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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The race for three open seats on the New Hanover County Commission is hotly contested this primary with six candidates in the GOP race alone. Each of the six Republicans say they have what it takes to win the race, but what exactly do they think matters to the community?

The candidates agree there are many issues facing the county including the budget, economy, and jobs. Some hopefuls say their previous service shows their dedication to the county.
“People,” said Buck O’Shields. “I’m a people person, and I believe that we all have ideals and goals.”

“Goodness knows if someone starts some controversy and drama, I can be the first one to get in the mix and mess it up,” said Jason Thompson. “I think that’s healthy. I think you need to be passionate about what you’re doing, and I am.”

“I have committed most of my life to community service and helping others with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life,” said Beth Dawson.

Others say the county may be off course and leaders need to be held accountable.

“When we get up and we say something, we should stand behind it,” said Frank Meares. “If we’re out on the campaign trail and we say we’re not going to do something, then we should mean it.”

“We’ve been distracted,” said Woody White. “We’ve been focused on personal issues, pettiness between some of the municipalities in the county. The citizens aren’t concerned with that.”

“I don’t know that I would blame the current county commission except some of their policies have not been job promoting like they could be,” said Derrick Hickey.

With some many candidates and so many different perspectives, the question is why do they think you should vote for them?

“I’m running on a campaign of ideas,” said Hickey.

“I continue to pursue the American Dream every day with my family,” said White.

“I believe that my experience is key,” said O’Shields.

“While others may tell you what they’ll do, you’ll know what I’ll do, because there’s a proven track record for it,” said Thompson.

“I have the interest in listening to the citizen’s concerns and doing what is in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the entire community,” said Dawson.

“You need to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ When it’s time to get out of office, it’s time to get out of office,” said Meares.

The three top vote-getters on the Republican side will face the three top Democratic contenders in November.

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