Hyde County Commissioner candidates in the 2016 forum at the Community Center, from left Thomas Midgette and Earl Pugh Jr. Photo: P. Vanekvich

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The Ocracoke Observer asked the opposed candidates running for county commissioner and candidates for the General Assembly districts that include Ocracoke for their views on several issues.

Three of the five Hyde County commissioner seats are up for general election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

All registered voters in Hyde County can vote for all commissioner candidates since they represent the county at large.

The following Hyde County commissioner candidates are unopposed in their respective townships:
Randal Mathews (D) for Ocracoke, Goldie Topping (D) for Swan Quarter and Benjamin Simmons III (R) for Fairfield.

For the the Lake Landing District, incumbent Earl Pugh Jr. (R) will square off against Thomas Midgette (D). In the March 3 Democratic primary, Midgette defeated Marsha Gibbs 357 to 326 and Barbara Gibbs finished third with 83 votes. 

This will be a rematch from the 2016 election which Pugh won with 1,219 votes to Midgette’s 841.

The following are comments by Earl Pugh Jr. and Thomas Midgette, both running to represent the Lake Landing District:

Earl Pugh Jr.

Earl Pugh Jr. (R-incumbent) I am thankful for the opportunity to represent Hyde County as a commissioner for the past eight years. I am seeking re-election because of my love for this great county. I am a lifelong resident of the mainland and a frequent visitor of Ocracoke. I understand the issues and concerns of all areas of the county. I am always available for questions or comments. The decisions I make will always be for the best interest of the county and will be based on facts. I am thankful for the support over the past eight years and ask for your continued support on Nov. 3.

Thomas Midgette (D-challenger)

Thomas Midgette

I am a retired educator with more than 30 years in education. I am running because I believe we need to have governance that is representative of our community.

I want to be a voice for my community, but more importantly I want to be the ears of my community. As a commissioner I will push for a more transparent government. We have lost the trust of our commissioners because we see them as a secret group that rarely, if ever, communicates directly with the citizens.

With a day’s drive to doctors and medical facilities (especially Ocracoke) we need to find alternatives, such as telemedicine, which means we need to make sure that all our families have access to the necessary technology to make this happen.

The children also need this technology as we have moved to virtual teaching and learning and don’t know when this might change. 

We need look for job opportunities for our citizens. I want to work with the county planner/manager to create both a short- term and a long- term growth plan for the county. We must explore and take advantage of resources to promote tourism on the island and the mainland.

I want to work with neighboring counties and form regional partnerships to attract businesses to the region.

I know what it means to struggle with college debt. I know what it’s like to struggle to pay rent. I know what it’s like to work for minimum wage. I know what it’s like to not have enough savings to last three months. In other words, I am one of you (99%) and not one of them (1%). A vote for me is a vote for you.

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