Pittsboro, NC – For well over a decade, Chatham County has been quickly growing and evolving. Situated between the ever expanding Triangle Area, and the Piedmont Triad, Chatham has had many challenges in accepting and planning for change, while protecting the county’s heritage, environment, and agriculture. In the middle of it all, Chatham, like the entire nation, experienced the impact of a severe recession that saw many jobs disappear. The county has had to adjust to these changes and, at times, make hard decisions in keeping with its vision of the future.
As the county-wide elected body, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners is responsible for guiding this growth and managing the challenges, (and politics) that come with it. The BOC has swung from full control of the Democrats, to domination by the Republicans, to again domination by the Democrats. As past elections have shown, not many survive more than one term. Except for District 2 Commissioner Mike Cross.
Mike Cross has been Commissioner for three terms, and is running for a fourth. Mr. Cross attributes his success to listening to and representing “All Citizens of Chatham County”. And he does. Mr. Cross understands that the east-west divide in Chatham County has more to do with economics and culture, than politics. While the fast growing eastern part of Chatham leans to the influence of the Triangle area, the western part of the County is more rural, blue collar manufacturing, and agriculture.
Evidence of this understanding is readily apparent in Mr. Cross’s voting record. Mr. Cross championed the reconstitution of the Economic Development Corporation, which is primarily responsible for the development of two manufacturing mega-sites (one of which is the largest in the state); supported the expansion of environmental protections in areas of fast growth; fully supports the education and capital budgets of Chatham County Schools; is an advocate of planned growth, but with the direct engagement of the citizens being impacted by these decisions; and is willing to make decisions that at times appear less politically expedient. The perfect example of the latter is the negotiation of the Duke Energy agreement on coal ash. Commissioner Cross knew the BOC had no leverage in preventing coal ash from being deposited in Chatham County. He was, however, able to negotiate a cap on this dumping (it could have been unlimited), plus ensure that one of the first cleanup locations was one that sits alongside the Haw River in Chatham.
Commissioner Cross’s voting record and engagement throughout the County attest to his understanding of the cultural, environmental, and economic nuances within the County, his willingness to listen to and engage anybody and everybody, and his ability to make the hard decisions in moving Chatham County forward. This is what one would expect from a leader.
Therefore, the Chatham Journal newspaper wholeheartedly endorses Mike Cross for the position of District 2 Chatham County commissioner in the 2016 primary election.