Michael Page is chairman of the Durham County Board Of Commissioners. He was first elected as a member in 2004. He is also a full-time pastor at Antioch Baptist Church.
I invited Page to participate in a Q & A. I did not give him much time. I indicated the answers needed to be short. Wow, but did he comply: I’ve never gotten so many questions answered in one column.
Q: Do people around town call you Rev. Page, Pastor Page, Preacher Page, Commissioner Page, Mr. Page, Michael? Wow, that’s a lot of possibilities.
Page: All of them!
Q: As a county commissioner, how do you feel about the defacements on the statue downtown and on the Confederate soldier memorial at Maplewood Cemetery?
Page: I believe citizens should be respected for their beliefs; however, they should not disrespect a community.
Q: As a minister, what would you say?
Page: I think that anything that does not promote a unified community should be removed from that community.
Q: As an American...
Page: Everyone has a right to think the way they so desire.
Q: Do we still live in a racist society in this country, to a degree?
Page: Unfortunately, we still do live in a racist society. Look in Raleigh at our legislature as a great example of racist and classist. I would love to believe otherwise.
Q: What makes you tick?
Page: Passionate people.
Q: Do you like being in charge, to an extent, as county board of commissioners chair?
Page: I like being in charge because I have low tolerance for procrastination and foolishness.
Q: What things do you really like about being on the board of commissioners; what things could you do without?
Page: I like serving the citizens, learning and growing with government and getting in the community. I could do without politics when it comes to citizens’ livelihoods, excessive meetings when making no progress.
Q: The shootings in the South Carolina church. How did you feel right after hearing, and hearing about the alleged gunman? How do you feel now?
Page: I felt terrible for the families, I mean really terrible. It could have been my church. I realized as a leader, pastor, that he is very sick and like much of our country, in need of mental health services.
Q: What thing are you proudest of being involved in during your time as county commissioner?
Page: Seeing jobs come to this community and people get employed.
Q: What are you least proud of?
Page: We have not gotten our schools where they need to be.
Q: Do you ever put your foot in your mouth? I don’t mean literally.
Page: Yes. When I speak before hearing the entire story.
Q: What’s the single best social program in the city/county?
Page: Project Build is making progress on a difficult population.
Q: What would be illuminating to know about your parents and your childhood?
Page: My parents were wise, strict disciplinarians, and my childhood was a humbling experience.
Q: I often say we’re all just kids who got taller. What kind of kid were you?
Q: What don’t we know about you that it’s better we didn’t know ... even though I’d like you to tell me right now.
Page: I don’t tolerate ignorance well.
Q: What are three monumental moments or events or happenings in your life at any age?
Page: My undergraduate graduation, my post doc graduation and my marriage.
Q: Please complete. For fun, “I ...”
Page: …listen to good sermons.
Q: What’s the best meal you’ve had?
Page: Lobster tails and blackened steaks.
Q: Which fairly new eateries in Durham do you favor?
Page: R & B’s, JuJu’s and Dynamik Duo Desserts.
Q: Which old standbys can’t you resist?
Page: My recliner.
Q: Would you win an arm wrestling match with Mayor Bell? Could you run farther than he could in a 5K?
Page: Yes I would, not a problem. He is good at running; I won’t take that challenge.
Q: Tell me about your last sermon: what was the bottom line?
Page: Last sermon was “Go Fish.” We have work to do to change this world.
Q: Do you think prayers are answered?
Page: YES, I DO.
Q: Your favorite TV shows, past or present.
Page: “Golden Girls.”
Q: What are you good at, and what are you not so good at?
Page: Good at cooking, not good at negotiating.
Q: What’s a takeaway message you have for folks in the county and city? The platform is yours.
Page: To give to your country as much as you can. Life is only for a limited time so we may as well do something good.