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  • Writer's pictureTopsail Times

Candidate Questionnaire: Marc Caldwell For Surf City Mayor

1. What are your greatest strengths and skill set that will make you a good elected official?

I have over 24 years of proven leadership experience and am an excellent communicator. These two skillsets coupled with understanding what the town needs from both the administration side and from what the people are asking for helps set me apart.

2. Is there a particular issue that motivated you to run for office?

There has been an ongoing appointment problem going on for years. Right now half of our elected officials are currently appointed and that isn't representative of what this town necessarily wants. I will ensure that special elections are instituted like they are all over the country ... instead of hand-picking replacements.

3. Do you currently or have you ever held an elected office before, and if so, what office?

I have not.

4. As an elected official you will have to make decisions regarding zoning. What, if any, is your experience with zoning and how will it benefit the voters if you are elected?

I don't have experience with zoning, however, I see and am told of a lot of questionable zoning issues (like approving construction on known marsh and wetland areas) and I will ensure that those likely infractions do not happen during my tenure.

5. Traffic is a major issue, especially during the tourist season. One concern is the lack of sidewalks and dedicated bike paths. Do you agree this is a concern and if so, what would you like to see changed or added regarding sidewalks and bike paths?

I agree that during tourist season there is a major traffic-ability issue in the town. I will push to get sidewalks added so that locals and tourists alike are able to transit safely to and from the island in an effort to cut down on beach traffic. The Greenway project has been talked about for years and most of us have seen little to no movement in that program.

6. Our area is unique in the fact that we are comprised of several small towns and two counties. Do you feel it is important to work alongside the neighboring towns/counties and are there any specific issues you want addressed or feel needs more work?

Absolutely! Holly Ridge is coining their town as the Gateway to Topsail ... and historically we have not partnered with them to ensure we are supporting each other. I will ensure that a new relationship with Holly Ridge is established and we do as much as we can to help each other. Additionally, Holly Ridge (Onslow County) has struggled with overcrowding in their schools like we have; I would propose that our town and theirs look to encourage, facilitate, and/or look for funding for a private school (K-12) in Holly Ridge so that it will ease the overcrowding in both of our towns/counties schools. I know that everyone can't afford private schools (but there are enough that can and are looking to have another option for their childrens' education), however, having one that both towns are able to use will relieve the pressure of overcrowding that all of our schools are seeing/feeling. Historically, our town has taken the stance that the county will take care of this issue, however, I believe that our mayor needs to be the biggest advocate for our towns' youth.

7. Hurricanes are a way of life in coastal areas. 1) Do you feel your town is properly prepared to handle a major storm? 2) What improvements, if any, would you like to see take place, regarding communication, shelters, or staff?

I don't believe our town is able to handle a major storm, however, they have done an adequate job in the past to do what they can. In an effort to improve how we manage a major storm next time, we absolutely need to do a number of things to ensure the town is ready. For instance, we should designate local hurricane shelters and if there aren't enough then we should work with our neighboring towns (which we historically haven't done) to make sure that we have something for everyone that can't afford to evacuate. Additionally, we need to conduct practice runs every year prior to hurricane season to ensure that everyone from the town employees to the local residents know what to do when this does eventually happen again.

8. If elected and a proposal was created regarding term limits, would you support it?

I would 100%, without hesitation support term limits. Term limits encourage fresh perspectives and stays in tune with what the public voice is currently echoing.

9. As time is always precious, do you agree that as an elected official, it is your responsibility to learn about the topics to be discussed ahead of time to help expedite discussions and decisions during the meetings?

This is without a shadow of a doubt a requirement that all of our elected officials should be required to do.

10. If your community has paid parking: What issues do you have regarding the current program and would you work to change or alter the existing program in your community?

There are a number of issues with the paid parking. To start, only two passes are given to each home even though there might be more than two drivers in every home. From what I understand, the paid parking was created to help raise money during the summer months to offset beach repair after major storms; however, the extended time tables don't make sense ... there should only be paid parking from Memorial Day to Labor Day which coincide with logical summer time frames. Additionally, there should be a tapered payment process for locals that live in the ETJ, and our neighboring towns that used to frequent our beaches but hesitate to do so now. Moreover, businesses on the island have to pay extra to get additional parking passes so that their employees don't have to pay to come to work ... these issues really need to be sorted out and it's difficult to articulate all of the possible solutions ... but changes absolutely need to be made so that the town isn't excluding our businesses, locals and our neighbors.

11. Tell me something about yourself that may be of interest to the community.

I have been married for 26 years and have 3 wonderful children. I served 4.5 years in the Navy as a rescue swimmer and 20 years as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps. I have circumnavigated the globe on many occasions and see how things work effectively ... and ineffectively. I am proud to be part of this community and will strive to be a great leader for this town.


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