Mark Marcoplos Running for At-Large County Commissioner Seat

I am running for Orange County Commissioner in the Democratic primary for an at-large seat.

My decades of experience with county issues, my forty-plus years living in Orange County beginning in 1971 when I came to attend UNC, and my service on key county boards and OWASA have prepared me to represent the diverse communities that share our county.

The challenges we face are unprecedented. The State Legislature continues to undermine our local control, cripple our public schools, threaten our environmental health, and over-burden poor and working people in our county.

It will take creative and pro-active leadership, informed by an understanding of local history, to ensure that we address these challenges while retaining the basic values that have always guided us – support for high-quality education, protection of the environment, sustainable economic development, and taking care of our neighbors who are in need.

I live in beautiful southwestern Orange County, within walking distance of the Haw River. My family has lived in this part of the county since 1990, first in a mobile home for ten years and  then in a model eco-home that I designed and built featuring solar water heating, a solar electric power system, passive solar design, and reclaimed building materials.

We have benefited from our network of neighbors across the county, our local businesses, the natural beauty that has been protected, and the Orange County school system, just to name a few. It’s been a great place to raise a family and I never wanted to live anywhere else. Now that the kids are out of the nest, I have the time to contribute to helping all of us in Orange County maintain and improve our quality of life.

I am directly aware of the large number of people in the county living in poverty amidst all the plenty that is here. I have repaired their houses on behalf of various local agencies and I continue to deliver meals to them. We must do more to provide them employment, business opportunities, public transportation, a living wage and affordable housing. My experience as a small business owner and a builder will inform my approach on these issues.

The success of our school systems is of central importance to the health and future of our children as well as the economic health of the county.  Our school boards have always ably overseen good school policy and our commissioners have always funded the systems to the best of their ability. I will continue in this tradition, while also looking for creative solutions to the anti-educational policies that our state government is inflicting on us.

Another key responsibility of the commissioners is to minimize the financial burden of government on the citizens. We can take pride that our commissioners down through the years have generally been on the same page when it comes to passing an annual budget that is reflective of the economic realities of the time while meeting essential needs.  When I was on the OWASA Board, I participated in the crafting of seven annual budgets. Our successful water conservation program predictably resulted in less revenue and we had to make tough, thoughtful decisions to keep costs down while also making necessary infrastructure investments that would save enormous amounts of money in the future.  I am prepared to follow in the county tradition of wise budgeting while working on economic development initiatives geared toward creating jobs and opportunity while improving the tax base.

I applaud the efforts of our economic development staff to establish businesses in our Economic Development Districts. The well-paying jobs and added taxes to our coffers will have significant benefits for us. I am also a firm believer that the true backbone of our economy is the hundreds of independent local businesses that employ so many, are vested in the success of our communities, and are such a strong part of our social fabric. Particularly important is our local agricultural sector.

A majority of Orange County’s population is now over 55 years old, many without the means to afford a comfortable life-style. They need affordable senior housing and other support services.

My many years of experience running a residential construction business, writing regular columns for local newspapers, serving on boards of statewide organizations, coaching youth athletics, helping to successfully defend rural communities, including my own, from landfill and airport sitings, organizing to successfully ensure that affordable housing funds will be included in the 2016 Bond Referendum, recently working with the Orange County Living Wage Project, and much more have prepared me to represent the diverse citizenry of Orange County.

Orange County government experience:

  • Economic Development Commission 1998-1999
    • Key commission accomplishment – initiated a living wage policy for employees of the County which the Commissioners passed.
    • Major issue discussed was how to create and utilize the three Economic Development Districts.
  • Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors 1999-2006
    • Served two terms as Chair from 2003-2005.
    • I played a key role in crafting some of the most effective water conservation measures in the state following the record drought of 2001-2002.
    • During my tenure as Chair, I helped facilitate the agreement with UNC to partner in a re-claimed water re-use program that is currently saving over 600,000 gallons of water per day and is paid for solely by the direct users of the water. 
  • Planning Board 2009-2011
    • I supported rezoning some land along the I-85 corridor in Efland that will facilitate economic development in an appropriate location.
    • Our major project was to review the Unified Development Ordinance, an updating and modernizing of the county’s development rules.
    • I was the only advocate for delaying the adoption of the Eno Economic Development District for a few months in order to address important, lingering concerns of the affected community.
  • Orange County Housing Authority - appointedMarch, 2015
    • Working to help the County provide rental assistance to families and individuals below fifty percent of the county median income through the Housing Voucher Choice program (formerly known as Section 8).

 

Issues: 

Total votes: 117

Comments

Mark, You got my support. Gary Kahn

Hi all, Just got an E Mail, that Matt Hughes has announced that he too, will run  for County Commisioner At large'. Gary Kahn

 

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