Thursday, March 4, 2010

releases from Joe Phelps and Keith Cook

Final two presses releases for the filing season. I'm sure we'll get more statements, though, as the election cycle heats up!

Here's one from former Hillsborough Mayor Joe Phelps, who is running for the Board of County Commissioners:
Today I filed to run for The Orange County Board of County Commissioners, at large seat. After the constant urging from many voters over many years, I believe now is the time to offer my service to the residents of Orange County as a candidate for County Commissioner.  It would be my honor and a true privilege to serve the citizens of Orange County as their commissioner.

I was born in 1950 to Margaret Walker Phelps and the late Marvin Phelps , both native to Orange County. My Father was a farmer and mother taught in the Orange County school system for over 25 years. I have 2 sisters Elaine Marinucci and Rachel Hawkins. Rachel still lives in the Hillsborough area.  I feel very fortunate to have grown up on the family farm,  located on Hwy 57, north of Hillsborough.  In 1968, I graduated from Orange  High School.  After attending Campbell College and the Technical Institute of Alamance earning a degree in business, I came back to my love of the family farm which I managed for over 15 years. I also owned and operated a concrete delivery company serving Orange County.  After obtaining my real estate license, I worked for several local companies before starting Phelps Realty which I own and operate at the present time.

I have been active in public service on volunteer boards both at the county level and for the Town of Hillsborough. I was elected and served as the Mayor of Hillsborough for two terms from 2001 to 2005.

As a successful business owner, I understand what it takes to succeed even during the current economic downturn. Like a private business, strong county government requires strong business practices. I would bring a fresh face with more than 30 years of business experience to the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

I am concerned about the ever increasing property tax burden on Orange County citizens. Almost every year for the past 20 years the county commissioners have increased our property taxes.  Rather than continuing to increase taxes on Orange County homeowners, our commissioners need to focus on creating a strong commercial tax base.  We need to focus on creating a detailed plan for economic development.  The Orange County Economic Development Department is the vehicle through which this could be accomplished. In order to make this important goal a reality, I pledge to work closely with and direct the Economic Development Department to aggressively pursue environmentally friendly, sound economic development opportunities. 

The Orange County School System and its excellent teachers deserve a great deal of credit for my success in life.  I appreciate the high level of funding that our county passes along to our school systems.  Despite this high level of county funding, our school systems face ever shrinking budgets.  With more resources from sound economic development, maintaining and improving our school systems would be a much easier task.

I believe my daily interaction with county residents will help me bring to the Board the concerns and problems facing our citizens.  I look forward to the chance of helping Orange County become an even better place to live and raise a family.
Here's former Board of Education member and NOETF supporter Keith Cook's statement:
After receiving many calls from friends and supporters to run again for the Orange County Board of Education and spending time deliberating and praying about the future and how this would impact my life, I decided to move forward with my candidacy and file for one of the four school board positions.

For 10 years, beginning in 1994, I was a dedicated school board member who worked hard to improve the future of our children in the Orange County school district.

As most people know, I lost my re-election bid in 2004 as an incumbent member of the Orange County Board of Education because of the graduation speech I used at Cedar Ridge High School. That fateful night is one that will never be forgotten by me or my supporters.

If I could turn back the hands of time to reverse my actions that night I would----It was never my intent to hurt the first-ever graduates of Cedar Ridge High School, their families, the school district or our community.

What I did cause this great school community a lot of embarrassment and for that I am truly sorry. I'm not perfect, but who is? I have indeed grown from that experience.

I am passionate about the Orange County Schools and I love this community and what it stands for with all my heart. For those reasons, I continue everyday to demonstrate my commitment through my words, my deeds and my service.

Over the years, I've been a strong advocate for children and I am extremely passionate about ALL children getting a sound, quality education and the skills they need to be successful adults.

As a potential school board member I want to see continued focus on the district's efforts  to reduce the dropout and suspension rates. Furthermore, I believe we need to have more meaningful  deliberate ways to raise academic performance for ALL children, and close the  achievement gap among our minority students. Hiring highly qualified teachers and support staff from diverse backgrounds and giving our current professionals  the administrative backing they need to do their jobs well is also a priority.

Helping the district achieve fiscal accountability in these tough economic times is a challenge. I will work diligently to help our schools find the needed funds to continue moving forward.

As a candidate for the Orange County Board of Education, I promise to be dedicated and committed to educational excellence through my experience, my leadership and my service to all and not a few, and through collaboration with anyone who wants to improve the future of our students.

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