new Hanover county from our hospital to our public transportation system to the water and what’s going on with our public schools.”
Don Betz, Steve Miller, and Travis Robinson failed to garner enough votes to make it to the November election.
Don Betz has been in the Wilmington community for decades. He was the mayor of Wilmington for ten years. He also severed on the WAVE Transit board for years and recently retired as Executive Director of the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority. Betz feels strongly about traffic issues in the area and he would like to see another bridge of the Cape Fear river. He believes commissioners should be more transparent and include the community more in decisions that impact residents at large.
Steve Miller is also running for a seat on the NHC Board of Commissioners. He has never run for public office, but says he has experienced the same concerns many other citizens have. Miller feels strongly about not selling the hospital, along with the other candidates, but he also is worried about over-development.
Travis Robinson has a long history with New Hanover County. He served as the sheriff’s office for over three decades and has lived in Wilmington for over 40 years. Robinson is against the sale of the hospital. He also wants to make sure the quality of public safety is top notch; funding and equipment for officers to maintain the quality of their service.