It All Comes Down To Experience

Orange County historically has a lot going on and it's always challenging for any political leader to stay in front of issues important to the broad diversity of Orange County constituents. With the great economic downturn finally behind us, but with questionable policy coming out of Raleigh and a growing economic disparity here at home, those challenges will only increase over the next few years. Now is not the time for political lightweights, for folks without proven track records. Now is the time for experienced leadership.

Two of the races for Orange County Commissioner in the upcoming March primary offer just such a candidate. For the county-wide at-large seat Mark Marcoplos is the clear choice. No other candidate for the At-Large seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners has anywhere near Mark’s experience and expertise. Similarly, Bonnie Hauser in the District 2 race has such a strong background in finance, accounting, and community organizing that she stands out as the obvious choice for commissioner.

Mark Marcoplos
I've lived in Orange County all of my life. As a young teenager I watched my father rally landowners to fight against OWASA offering them pennies on the dollar for their land to make way for the Cane Creek Reservoir. I watched and participated in community efforts around locating a regional airport (twice!), and around locating a landfill and a landfill transfer station. Throughout most of these larger efforts and many other smaller ones I came to recognize a core group of people always there, always working to ensure all voices were heard, always fighting for what was right. Among that core group was Mark Marcoplos.

Even though in the early years we were in the same business - construction, and we were often engaged in the same community efforts, I didn't actually meet Mark and get to know him until recently. But, as I worked to bring people together to help save the Colonial Inn in Hillsborough last year, I got a chance to meet and talk to Mark Marcoplos and came to better understand his tireless engagement in making Orange County a better place for everyone. Now, he’s running for an at-large seat on the Orange County Commission. I am proud to give him my endorsement for the At-Large seat on the Commission.

Mark’s lifelong business and public service credentials set him apart in this race. He has been a green business leader for over three decades, running a construction company which was one of the early adopters of green building practices, energy-efficiency, and alternative technologies. His expertise earned him election to the board of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association as well as a Discovery Channel show about his family’s model eco-home. He served on the county Economic Development Commission in the late 90s, then the Board of County Commissioners appointed him to the Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board where he was twice elected Chair. This was followed by appointment to the county Planning Board where he became familiar with zoning and land-use issues. Reflecting his long-standing commitment to affordable housing, he’s currently serving on the Orange County Housing Authority. This is a man who thoroughly understands how local government works and how to improve it to better serve everyone. This is the kind of candidate we desperately need on the Commission over the coming years.

Get to know more about mark and his campaign here:

Bonnie Hauser
Bonnie Hauser is another name that lately has been in that core group of folks engaged throughout the county in large organizing efforts. I think I first heard Bonnie's name during the most recent efforts regrading a regional airport, and certainly later during the landfill and waste transfer station discussions. She proved to be a strong voice and a powerful organizer, helping connect people in various communities so their voices could be heard. But, those larger, more public efforts barely even scratch the surface of Bonnie Hauser's commitment to Orange County.

Bonnie Hauser retired to Orange County about 15 years ago, I believe, after falling in love with it over many earlier visits to her siblings who live here. But, while she's lived her about 1/4 of the time I have, she knows more about the county, the people, and the issues in every little community throughout the county than I could hope to know in a lifetime. She's been instrumental in growing the Schley Grange into a powerful and lively community resource. She's worked to bring the great skills of our senior citizen community to bear on local advocacy issues and led the launch of Project Engage as a means of connecting Senior Citizens across the county. She was founder and president of Orange County Voice, active in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, visits County schools with her therapy dogs... I think she's busier in her "retirement" than I am in my day job!

But, its not all fun and games and community organizing. Bonnie Hauser is a former partner of one of the Big consulting firms - PricewaterhouseCoopers. I'm a "numbers guy" myself, having left construction in the 80s to pursue an MBA, pass the CPA exam easily, and work in corporate finance for decades after. When it comes to budgets, bond referenda, and taxes, Bonnie gets it. Most folks I know shy away from budget talk, so I avoid bringing it up in conversation. But, when I bumped into Bonnie having coffee a few weeks ago at Weaver Street in Hillsborough, she was eager to delve deep into Sources and Uses, stealth taxes, and budgetary controls. It was... refreshing. A candidate with a passion for helping people, with a passion for connecting people and ensuring their voices are heard, and the financial skills to drive real discussion on County budgets. It just doesn't get much better than that!

All of that aside, when I went to Bonnie's campaign kickoff at Maple View Farms to meet some of her other fans (and, well, lets face it - have some free ice cream), what was one of the scenes greeting me there? My dad, pen in hand, hunkered over his checkbook writing out a campaign donation.

I think we should all do that. Learn more about Bonnie Hauser here:



I add to your endorsement that both candidates have a record of being well prepared at meetings, asking detailed and probing questions that cut across silos and get to the heart of the matter. While I rarely agree with anyone 100% of the time, I am very confident that these two candidates think things though, listen to and weigh the puts and takes, making informed, reasoned arguments and then most importantly they follow through.

They will simultaneously raise the bar of conversation and action.

Beside their commitment to the rural county, I also think they will partner well with the towns and university. Going forward, cohesive and mutually beneficial solutions for pressing issues that confront us will require unified strategies even though tactics may differ.

Personally, I think it's important to identify the issues before deciding who to endorse. What are the major issues facing the county, in your opinion, Bob?


What are the issues? Visit these two fine folks campaign websites for an excellent walk thru the issues!

In a nutshell, from my vantage point, the economy has turned the corner and is improving nationwide. In the OC that means our relatively steady growth is again going to spike. Hilzbro is already looking at major increases in size that were put on back burners years ago. The rest of the 40/85 corridor will see much increased growth pressure, and the Southern half of the county will see its already strong growth rate increase.

While growth is good, unbridled growth is not. We're seeing an increasing disparity between the haves and have-nots, we're seeing the growing marginalization of our rural citizens, we're seeing the continued migration towards a significant part of the county being little more than a bedroom community offering little in the way of jobs and affordable housing.

Both Mark and Bonnie have long term, proven track records in guiding communities to empowering decisions, of leading organizations that help drive intelligent growth, and of driving a transparency in policy that helps ensure everyone is informed and making informed decisions.

Now is not the time for novices on the BOCC. Now, more than ever, we need proven experience.

Travis Crayton has it wrong. Building more luxury apartments was a failure, because it only caused a race to upfit existing affordable housing. To paraprase James Carville; its the jobs, stupid.


Does not surprise me that I do not agree with this assesment of the candidates. Bonnie is more experienced than the sitting commissioner Renee Price? She never held office in OC. For a group that espouses diversity, these choices give us a completely Caucasian board of County Commissioners over 45+ years old. We know we are losing millenials in our county. Think we maybe should have their voice represented? Mark has been around for a long time. Touts his experience on the economic development commission. The one that was finally disbanded because it did more to make sure businesses did not come to Orange County. He has said many divisive comments such as there are good "local" businesses and bad ones. We need all kinds of businesses to build a more vibrant tax base. I like Bonnie and supported her against Barry Jacobs in the last election. Im just pointing out the very slanted representation of this endorsment.



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