Ocracoke Observer staff report

The Nov. 6 mid-term election will be here soon, but early voting begins this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday (Oct. 27 and 28) in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department.

Early voting times for mainland Hyde will be from now to Nov. 5 in the Hyde County Public Safety building. Hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As you will see in the sample ballots here, several seats have candidates who are unopposed. This includes representation in the North Carolina General Assembly.

In the newly redrawn political boundary lines for the N.C. House, Ocracoke finds itself in House District 79 where Keith Kidwell (R-Chocowinity), the incumbent, is unopposed.

State Senate District 1 also has just one candidate, Norman W. Sanderson (R-Pamlico). He beat our former senator, Bob Steinburg in the Republican primary.

So, these two will be our state representatives as no Democrats are running for these important seats.

The Hyde County board of Commissioners Currituck Landing seat does not have a name on the ballot since no one met the deadline to be listed. M. Shannon Swindell is the current commissioner. He met the requirements to be a write-in candidate and is the only one who did. So, just one write in with his name on the ballot will ensure that he will win this election.

The Observer asked some of the local candidates in contested elections to present their views and we are publishing the answers.

We also asked Sen. Sanderson and Rep. Kidwell to introduce themselves to their new constituents, but they have not responded. Here are links to their Ballotpedia profiles:

Keith Kidwell

Norman Sanderson

The North Carolina Board of Elections sent a printed Judicial Voter Guide for this election to Ocracoke post office box holders. It shows the various candidates for N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. courts of appeals candidates. If you no longer have that booklet, it is in the “upcoming election” section of the North Carolina State Board of Elections website. You can view it in PDF form here.

Candidates’ responses/statements below are presented in alphabetical order.

Hyde County commissioner candidates

What is the biggest issue facing Hyde County?

Eyleen Gibbs Brooks Democrat candidate for Hyde County commissioner, Swan Quarter:
I was born and raised in Hyde County and have always called it home. My husband is Gregory Brooks, and my daughter is Summer Cahoon.  This is my family’s home.  Anyone that knows me will tell you I am outspoken. I say what is on my mind, and I am a fighter for what I believe is right.  I am not a politician, and you won’t see me out “politicking,” as my grandma would say.  

 Everyone keeps asking me, “Why are you running for County Commissioner?” 

Eyleen and Gregory Brooks

Well, the best answer is this.  Hyde County is my home and the home of all the people I love.   I look at my home county and see things not heading in a direction that will make me proud to tell people that Hyde County is my home and I believe most of the citizens of Hyde County feel the same way. 

I want the people of Hyde County to feel that the Hyde County Board of Commissioners are representing them and that they can come to the board with their needs and voice those needs and views on the direction their county is going, and they will be listened to.

I am not delusional. I know as one person I cannot change everything going on in Hyde County, but I can make the Hyde County Board of Commissioners more accessible to the citizens of Hyde County. I can make the citizens aware of things going on in Hyde County, and I can make Hyde County’s citizens voices heard.

 For those that don’t know me, I speak my mind and I stand up for what I think is right and I will tell you right now that listening. The citizens of Hyde County are, in effect, the employers of the Hyde County Board of Commissioners and If elected to represent the citizens of Hyde County on the Board of Commissioners I will listen to what the citizens of Hyde County want for their home county and I will fight with all I have to make their voices heard and do whatever I have to do to make Hyde County a place we can all be proud to call our home.  

Jan Cabe Moore, Republican candidate for Hyde County commissioner, Swan Quarter:
Fiscal responsibility and overall management. We cannot continue to operate under the “rob Peter to pay Paul” mindset.

Jan Cabe Moore

Often, those in control have no real working concept of how programs or funding that comes with strings attached operate.  

We have just witnessed how with the recent school funding situation that not understanding and/or accepting that when the state is involved certain things are “just how it has to be” that produces, in the long run, a financial nightmare for all concerned.

I have worked in state and county government for 37 years plus five with a federal jobs program.  I understand government programs, formulas and budgets which will assist me in future decision making.

This county will not prosper if we don’t figure out a way to have a better control of our finances; keep our young people here and gainfully employed; provide affordable housing; make sure our waterways are kept open and maintained regularly; give our citizens the services they deserve for the taxes they pay; and continue exploration of affordable wireless broadband.

Three candidates are running for Hyde County Board of Education

What are the biggest issues facing Hyde County Schools?

Aleta Cox, incumbent, Republican:
Education is my passion. I came to Hyde County in 1975 as a reading teacher. I have taught grades two through five, written grants and was a director of programs. After 38 years with the Hyde County School System, I decided it was time to retire.

Aleta Cox

I had many people encourage me to run for the Board of Education after I retired, with the statement, “We need someone on the board that has been in the classroom.” After much thought I decided to run. I have been on the board for the past eight years. It has truly been a learning experience and very rewarding working for our teachers and students. They are the main and most important reason that I am running again.

Together the board works tirelessly to make sure our teachers have what they need to teach our students. It is a privilege being a part of helping to provide services for our students so they will have a well-rounded education and be able to make decisions about their futures.

I do feel I still have more to contribute as a member of the Hyde County Board of Education. I will always strive to do what is best for the students of Hyde County.  I appreciate all the support I have received over the years from the classroom to now.

Lindsey Mooney, incumbent, Democrat:
Several issues are facing Hyde County Schools.

Lindsey Mooney

1. is the completion of Ocracoke School in a timely manner and making sure there is funding to complete the project. 

2. Is the construction of a new school bus garage for our district.

3. Filling teaching positions with qualified teachers to further our children’s education. 

4. Support our new superintendent as she grows our schools and enhance community involvement. 

I plan to continue to listen to parents, staff and students to bring their concerns before the BOE and make the best decisions in the interest of our children’s future. 

Robert Wayne, unaffiliated:
A current issue is the drop in enrollment. The reduction in the student body both enhances issues with loss of funding (dollars per student) but makes extracurricular activities such as sports more difficult for our students. 

Robert Wayne

I would like to meet with those who have left the school system, find out why, and build on those issues.  Additionally, I would share with them some positive changes that have occurred this school year.

An issue that we’ve always faced is funding two separate schools based on a student body number that supports only one.  I would like to work with our local and state leaders to help bring more awareness to this matter.  

A constant issue that most school systems face today is teacher recruitment and retention.  I feel the best source of staffing for our future is the students in our classrooms today, therefore I would like to suggest a student-teacher mentoring program for the future.  

There is no doubt sign-on bonuses and better pay will help.  Our schools are the heart of the communities we live in and I’m a proud parent of two students that will work just as hard for yours as my own.

Hyde County Sheriff

Guire Cahoon, Democrat, incumbent:
I have been serving the citizens of Hyde County in the capacity as a law enforcement officer for 15 years.

I started my career with the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office as deputy sheriff in 2007, then served as chief deputy until I was elected as sheriff in 2014.

Guire Cahoon

The qualities of being a good sheriff and public servant were instilled in me through my childhood and early adult years.

Growing up, the sheriff’s office was a place I was very familiar with since my grandfather, the late Charlie Cahoon, was the elected sheriff. For me, becoming sheriff has not only been a dream but a legacy. In my opinion it’s the greatest job in the world. I have always approached this position as a calling, and I do this because I truly want to help people. That is the greatest reward for me.

I take my oath of office very seriously, if re-elected, I will continue with the mission to protect and serve the residents of Hyde County by providing a strong, impartial law enforcement presence that incorporates integrity, professionalism, and compassion into the daily activities of the sheriff’s office.

I will continue with the strategies and training necessary to combat crime. This revolves around taking all the steps needed to improve a close-knit, working relationship with my fellow citizens, as I feel my office has done over the last eight years.

My deputies and I strive to have daily interaction with the community, to bond, to build those close relationships and get a better understanding of the needs and problems my office should be focused on.

It is my desire to continue to serve as sheriff of Hyde County. I have a heart to serve, and I take being a public servant very seriously because the people of Hyde County are whom I work for in my capacity as sheriff.

I remain committed, available, and supportive of all who reside in Hyde County. I am truly thankful for your confidence in me and my office over the last eight years and ask for your continued support in the upcoming election on Nov. 8.

Larry D. Weston, unaffiliated:
My reason for running for Sheriff of Hyde County is because I believe we need a new law enforcement leader that’s going to enforce the law for everyone and not just for a few.

I retired April 7, 2021, from the North Carolina Department of Transportation with 25 years of service.

Larry Weston

I also held the positions of maintenance mechanic manager, spray painter, member of the DOT Hazmat Spill Response Team, member of the Shipyard Rescue Response Team, leader of Hazardous Waste Material Pick-up and Disposable. I’m a former supervisor of the inmates from Tyrell County Work Force. 

I’ve been a volunteer fire fighter on the Engelhard Fire & Rescue and first responder with the rank of captain for approximately 18 years with five of those years and as a captain presently. Having served this county (my home sweet home) for 10 years as a deputy sheriff I not only have the experience in law enforcement, but I believe that I have something to contribute towards helping to build a stronger, more controlled, more diverse, and qualified police force for Hyde County. 

I promise that if I’m elected as your sheriff, I will diligently build a police force with all deputies, including myself, and get better responsible training that will work on the drug problem that we have in Hyde County.

I will be a leader that will go out in the community and build a relationship with the citizens to find out their needs. I believe it’s important to have trust within the citizens you serve and not just when it’s election time or when something is wrong. 

However, it’s my desire to see law enforcement in Hyde County become admired throughout the state of North Carolina for its diligence and devotion to honesty, fair pay, and reliability in the performance of our sworn duty and believe that we can do it together. Thank you, in advance for your vote. 

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