Elections

Wake County Commissioner seeking re-election

Matt Calabria, left, with wife Molly holding the Bible was sworn in as a Wake County Commissioners on Dec. 1, 2014.
Matt Calabria, left, with wife Molly holding the Bible was sworn in as a Wake County Commissioners on Dec. 1, 2014. N&O file photo

Despite past intentions to run on the state level, Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria will file for re-election.

Calabria is finishing up his first term on the board representing District 2, which covers the southern most portion of Wake County. Former Wake County Commissioner Lindy Brown filed for the seat earlier this week.

“I’m motivated to continue the meaningful work we’ve been doing,” Calabria, 34, said. “We need to continue investing in public education, implement the public transit plan that I worked to pass just a couple of years ago and tackle important issues such as mental health, the opiate epidemic and affordable housing. I’ve shown I’ve been an effective advocate for these issues and I’m very proud of the progress I’ve been able to make.”

Calabria and fellow Democrat Jen Ferrell had both planned to run for a seat in the state legislature against seven-term Republican Nelson Dollar. However, because of a recent Supreme Court decision, older districts drawn last year by the legislature are being used in Wake and Mecklenburg counties instead of newer ones. Now, neither Calabria and Ferrell live inside District 36.

“With surgical precision, they drew a new district line right through Matt’s neighborhood, gerrymandering him out of his own district by taking the unusual step of splitting his voting precinct,” according to a campaign news release.

Improving measures for food-insecure children, writing the county’s living wage ordinance and improving housing affordability were some of the successes Calabria touted.

“My goal has always been to serve the people of Wake County, and there’s too much at stake to sit on the sidelines in this election,” Calabria said. “Now more than ever, it is vital to have strong progressive voices who can effectively move Wake County forward and defend it from the legislature’s reckless agenda.”

Brown, 60, served on the board of commissioners from 2006 to 2010 and announced she planned to run for the district after Calabria said he’d seek a seat at the state level. It’s unfortunate, she said, that he’s been put in this spot but she’s been asked to stay in the race.

“I have too many people who are supporting my campaign,” she said.

Brown’s primary concern is increasing funding to the school system, including increased support for social workers and school resource officers.

Wake County commissioner candidates must live within the districts they run in, but are voted on by everyone in the county. The primary is May 8.

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