The two Democrats running for the District 3 seat on the Chatham County Board of Commissioners are both strong candidates and largely equal in their views on growth and development, education, immigration and fracking— the most important issues facing the county.
Norman Clark, a lifelong Chatham resident, is a retired firefighter with the Chapel Hill Fire Department and he served for four years on the Chatham County School Board.
Diana Hales is retired from the Center for Geographic Information & Analysis, a state agency. If either unseated incumbent Brian Bock, both candidates would bring diversity to the Board of Commissioners: Clark would be the only African-American on the Board, while Hales would be the second woman.
Clark describes himself as politically moderate and says his public safety training would inform his leadership. "The truth of an issue or resolution to a problem tends to be found in the middle between the two perspectives. This helps in building compromise and reaching consensus," Clark wrote in his questionnaire.
But we have to give our endorsement to Hales, a staunch environmentalist. She has been endorsed by the Sierra Club. Hales takes a hard line against fracking in a county that has been targeted by energy companies for that specific purpose. Hales, who has attended "every study group and committee meeting of the Mining and Energy Commission" writes that if elected, she will "pursue any available strategy through local planning and zoning powers, or a moratorium, to stop the fracking juggernaut." She gives no caveats about seeking best practices or the disclosure of chemicals to be used. If anyone can stop the fast-tracking of fracking in Chatham County, we believe it would be Hales.