Republican candidates for the Pender Board of Commissioners, District 1

During the 2022 primary election filing period, two Republicans signed up hoping to join the Pender County Board of Commissioners for the next four years.

For the District 1 seat for voters in North Hampstead, Topsail Beach and Surf City, former commissioner Jimmy T. Tate and Joe Cina will challenge each other. The winner will represent his political party in November for the general elections.

There is no Democratic candidate on the November ballot, which effectively means the winner of the primary will take the seat.

Outgoing and current vice-chairman David Williams has not filed for a new term after more than 15 years on the board.

Pender County commissioners receive bi-weekly payments of $507. The president receives $636.

Pender County voters have several options for voting in this year’s primary election.

Residents can vote before Election Day by sending in an absentee ballot or by voting during the single or early voting period, which begins April 28 and ends May 14. Early voting is taking place at two locations in Pender County.

Voters can also vote in any constituency on Election Day, Tuesday May 17.

Joe Cina

Joe Cina

  • Age: 43 years old
  • Occupation: Owner of Team Cina Enterprises, LLC
  • Family: Married with three children
  • Education: BS in Criminal Justice from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Cape Fear Community College Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Political Affiliation: Republican

Jimmy T. Tate

Jimmy T. Tate
  • Age: 44 years old
  • Occupation: President/Mt. Calvary Center for Leadership Development
  • Family: Single
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts — University of North Carolina at Wilmington; and doctorate in education – attended many other universities
  • Political Affiliation: Republican

As growth continues in Hampstead, Topsail Beach and Surf City, what are some of the challenges facing East Pender County?

China: Choice of three challenges for discussion purposes: traffic, schools and parks. The traffic is completely out of control. East Pender County has one main artery for its traffic flow and that is US 17. Unfortunately, there are not too many branches from this artery to reconnect to the main artery. Of the 18 schools in Pender County, nine are overcrowded and all of them are on the east side. On the east side we have Kiwanis Park, which is a fantastic park. It is important to note that this park is primarily funded and paid for by the Kiwanis club and not Pender County. Also, it is important to note that Kiwanis Park does not have an annual line item for maintenance and improvements, although it serves most of Pender County.

Taty: Infrastructure is the biggest challenge currently facing Pender County and will continue as the county grows. The good news is that this is not new to us. When I was Commissioner Pender from 2008 to 2016, we faced similar challenges. As a council, we created the Rocky Point water supply system and extended the water to the east of the county. The other major need is traffic. Until the Hampstead Bypass is complete, we need to make sure our residents travel safely on US 17.

Developers continue to submit applications for homes, apartments and retail stores. But what else does District 1 need?

China: District 1 has many different needs that need to be explored and addressed. In addition to three major needs for traffic, schools, and parks, District 1 really needs more options for food service. Currently, there are not many options available for families to eat out and enjoy their family or free time. This is also grafted on the hotel service. Currently there is really no option available for hotel service on the east side unless you are going to the island. Hotels are in high demand for a variety of reasons, whether it’s families looking to stay, visitors for events, or tourists visiting our community. It is important to also note that the county is entitled to an occupancy tax on room service in our community, which can help fund many local projects and needs.

Taty: In addition to the issues mentioned above, other issues include our beaches, which are eco-friendly money flowing into our cities and county. Our schools, we need to make sure our school board knows that we want our educators to be competitively paid and our schools to get too crowded too soon. Pender, like too many communities, struggles with high crime and drug problems. We need to make sure our sheriff has the money to get the tools to deal with this pandemic.

The Hampstead Bypass is due to be completed in 2030. In the meantime, what steps can local authorities take to address traffic issues?

China: The bypass is way overdue. As of 2018, it was fully funded and ready to start while New Hanover County had secured no funding for its project. Over the past four years, Pender County has lost all funding for its portion of the project and New Hanover County has made tremendous progress on its portion. More today and we finally paved the way four years later in Pender County. We need to explore many options to address this concern immediately. The Pender County Sheriff’s Office is to open its east office 24 hours a day and increase its visibility with the community. Most of the locals who live here don’t even know it’s there, so most passers-by probably don’t know of its existence either. The presence of law enforcement is the first step in enforcing the highway code. We must also partner and work with the NCDOT to protect drivers in the middle turn lane. We need to explore options to alert drivers to the need to exercise extreme caution in these areas using new technologies, lighting up signs during heavy traffic hours, more warning signs, maybe even adjusting speed limits during heavy traffic hours to reduce the amount of distance traveled when braking to help reduce collisions.

Taty: We need to work closely with our local state legislatures to try to secure an expedited completion date and ensure that the bypass is and remains fully funded. We must work with the Sheriff’s Department to emphasize the importance of patrols and traffic control. Much of US 17 is tied between the Holly Shelter Game Lands and the ocean, so there’s not much to do physically until the bypass is complete, but until then we We can do our best to ensure the safest passage possible for our many residents and visitors who use this corridor every day.

How would you rate the current Pender County Board of Commissioners and why?

China: Currently, I would give the current Pender County Board of Commissioners a C-plus for their efforts in Pender County serving the community. The position is not in high demand, the hours can be long, and the salary is only around $13,000 per year, which is not enough to treat the position as a full-time job, although the requirements are such. Communication with the community needs to be greatly improved and development needs to be controlled until our infrastructure can catch up.

Taty: B. I’m not doing this to criticize current advice, but I do believe that advice, no matter how good, can always be improved; the unexpected always happens, mistakes are made. As a former commissioner, I realize that things happen despite your best efforts, but it’s knowing how to handle these situations when they do occur. A board with real-world experience is important.

Why are you the best candidate for the job?

China: I have served our state and community for over two decades and volunteered hundreds of hours. I am currently Chairman of the Pender County Tourism Development Board and a member of the Pender County ABC Board. I used to serve on the Pender County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. The three Councils I were appointed by the current Pender County Commissioners. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Tri County Cape Fear Fair and Exposition, an active member of the Coastal Rotary Club and have coached youth sports in our community for several years. I am a recipient of the NC Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate and the NC Professional School Resource Officer Certificate, which equips me with the knowledge to protect our children, families, and staff in the Pender County school system.

Taty: I feel like I’m the best candidate for the job because I did the job. Pender County faces the possibility of four new, inexperienced commissioners not being elected, with George Brown not re-elected and Jackie Newton winning the race for clerk of court. Such turnover could cause real hardship for Pender residents. Being a commissioner is about more than showing up and making promises about things you don’t know how to accomplish. Change can be good, but change without a leader has a cost.

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