The INDY’s Endorsements for the Chatham County Board of Commissioners | Our Endorsements | Indy Week

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The INDY’s Endorsements for the Chatham County Board of Commissioners

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CHATHAM COUNTY

Chatham County Board of Commissioners, District 1

Karen Howard

Until recently, wide swaths of Chatham, the second-fastest-growing county in the state, were unzoned, meaning it was perfectly legal to open a firing range next to a day care. Over the summer, the Board of Commissioners voted in favor of countywide zoning, to the chagrin of rural folks out west who don't like the government telling them what they can do on their land. This crowd does not much care for Karen Howard, a commissioner elected in 2014 who is African American, originally from New York, and represents northeast Chatham County—i.e., the most rapidly developing part of the county.

But Howard was correct to support the zoning measure, and she's thoughtful on development and other issues of consequence. Her opponent, Jay Stobbs, says he intends to lead a charge to overthrow the zoning plan. That is unlikely. In his spare time, Stobbs chairs the Chatham County Committee to Reelect Dan Forest. We'd argue that supporting Dan Forest is evidence of poor judgment. We endorse Howard.

Chatham County Board of Commissioners, District 2

Mike Dasher

Mike Dasher, a Democrat, defeated an incumbent commissioner in the primary this spring and was poised to run unopposed in the fall. Peyton Holland has since filed a petition to be placed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. He's positioning himself as somewhere in the middle on the contentious issue of countywide zoning in Chatham, which Dasher supports.

We like Dasher because of his experience in development; currently a small business owner, he has a nonprofit background in affordable housing construction. He's also served on the county's affordable housing advisory board and its green building/sustainable energy advisory board, and is endorsed by the Sierra Club, which is notable in Chatham, where fracking and coal ash remain major issues. We appreciate Holland's professed nonpartisan views, but we think Dasher is the stronger pick.

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