Candidates from opposite ends of the county appear poised to square off for one of the new “super” district seats on the Wake Board of Commissioners.
Democratic Morrisville councilwoman Vicki Scroggins-Johnson on Thursday filed to run for the Wake board in District B, which encompasses most Raleigh suburbs while snaking around the county’s entire border.
Scroggins-Johnson will face former board chairman Phil Matthews, a Republican from Garner, nnless additional candidates enter the race in either or both parties, forcing a primary contest.
Scroggins-Johnson, a certified project manager at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, was elected to a four-year term on the Morrisville Town Council in 2013. She defeated an incumbent, also a Democrat, after promising to focus on relieving traffic congestion.
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Scroggins-Johnson is president of the Savannah neighborhood association. The neighborhood straddles Morrisville Carpenter Road, one of the busiest streets in town.
She describes herself as a moderate Democrat who supports decisions made by the all-Democratic Wake board, which earlier this year raised property taxes 3.65 cents per $100 in property valuation to help fund the county school system.
Thursday, Scroggins-Johnson promised to focus on growth, education and transit if elected to the board of commissioners.
She thinks voters will connect with her because she has experience dealing with growth-related issues. In contrast to Republicans who controlled the Wake board until 2014, Scroggins-Johnson said, she is willing to consider views of residents and politicians of all backgrounds and political stripes.
“I felt like they were not open to listening,” Scroggins-Johnson said of the former Republican board, which Matthews chaired.
“When people had concerns about schools, about roads, it seemed like they (Republican commissioners) weren’t receptive,” she said. “That’s important to me, that we have open communication.”
For their part, Matthews and the two other Republican board candidates are promising to emphasize fiscal conservatism on the board while boosting teacher pay.
After Scroggins-Johnson joined the Morrisville council, it funded and approved a redesign of the Morrisville Carpenter Road-Davis Drive intersection. The town is still waiting for construction funding, she said. The council also came to an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to extend McCrimmon Parkway.
Morrisville Mayor Mark Stohlman, a Republican, describes Scroggins-Johnson as a thoughtful, deliberate councilwoman who’s easy to get along with.
“She definitely likes to think of things as a project manager,” Stohlman said. “She’s always pressing for more details and have visuals.”
Scroggins-Johnson is the first Morrisville resident to run for the Wake board since 2010, when Democrat Steve Rao – now a Morrisville councilman – lost to incumbent Republican Tony Gurley.
As of Thursday, District B was one of three contested board races. Five are up for election in November.
Incumbent Democrat Caroline Sullivan and Republican Craig Ralph, both of Raleigh, are running in District A.
Former Raleigh city councilman John Odom, a Republican, and Democrat Greg Ford are running in District 6.
Former Wake commissioner Erv Portman, a Democrat from Cary, is the lone candidate in District 4 and incumbent Democrat James West of Raleigh is the lone candidate in District 5.