Don Mial | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Don Mial

Wake County Board of Commissioners


Name as it appears on the ballot: Don Mial

Full legal name, if different: Donald Mial

Date of birth: July 4

Home address: 1021 Penselwood Dr, Raleigh, N.C 27604

Mailing address, if different from home: P.O Box 41085, Raleigh, N.C 27629

Campaign website:

Occupation & employer: Manager, N.C Dept. of Juvenile Justice

Spouse's name: Donna Mial

Spouse's occupation & employer: N.C Dept. of Justice

Years lived in Wake County: 58

Home phone: 919-217-0758

Work phone: 919-575-5166

Cell phone: 919-247-5152


1. What are the three most important issues facing Wake County? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

Economic Development Wake County families are facing tough economic times, and they are not sure of their future. A growing number of families are facing economic uncertainty. Therefore, strong leadership is required! Wake County needs someone working to bring resources into the county and who is accountable to the voters. We must extend job tax credit to the appropriate business so that they can expand their payrolls. We must create a real economic stimulus that keeps business and industry already here in place, and attract more economic investment from other parts of the country. I will focus on creating jobs by removing barriers that hamper growth.

Transportation Many Wake County residents need public transportation so that they can go to work. The need for public transportation is a major concern for many and a priority economic issue for the County. Wake County covers 856 square miles and has a population of over 900,000 people. The need for public transportation in the rural areas and smaller townships of Zebulon, Wendell, Wake Forest, Apex, Holy Springs, Rolesville and Fuquay-Varina is very important. Affordable public transportation creates a means of transportation for many, more opportunities for employment, less road maintenance costs, and it preserves our natural resources.

Public Transit Strengthens the Economy by creating and supporting jobs and saving individuals money.

Public Transit Improves The Environment by reducing air pollution, supporting walkable communities and enabling land conservation

Public Transit Promotes Energy security by reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Public Transit provides Options for seniors, Empty Nesters, people with Disabilities.

Public Transit Connects people to Housing Choices

Education I support Wake County Public School construction and re-assignment through a Growth Management Strategy that ensures adequate funding. Our public schools are vital to our economic development and our students must be taught at a level that allows the entrance into an undergraduate program, a trade school, become entrepreneur or join the workforce. Our teachers must continue to acquire National Certification, and be compensated for their results in the classroom. To address the student achievement gap, we must improve and support more pre-kindergarten programs. The earlier that we can began to have an affect on a students learning ability the greater the possible that, that student will perform well in school, especially during middle schools years. These initiatives will decrease the drop-out rate and increase graduation rates. Data demonstrates that there are four variables that impact a student's achievement:

Student's family

Student's community

Student's peer group and

Student's school.

Therefore our education system must take a comprehensive approach to creating a strong system where the "three Rs" are emphasized, parents are included in the process, programs delivered to combat the negative influences of peer pressure, and community involvement grows. These areas are vital to our children's development and their ability to compete in society after graduating from high school. Along with Our Community College System, which has deep and historical roots in the public school system? Through vocational education centers, the community colleges grew and were established as parts of the public school system under the State Board of Education until 1980. However, the community colleges do not exist to serve public school student; because high school students are encouraged to stay until graduation. Nonetheless, there are two distinct ways in which high school students may enroll in courses in a community college.

The first is termed "dual enrollment", a high school student at least sixteen years of age may be admitted to courses at the community college, to be taken concurrently with courses at the high school, upon approval of the president of the community college and the superintendent of schools. Once admitted, the student earns credits at the community college like any other student. Dual enrollment is an individualized case-by-case matter and requires no approval at the state level. (23 NCAC 2C.0305).

The second involves a more formalized program of cooperation between a community college and the local public school system to offer enhanced educational opportunities for high school students that would not otherwise be available to them. Such programs of cooperation are commonly known as "Huskins Bill" programs, after the statutory provision authorizing them.

(G.S 115D-20(4). A Huskins program Bill program, in contrast to individualized dual enrollment, will involve the enrollment of a number of local high school students in one or more courses offered by the community college. It requires a formal agreement between the school system and the college and approval by the State Board of Community Colleges.

Therefore, I would support more utilization of the dual enrollment process and expanded cooperation between the community colleges and our public school system.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the Wake County Board of Commissioners? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.

The first and most fundamental thing is that counties provide identity and many people derive their sense of place to their residence in a particular county. Counties give shape to the state's political life and people depend on their county government to carry out or provide money for many of the programs that touch them most directly, such as Schools, Courts, Social Services, and public Health activities. The counties serve as the state's agent to serve the people in a particular part of the state.

Therefore the question as to my record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates my ability to be effective on the Wake County Board of Commissioners or should I say a public servant is long. Over the past thirty years I have served the people of North Carolina as a soldier and as a civilian public servant. The relevance to this office is that Wake County needs someone that is committed to the people and is willing to serve and work hard for all of the people of Wake County. Most recently, I served a Tour of Duty in Iraq. Upon returning from Iraq, serving with our country's first National Guard Brigade that deployed to Iraq. I then volunteered and went to Louisiana in support of Katrina. With that core value at heart, I am running for the Wake County Board of Commissioners so that I can continue advocating on behalf of the public interest, continue to move Wake County forward and make it a better place to live, because I have seen what happen when government fail its people, which was the problem in Iraq and Katrina.

Therefore, the Board must possess strong leadership skills and the ability to listen to the voters, and always place the citizens of Wake County first. As a retired Army Officer, I know and understand what leadership means and why it's important to know when to lead and follow. As your County Commissioner, I will facilitate a regional plan, that includes the twelve municipalities of Wake County, and ensure all are moving towards the same goal of Making Wake County Better, where the people come first.

My experience of over thirty years in the military have given me the leadership skills, the legal knowledge, time management skills, a global perspective on what Wake County needs, the important of a strong education system, an understanding of a large budget and the ability to manage it. It has also given me the opportunity to meet people at all levels of life and be able to be an effective communicator and the will to get the job done. Serving during the Vietnam War, the Cold War, Desert Storm and Operation Iraq Freedom. I have received numerous awards: Air Force Commendation Medal, Over Seas Service Ribbon, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal as well as many others. I retired from the military with over 30 years of service to our great State and Country.

Furthermore, I have held a number of jobs in state government during my over 28 years of service to the people of North Carolina, and I consider my profession to be that of a Public Servant.

My experiences in state government equally have afforded me great opportunities that reflect on my ability to be an effective county commissioner. The understanding of the state government system and its budgetary restraints are very important, since counties are simply agencies of the state, constituted for the convenience of local administration and exercise functions that almost are legislative controlled except when the power is restricted by constitutional provisions. You see, the weight of authority is to the effect that all powers and functions of a county bear reference to the general policy of the state, and are in fact an integral portion of the general administration of the state policy.

In addition to a Master Degree in Public Administration, my education includes a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, as well as a B.A in History and Government and an A.A.S in Paralegal Technology.

I have served as Precinct Chair, and presently serve as the Wake County Vice Chair of the party. I also presently serve as a Board Member of the Wake County Board of Adjustment and the N.C Board of Victim Compensation Commission as well as a member of N.C State Employees Association and the N.C Association of Educators. My involvement as a public servant continue with my membership in many other social, political and civic organizations and most important to my family and my church family.

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

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people... by the people...for the people, shall not perish from this earth. "Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address"

I think this says a lot about my political philosophy, past achievements and my campaign. So today I say, its time, it's for a change, its time for the citizens of Wake County to have responsible government. You see, Government exists for the sole purpose of serving the people, not ruling the people; therefore it is the duty of the people, to stand up.

My past achievement shows itself, in that I spent over thirty years in the military to defend the right for people to be able to vote and have responsible government. As a Vietnam and Iraq War Veteran, these statements means even more and to see friends and colleagues, give the last full measure of devotion. So, that we may resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain and that government of the people... by the people...for the people, shall not perish from this earth.

My military experience is only one part of my achievement, such as the numerous awards I received doing that period of time in the military. However, as a young man that grew up in the military I take a lot of value from the lessons learned, the education from the many schools that I attended and the networking with so many people from around the world and the travel through out the United States and the World.

I also bring the achievement of receiving a B.A Degree in History and Government, A.A.S in Paralegal Technology, M.S In Criminal Justice and MPA in Public Administration, which reflect a strong understanding and support for education.

4. The Commissioners board is often termed the school board's banker, and the school board's performance is the biggest issue in Wake County by far. What's your take on the new Wake school board majority's direction, including its opposition to using diversity as a factor in school assignments? If elected, what steps will you take, if any, to support or oppose the new majority?

I disagree with the board actions. I think that they are missing a great opportunity to unify this community and build on what is already in place. We live in a diverse community and in a world, whereby our kids must be able to compete in a global market. It is my opinion that yes, there are some disparities among some students, but isn't that what the school board should be working on. Closing that gap and ensuring that all 143,000 students in Wake County Public School System are getting a fair and equal education.

You see this issue goes beyond diversity; it is an Economic development issue. We must have strong diverse workforce so that companies will want to locate here in Wake County and a strong education system where those employees will be happy with the school system that their kids will attend. You see, companies use to ask which of the twelve municipalities will I locate my company, now they ask what is wrong with you school system and as we state in the military that is a "NO GO". This is totally un-acceptable. We must also remember that with a strong education system, we have a strong workforce and tax payers. So you see we must create jobs and put that workforce to work. At the end of the day we are taking about pocket book issues, with a viable strong workforce that is well educated.

I also think that everyone must remember that this is the "Wake County Public School System" which means we must operate with a wholelistic view and what is in the best interest of all. You see, I was raised here in Wake County and can trace my roots back to the early 1800's very easy and have seen what the school system was like before.

In which, the disparities were too many to talk about, however the people of Wake County came together and unified to build the great school system that we have. I attended Wake County schools and put three kids through this system, you see doing the 60's I attended school where I was in the minority of over 2 to 3 hundred students, with only about 25 minorities students and my brother, sister and I were three of that 25. Furthermore, the 14th amendment to constitution, indicate that no state, shall deny to any persons within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, the federal civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, which every school in N.C receive some federal aid.

Furthermore, Section 2, Article 9 of the North Carolina Constitution, indicate that the General Assembly shall provide, for a general and uniform system of free public education, wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students. N.C.G.S 115c 367, states that " No person shall be refused admission to or be excluded from any public school in this state on account of race, creed, color or national orgin and no school attendance district or zone shall be drawn for the purpose of segregating persons of various races, creeds, colors or national origins from the community.

I am also a member of NCAE, completed the Effective Teacher Training and I have spent time in the class room so you see, I do understand the Wake County School System. I also think that as a County Commissioner, one must be willing to sit down and have an open dialogue with the school board to find a solution that will be in the best interest of all, which mean an open mind is vital and the ability to use effective communication is very important.

5. If elected, will you vote to put the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit on the ballot in 2011?

Yes, if the citizens of Wake County are willing to support it, because it is my belief that we must push for a better and more viable transit system, because we must ensure that all of our citizens have viable transportation. Furthermore, the General assembly has already authorized Wake, Durham and Orange counties to levy a half-cent sales tax that could be spent only for transit if local voters give their approval in a referendum. Local government also received another $13 million a year for transit with a $10 increase in car registration fees for all three counties. These measures create the possibility of $86 million in new fees and taxes for transit. I believe we need to plan well for our continuing population growth, in ways that will ensure the best possible quality of life for all of us for decades to come.

This means we need infrastructure to support our growth and which will ensure environmental and economic sustainability for our county. Wake's population is due to double from 2005 levels in about twenty years, and Raleigh's population similarly will grow significantly.

Mass transit is simply a must for a growing metropolitan region. While high speed rail is used differently than the local regional transit system we are also planning for – including light rail, expanded bus service and other options -- we need it for many of the same reasons. High speed rail will help us move more people more efficiently, particularly as our population swells. The Triangle expects 1.2 million more residents in two decades.

High speed rail is good for air quality and the environment, as it will reduce the number of cars on the road, a problem of significant importance to public health and climate change. It's good for the economy and quality of life as it will enhance efficient transportation choices for business and individuals. Bringing high speed rail to Raleigh and the Triangle will connect us better to the entire East Coast. Most of the industrialized world has long embraced high speed rail. North Carolina and Virginia have worked on developing a Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor for years, and we are fortunate to have won federal funding for this project. What's more, the future local regional transit system will benefit from needed upgrades and rail crossing improvements that will be funded with the high speed rail funds. This rail project will help us get a local transit system in place sooner.

6. The closing of Dorothea Dix Hospital is making a bad situation worse for mental health patients in Wake County. The commissioners have taken some steps to address the problems? Are they enough? If not, what else is needed?

My campaign focuses on addressing and fixing problems that will make Wake County better. Gang problems and inadequate facilities and services for our citizens with mental health problems create immediate and future problems for Wake County. Gang activity results in crime and the county's time and resources. Our inability to provide the proper type of mental health services for those in need also take its toll on our county. It's time for the Wake County Commissioners to fix these two problems.

Throwing money at these issues has not resulted in fixes, and now it's time for accountability and measured success. As your County Commissioner I will work to change the attitude of "it's not my neighborhood, so it doesn't matter to me". I will create a Multi-Agency Task Force that address the gang activity and arrest it. I will work with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the County Health Director, the Federal Government, and nonprofit organization, such as NAMI to execute a plan that addresses and fixes the problems we have with our mental health services in Wake County.

Things, such as quality community treatment and services for severely mentally ill patients, increased community awareness about mental illnesses, a fully functioning Crisis Intervention Team program in law enforcement agencies across Wake County and affordable supportive and independent housing options for people with mental illness.

We must also ensure that our EMS, Fire Departments and Sheriff Department (Public Safety) are properly funded to provide the services that our community needs. Our first responders are the front line of defense that we rely on during times of crisis. These civil servants are the backbone of our ability to prosper and grow. Smartly funded departments that measure their results and work and are held to the highest standards are essential to making Wake County a better place to work, live and raise a family.

7. A woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy is once again a major issue in politics at every level. Please state your position on the question of abortion, choice and women's rights.

Just as the curtain was closing on the struggle for the Seventeenth Amendment, the suffragist movement was starting to gain momentum on the same path of transformation. The participants drafted a "Declaration of Sentiments" protesting the political, social, and economic inferiority of women. The Declaration also included the first public demand for extending the franchise to women. It was the first of many such conventions in the nascent women's rights movement. The Constitution brought an extended hiatus to the woman suffrage movement, as national attention was focused on the abolition of slavery. Suffragists were unable to tie their cause to the racial issue and failed in an attempt to prevent the enfranchisement of African-Americans without the granting of the same rights to women. However, the passage of the Civil War Amendments did further the suffragist cause.

The campaign to bring woman suffrage into existence state by state accelerated in the 1880's and 1890's. Between 1882 and 1898, the question was placed on eleven state referendum ballots in nine different states. However, it passed in only two--Colorado in 1893, and Idaho in 1896. Opponents of the suffrage movement found it easy to exploit the fact that many suffragists were also active in the prohibition movement, a connection which aroused the antagonism of the "wets."

In winning ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, the suffragists successfully completed the same route of constitutional transformation that had been traveled by advocates of the popular election of Senators a few years earlier. Both amendments posed an inherent and direct threat to the reelection of sitting members of Congress; accordingly, there was little chance that Congress would exercise its proposing function unless compelled to do so. Consequently, proponents of reform used the states to usurp this function. Effectively, individual states were proposing and ratifying an incremental transformation in the structure of Congress.

I guess the question becomes, why I started out with talking about women suffrage and the 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution. That is because, I think it is important that one must put this all into perspective, especially as one talk about a woman rights and her ability to have a choice and decide what is in the best interest of her and her family.

I don't think that we should political size this issue. It is truly one that she must have a choice to decide with her family, doctor and faith person.

It's also important to understand that choice goes beyond abortions, it also address the issue of birth control, sex education and Healthy Pregnancies.

Furthermore, I understand that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with me. However, I have been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority and I oppose any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.

8. Do you support equal rights for gay and straight citizens, including equal protection from workplace discrimination and equal marriage rights?

Yes, equal opportunities for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, age, disability or political affiliation, except where religion, sex or age are bona fide job related employment requirements. This is in keeping with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, NC G.S. 126-16 and 126-17, and other applicable federal and State laws. It is also important that the work place is free of harassment. It is further required by law that no employee may engage in conduct that falls under the definition of unlawful workplace harassment. All employees have the right to work in an environment free from unlawful workplace harassment and retaliation.

To ensure that equal employment opportunities exist, a results oriented program should be implemented to overcome the effects of past discrimination and to eliminate any artificial barriers to employment opportunities for all qualified individuals that may exist in any of our programs. The equal employment opportunity program will be evaluated and monitored.

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

My campaign is about representing all the people of Wake County and my election to the Wake County Board of Commission will be a mandate for the people to have a just and responsible commissioner that will work for everyone. They will have accessibility to me and I will spend as much time as possible out in the community to listen and learn what the people want. You see in order to have that just community, the people must know who their County Commissioners are and more importantly what they do. I also think that we should look at changing the time of the commissioners meeting and moving it around to allow those that can't make the 2:00 p.m meeting timeframe to attend and have input in this process.

10. Identify a principled stand you would be willing to take if elected, even if it cost you popularity points with voters.

A woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy and women's rights.

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