There are several issues to consider throughout the election year in NC, especially in New Hanover County: House Bill 2 and LGBT rights, economic growth, community relations, and the list goes on. In the weeks leading up to Nov. 8, election day, encore will publish Q&As with candidates running for local and state offices. Candidates running to represent NHC’s Board of Commission were all sent the same questions. This week meet candidate Julia Boseman.
encore (e): Why do you want to serve in public office?
Julia Boseman (JB): New Hanover County represents every part of me; past, present and future. It’s where I was born and raised, and where we’ve decided to raise our children. When I was in the State Senate, teacher pay was at the national average, there was a teacher’s assistant in every classroom K-3 and we had a vibrant film industry. Now that has all slipped away. I want to serve in public office to help move our county forward, instead of backwards like our state.
e: What is your leadership philosophy? How does it apply to government service?
JB: My philosophy is that we are better together than we are working against each other. We live here and stay here because of our beaches and our climate. Our health and vibrancy is important, so we either grow or fall behind. I believe we need to work to bring multi-use development, advanced manufacturing jobs, small businesses and businesses that will not destroy our natural resources.
e: If elected, what priority issues will you address in the next two years? Five years?
JB: In the next two years we will be faced with updating the Special Use Permitting Plan to make New Hanover County more attractive to businesses, while protecting our natural resources. We will also need to work to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place to attract new businesses and that we fund a vocational high school so that when our students graduate they are either career ready or college bound.
Over the next five years, I believe growth and how we work together to plan for growth will be the most important issue we will face. The county needs to work with the City Council and the Board of Education to make sure we have a plan for growth in making sure that adequate infrastructure and educational resources are in place before new development is approved.
e: In your opinion, how strong are community relations with the board? Explain how you would maintain or improve them.
JB: There is always room for improvement when it comes to the board’s relationship to the community. The commissioners need to have more neighborhood forums to allow citizens to have direct access to them and to change the time at the commissioner meetings for public comment to a time that would allow people to attend that work a regular 9-5 job.
e: What actions or incentives should the board pursue to encourage economic growth, while protecting the environment, property values and tourism industry?
JB: I would promote economic growth by ensuring the infrastructure is installed in the 421 corridor, revamp the SUP process to make it easier for businesses to come to New Hanover County, build a vocational high school so that our students are trained for the jobs we are attracting, and create a department in county government as recommended by the Garner Report that would work to bring good-paying jobs to New Hanover County. I would also look at ways that we will need to replace the federal dollars we are losing for coastal storm damage reduction. Every dollar that is spent on beach re-nourishment generates $41 in expenditures, according to the Beach Inlet Management Plan and the Western Carolina Beach Nourishment Viewer.
e: How should the Special Use Permit continue to change or come into play in the aforementioned growth?
JB: The SUP is extremely important as it needs to be updated to give businesses a clear path to New Hanover County, while at the same time protecting our natural resources from unregulated development. I oppose off-shore drilling and any other businesses that would damage our tourism industry or cause irreparable harm to our natural resources.
e: Wilmington is ranked as the number one city nationally for opioid abuse. What can the county do to combat this issue?
JB: The county should continue to fund Drug Court, which help people with the disease of addiction get treatment instead of just putting them in jail. We need to deal with the cause and not just the symptoms. We need to make sure that the Department of Social Services has the resources they need and that we help fund non-profits that help people in addiction. We also need to ensure that the sheriff’s department has the resources they need to keep our families safe.
e: Where do you stand on HB2 and how do you think it’s impacted NHC?
JB: HB2 is just plain wrong. It’s taken millions of dollars away from North Carolina and will continue to drive businesses away from not just New Hanover County, but North Carolina as a whole.
e: During a divisive time in politics, how might you help find middle ground on the board?
JB: For me, I listen to all sides of an issue and consider the different viewpoints. I think we need elected leaders who will listen. I learn more from those who have a different opinion than myself and usually have a better understanding of the issue. If we don’t listen to others, then how can we improve New Hanover County.