Elections » Candidate Questionnaires

Hugh Harrington

Candidate for Pittsboro Town Board

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HughHarrington.jpg

Name as it appears on the ballot: Hugh Harrington
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth:
Home address: 191 Bellemont Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site:
Occupation & employer:
Home phone: 919-533-0154
Work phone:
Cell phone:
E-mail: hharrington@nc.rr.com



1. What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.

This is my first run for any public office. I will bring unique and valuable skills to the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners. Pittsboro’s immediate needs include solving engineering problems and financing the solutions. Solving those problems – improving water quality and increasing sewer capacity – will require a technical eye, asking the right questions, questioning assumptions, and critical evaluation of many options. These are proven skills I have learned over many years working as a consultant and technical facilitator in manufacturing and engineering. More importantly, I am a proven consensus builder. I find common ground and identify a common vision as a starting point, target the achievable, and keep focus on a final objectives thereby minimizing the influence of personality and preconceived opinions. These aptitudes and skills will be of great benefit to Pittsboro as we work together to build opportunity for the future.

2. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

Independent without political affiliation.

3. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

Recently in various public forums, several in Pittsboro have stated “we don’t need those kinds of jobs”, referring to lower skilled jobs that might have come with retail and other options being considered. As someone who has needed a variety of “those types of jobs” along the way, I strongly disagree. I will consider most opportunities to create more local jobs as potentially positive. This view is reasonable and realist, and fundamentally hopeful. If I am elected I hope to create opportunity across the spectrum of skills levels, including for lower skilled workers who are underserved in the area. Those jobs can be essential stepping stones to greater opportunity. This I know personally.

4. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

I envision Pittsboro will be a place where more can earn a good wage locally; a place where entrepreneurs and bright ideas flourish. I envision a community where many start their first business and where start-ups locate to tap into our diverse local talent. Pittsboro must become a place where locals can find local work. For many, not commuting elsewhere will mean an extra 5-10 or more hours per week at home in Pittsboro. This means more time with family; more time for community work; more time for whatever people value. This will be meaningful improvement in quality of life for many Pittsboro residents and others in the area. More importantly, those who will benefit most are our citizens who have struggled financially for years because of limited local opportunities, and who have never found good employment outside Pittsboro and Chatham County like so many of us. Achieving this is a long-term but realistic vision we can begin to craft now. I will help us achieve this by making sound decisions that will build a Pittsboro where companies and people with ambitious ideas are eager to locate.

5. Do you support Chatham County’s proposed land-transfer tax? Why or why not?

Twice I have lost jobs after plant shutdowns. I know many others who faced similar circumstances; this is not uncommon in the fluidity of today’s job market. I know many times people must sell their property at difficult and financially uncertain times, and it is not a choice. This I have experienced personally. Therefore I am not convinced the LTT is our best option.

6. Residential and commercial growth will change Pittsboro’s landscape and residents’ way of life drastically over the next several decades. What are the pros and cons of projects like Pittsboro Place and River Oaks coming to town (or not)? Separate from individual projects, please explain your overall vision for Pittsboro’s future.

Pros include more job opportunities and local conveniences, a stronger financial base, and increasing the depth and breadth of local skills and talent. Cons include traffic problems, strained city and county services, and environmental impact (most certain, the loss of wildlife habitat). As the question states, Pittsboro will change over the next several decades. And there will be pros and cons. I hope to help lay the foundation for positive change and a bright future with Pittsboro as an economic center and cultural destination for Chatham County and the region.

7. The departure of the previous town manager was an ugly episode in town government. Now that you’ve hired a new manager, what do you want him to accomplish in the next six months? How about in the next year?

The Board and Town of Pittsboro will benefit greatly from an outline of prioritized needs, making sharp distinctions between near-term ‘must-haves’ and long-term ‘wants’. I and others have ideas and opinions what those needs are, but the Town Manager should seek appropriate input and make an independent and rigorous assessment. This charter will provide a framework for prioritizing Board decisions, building consensus, and focusing the Board’s efforts on achieving well-defined objectives. It will also provide Citizens an understanding of what the Town is working on and why. In 6 months we should have a clear outline of immediate needs and be working toward their solutions. In 12-18 months we should have an outline of long term needs and wants, and be making our decisions to achieve those objectives.

8. If you are incumbent, please share some self-reflection about the pros and cons of the job the current mayor and council are doing leading the town. If you are a challenger, critique the job the incumbents are doing.

I wish we were further along with solutions to our water quality and sewer capacity issues. However, I realize our limited finances and borrowing capacity have made it difficult to plan comprehensive long-term solutions. As a result, it seems much effort has been spent trying to avert crises in the near-term instead of solving problems for the long-term. I hope to make positive change in the Board by facilitating long-range thinking and vision-oriented solutions.

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