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Dare County Board of Commissioners District 3

The 7-member Board sets the policy for the county, determining the strategic vision for the county, appoints a county manager, attorney and others to serve the county, adopts ordinances, including zoning, and establishes an annual budget, which includes setting the tax rate and calling bond referendums. Commissioners are elected at large in even-numbered years and serve staggered 4-year terms. Six must reside in a specific district; one is at-large.

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  • Candidate picture

    Steve House

  • Candidate picture

    Kathy McCullough-Testa

Biographical Information

What is the most important issue the Dare County Commission will have to address in the next term? (Youtube answer, or text, or both.)

What policies will you propose or support to improve the economy of Dare County?

What is the most effective role the County Commission can play in improving the local schools? What policies or funding will you suggest when elected?

What policies would you propose to improve the quantity and quality of healthcare and/or social services in Dare County?

What is your stance on the permitting of off-shore drilling and seismic testing along the N.C.coast?

Age (optional) 56
Contact Phone (252) 305-9258
email address
Position/philosophy statement To be part of the solution to focus on governing, to put my experience to work to help solve the very serious issues we're facing in Dare County
I believe the most important issue that will face the county commissioners is essential housing. This has been a problem for years and is now at critical stages. For Dare County to grow our economy, and sustain the level of service we provide for our citizens, we need housing. Currently it is hard to recruit good labor at all levels due to our housing crises and thus grow our economy. We as the Board of Commissioners have teamed up with the UNC School of Government. While also looking at other resort areas across the state, The UNC team has been successful in promoting housing. Our work has already begun and we need to follow it through.
Number 1 As I stated above is housing. It is hard to recruit good people and businesses to the county if they cannot find housing.

Number 2 Keeping our Commercial fishing industry strong. It is our second largest economic driver in Dare County. I have been instrumental in reaching out to our NC State Legislators and our Marine Fisheries Commision and working with them to elevate a good number of unfair regulations. I have entered well over a dozen resolutions that were approved by our Board of Commissioners on fishery issues. These Resolutions were instrumental in helping to stop unfair bills entering the Legislature and the Marine Fisheries Commision. I also reinstated the Dare County Commision for Working Watermen for which I was appointed by our DCBOC to Chair this Commision.

Number 3 Keeping our waterways open. Hatteras and Oregon Inlet in the past few years brings in approximately 650M to our economy. According to a study that was conducted by Moffit and Nichols if we can keep these inlets open year-round, the study showed we could expect 1.1 Billion to our economy. With a team effort by the Oregon Inlet Task force and the Board of Commissioners and our State Legislature we were able to get 15M to go towards a private / public partnership dredge. I sit on the Oregon Inlet Task force and on the subcommittee for this dredge project. Currently the design phase has been completed and we are well on the way to start ship building.
The Board of Commissioners currently has a 5 on 5 advisory board which consists of members from the BOC and the BOE of Dare County along with the County Manager. This has been very effective in leading our schools and bringing any concerning issues to the forefront, especially when it has to do with our students. The funding model we use in Dare County is exceptional and has been shown by the State Board of Education as a role model for other counties. With the help of our DCBOC and DCBOE and COA we offer dual enrollment so that we can actually have a student graduate high school with a diploma and an associate degree from COA. I also voted in support of a $250K scholarship fund for students in Dare County to attend COA after high school. Continuing to support our COA campus by working towards a newer modern campus facility. This new facility will provide additional curriculum to support our students in providing much needed workforce certifications and associate degrees. No longer will our students have to travel to Elizabeth City to obtain a single class to achieve these goals.

I was also appointed by the DCBOC to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council in which we provide funding and services for our troubled youth. Working closely with our schools in helping our at-risk children in Dare County through programs to help prevent them from leaning to a path of criminal activity or drug abuse.
I supported an increase to our EMS budget to add more Paramedics to the staff, improve our Ambulance fleet with state-of-the-art Ambulances that not only serves our community but also has safe guards to protect our EMS personnel. EMS staff obtained updated advanced life support equipment. While also increasing the budget for operational expenses due to the ever-increasing call volume along with the increasing frequent flights by Dare Med Flight

I have also supported a Capital Improvement plan to increase the size of our Dare County Health and Human Services building that will improve our services and the functionality of those Departments.

Seeing the need for a possible detox center and after a great deal of research. A detox center is extremely regulated and not sustainable in Dare County. We have worked with other counties to possibly do a regional center and ran into the same issues. However, we have a need for transportation to a treatment facility for anyone seeking detox. I along with other board members and our County Manager we are looking into ways to make that transportation possible. I plan to work on making this a reality with no charge to the person in need of detox.

A question was raised recently with our aging citizen population on the rise. We need to start looking at retaining another skilled nursing facility. I found this to be very relevant to our near future and will be eager to look into this next step in major healthcare for Dare County.
I am and have stood firm and have voted for numerous resolutions OPPOSING offshore drilling and seismic testing. Not only have we passed resolutions we have made many phone calls and trips to the DC area to lobby against this issue. I have reached out to many of our US Representatives and members of the Department of the Interior to lobby against offshore drilling and seismic testing off our coast.

We live in a very ecological natural area that provides Dare County with the number 1 and number 2 economic drivers to our community, Tourism and Fishing (Recreational, Sport, and Commercial). The risk of an oil spill is to great when you measure the damage it could possibly incur to our way of life on the Outer Banks. We already have a strong risk as many oil tankers use the shipping lanes off our coast. To place an offshore oil drilling platform off our coast would provide a greater risk. I for one have and will continue to work with other agencies and nonprofits to express our concerns and challenge any attempts to drill off our coast.

Seismic testing has been proven to harm marine wildlife. This could also affect our Fishing industry which is already suffering enough through regulations from State and Federal levels. I am working on several fronts to protect and improve our fishing industry. This is one of many issues concerning the industry, that is also A WAY OF LIFE for many of our citizens.
Contact Phone (252) 261-0230
Twitter @kathy4dare
YouTube video
Position/philosophy statement My pledge to you is that I will fight for the priorities that matter to us here in Dare County with compassion, honesty, inclusion, and transparency.
The most important issue that the Dare County Commission will face in the next term is our economy. Our economy doesn’t function without our people. For many of us, it is a daily struggle to live and work here due to the unique seasonal nature of our economy. I believe that each and every one of us should be able to raise our families here and enjoy all that our county has to offer. Although the pandemic has seen increases in real estate sales and rental bookings, it has taken its toll on our residents, workforce, and small business community. There will be both short and long-term impacts that we will need to address. We must implement policies and procedures that work for everyone.
As your next County Commissioner, the following are some of the key policies that I propose to support to improve the economy of Dare County. • Work for an economy that provides our workers a living wage. • Support and provide workforce housing in all our communities. • Implement a County Office of Economic Development. • Provide small business economic impact grant funding opportunities. • Offer a healthcare system that truly serves everyone. • Reduce the cost of necessities for local residents. • Provide a secure and fast broadband and cell phone infrastructure. • Work to protect our waterways and natural resources. • Address transportation and public safety needs. • Explore regional partnerships to enhance services. • Expand access to our government for our residents by providing a voice for each and every member of our community.

My elected experience, along with my professional career and work here in the Dare County community, makes me the best qualified candidate to be your next Dare County Commissioner. I will serve with compassion, integrity, honesty, and inclusion as we tackle the issues that we will face in the months and years ahead. I promise that I will fight each and every day for the priorities that matter to us and will keep Dare County strong for generations to come!
I am the daughter of two retired public school teachers and a proud graduate of public schools. I strongly support our public schools, our community college, and our public libraries as education is the foundation of a Democratic society.

I will fight to make sure that our schools are: • Fully-Funded. • Teachers receive the resources and worker protections that they need. • Parents, students, and teachers voices are heard. • Tools are provided to our students, parents, and teachers to assist with learning during this unsettled time. • Our students are safe and secure at school with the educational, nutritional, and emotional resources that they require.

The most effective role that the County Commission can play in improving public schools is making sure that our community is a full partner in our schools that our tax dollars support; to implement and expand programs which add value to our educational programs and curriculum; and most importantly, to have regular communication in a variety of formats with all stakeholders to ensure diversity and inclusion of our Outer Banks community.

I pledge to work regularly with our school community so that we provide a strong foundation for all of our students here in Dare County.

We need to fully support our healthcare system. We must provide additional services, as well as more access to quality affordable care. All types of care are especially important for a strong and well-rounded community.

I pledge to work to: • Expand our hospital to include an ICU and other necessary services. • Make sure that our providers accept more health insurance plans to support our residents who have varying types of coverage, work regionally or remotely, or have out of state plans; and to support our visitors and second homeowners who may need access to quality care without huge out of pocket expenses. • Gain Veterans Administration approval for senior living and rehabilitation facilities. • Make sure that our senior living and nursing facilities are safe for our loved ones with all necessary certifications and staffing levels. • Lobby our state legislature for Medicaid expansion. • Provide expanded drug and alcohol addiction services. • Increase mental health provider availability.

Challenges faced by our social services providers due to the pandemic have become glaring and more widespread. I will work with our community to provide: • Increased access to healthcare, mental health services, drug and alcohol addiction assistance, and domestic violence support. • Expanded assistance with basic necessities. • Provide support due to the economic impacts of decreases in child support payments caused by unemployment, and lack of available and affordable childcare.
I am totally against offshore drilling and seismic testing.

Our Dare County economy and livelihoods depend on clean water for tourism; commercial and recreational fishing; water sports and eco-tourism; and safe drinking water for our residents and visitors.

A key component of my campaign is to preserve and protect our unique environment. Dare County is known for her natural beauty. Her long stretches of sandy beaches, maritime forests, clean air, and open spaces are the reason we chose to live and work here.

I will work with my fellow commissioners to lobby our state and national representatives to adamantly oppose offshore drilling and seismic testing and do everything in our power to prevent it from occurring. We also must expand and reinforce our community partnerships to strengthen our collective voice to make sure that our coastline and waterways are protected.

I will also fight to preserve, protect, and enhance our home by: • Supporting expanded implementation of alternative energy sources like wind and solar in a planned and responsible manner. • Expanding recycling and composting programs. • Reducing flooding and storm water runoff in our communities. • Protecting our water supply. • Preserving our fishing and seafood industries.

As your County Commissioner, I pledge to use my voice to be a strong advocate for Dare County’s environment.

My campaign has received the endorsement of the Cypress Group of the N.C. Sierra Club.