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Q&A — Clemmons Village Council candidates

With the 2019 municipal election less than two weeks away, The Courier once again is providing a Q&A for readers to get answers from each of the candidates on questions regarding important topics in Clemmons.

Last week, we featured the mayoral race between incumbent John Wait and challenger Larry Kirby, and this week, we have Q&As with the six candidates running for three available council seats.

Candidates for council (in alphabetical order: Mary Cameron, Allen Daniel, Pamela (PJ) Lofland, Matt Moger, Mike Rogers and Chris Wrights):

Mary Cameron

Age: 76

Family: Married 51 years with two children and three grandchildren

What made you decide to run for public office — first time or again?

I first chose to run in 1993. Clemmons recently incorporated, and the village wanted to control its own destiny, and I wanted to help shape the future of my community. In the past 26 years, I have accumulated a wealth of information about the village and how municipal governments operate. I’ve also worked to establish relationships with county commissioners and state officials. My goal is to use my skills and abilities as a former member of council to hit the ground running and keep Clemmons moving forward.

What area or areas of Clemmons are most in need of improvement, and what kinds of improvements do you believe are needed?

Lewisville-Clemmons Road, from I-40 to Stadium Drive, is most in need of improved traffic flow and safety. That is now in the hands of the DOT, but I believe the council can work with DOT. I suggest finding ways to close curb cuts and connecting properties internally from Stadium Drive to Hwy. 158 to make that segment of Lewisville-Clemmons Road safer. As we grow, our Comprehensive Plan is updated, and we have continued to insist that infrastructure upgrades be incorporated in every site plan. We need to maintain the high standards that have served us well.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Clemmons and what solution(s) would you propose?

Clemmons is facing increased pressure from surrounding counties, municipalities and the state to create industrial parks and de-annex properties within the village to suit a developer’s needs — actions that aren’t always in the best interest of our community. It is essential that village council members have strong, open working relationships with representatives from other communities and the state, so we can navigate these and other situations. Clemmons must control its own destiny and not succumb to pressure from outside influences.

What primary qualities qualify you to be elected on the council in Clemmons?

I have a proven track record of working with and learning from others in order to make sound decisions for all our citizens. I and others have worked together to ensure:

  • A low tax rate for residents. Today, Clemmons has the 34th lowest tax rate in N.C. out of 552 municipalities
  • World-class hospital and medical facilities
  • Outstanding schools for our children
  • A new library
  • Sidewalks and greenways

None of this happens by accident. Allow me to continue using my experience to benefit of this community we all love.

Allen Daniel

Age: 64

Family: Married to Lisa Whitley since November 2004; Daughter, Carrie, 14; Son, Benjamin 11

Occupation: Retired local government accounting software developer; part-time math tutor; part-time point-of-sale equipment support tech

What made you decide to run for public office — first time or again? 

This is my first time running for any public office. Since returning to Clemmons in 2007, I have stayed informed about issues such as the new library, the Lewisville-Clemmons Road project and the Idols Road Industrial Park. During the deliberation on the industrial park, I worked with others building grassroots opposition — going door-to-door to build a petition drive, speaking at council and commissioners’ meetings, and researching the stormwater impact. I enjoyed working as a team to make a difference, and decided I would like to become more involved in the future of Clemmons as a member of the village council.

What area or areas of Clemmons are most in need of improvement, and what kinds of improvements do you believe are needed?

The major area in need of improvement is Lewisville-Clemmons Road. We need to reduce accidents and improve traffic flow, without negatively impacting businesses. Other areas are the Moravian Heights neighborhood, and the level of crime there; neighborhoods whose streets are used as cut-throughs, and the resultant careless driving and speeding; and how and whether to develop undeveloped areas of Clemmons. The biggest hurdle in developing undeveloped areas is making sure improved infrastructure is in place ahead of development so we do not end up with another Lewisville-Clemmons Road and making sure the planned development does not negatively impact quality of life in Clemmons, especially for residents adjacent to the development.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Clemmons and what solution(s) would you propose? 

The biggest problem, by far, is the traffic on Lewisville-Clemmons Road between Peace Haven Road and Hwy. 158. I would like to research ways in which other cities have resolved their problem with similar shopping “strips.”  I firmly believe someone has come up with a solution better than the one proposed by NCDOT last spring. We have several years to do our homework, but we need to start doing the research and planning.

What primary qualities qualify you to be elected on the council in Clemmons? 

My primary qualification is my accounting expertise. Having worked with our finance director, Ann Stroud, from 1993 to 2015, as well as over 40 other towns and counties since 1979, I understand municipal accounting. I understand creating a budget and living within one, and that fund balance is an emergency fund, not money to be spent just because we have it.

During my career, I developed the ability to listen carefully to the needs of my customer, and to develop a complete, cost-effective solution to address those needs. Those values allowed me to serve some of my accounts for my entire career. Those same values will help me to be an effective member of the council: deep financial understanding; willingness to dig deeply for the best solution, and willingness to compromise, when necessary, to come to the best solution. But we also need someone willing to stand firm when a proposal jeopardizes our quality of life in the name of growth.

Pamela (PJ) Lofland

Age: 65

Family: Married 36 years to Maxwell Lofland. We have 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren.

Occupation: Small business owner

What made you decide to run for public office — first time or again?

I am running for another term to be able to help continue the progress we have made toward giving Clemmons a responsive, responsible council. We have made great strides toward modernization and transparency with our website and online broadcast of council meetings. We have given all those that have come to us with problems the respect they deserve. We strongly support our new businesses and local events, including our BMX park. I and Chris Wrights both want to continue to work with the NCDOT on the future impact of the median at I-40 and Lewisville Clemmons Road.

What area or areas of Clemmons are most in need of improvement, and what kinds of improvements do you believe are needed?

Connectivity and secondary roads to help alleviate some of the traffic tie-ups on Lewisville Clemmons Road along with wayfinding signage for our visitors, preservation of green spaces and sidewalks where feasible and affordable, would all be very helpful and resident/visitor friendly. Also, exploring the possibility of getting an exit at I-40 and Kinnamon Road to take more traffic away from Lewisville Clemmons Road could be an important step toward lowering our accident rate.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Clemmons and what solution(s) would you propose?

Stormwater runoff is a primary concern. Past development without stringent regulations in place has caused our community lakes to fill with debris. Concrete cannot absorb water, but preserved vegetative areas can. We cannot allow overdevelopment to erode our stream banks and damage our watersheds, whether inside or outside our boundaries. Keeping an eye on what the county planning board is doing close to our village boundaries is extremely important. Continue working to keep our land from being de-annexed for the purpose of high-density housing and heavy commercial development without the benefit of Clemmons water runoff regulations.

What primary qualities qualify you to be elected on the council in Clemmons?

Being passionate about my job, I will always listen to our residents and business owners on any issues that might arise, and if I can help, I will, going above and beyond when necessary and always keep my word. I have been self-employed all my adult life, and I am a self-starter. Every job I decide to do I take very seriously. Truly caring about making Clemmons the best place to live, citizen involvement and keeping taxpayers reassured that our council will never forget who pays the bills.

Matt Moger

Age: 35

Family: Wife, Ashley; children, Carsyn and Corinne

Occupation: Real estate investor 

What made you decide to run for public office — first time or again?

I have a deep-seated desire for service. In our business and in every organization that I am involved in, I want to leave it better than when I arrived.

What area or areas of Clemmons are most in need of improvement, and what kinds of improvements do you believe are needed?

As I drive through Clemmons, I notice certain roads that need some attention both inside neighborhoods, as well as some of the main roads. I believe it would be wise to get a jump on those before they become major issues.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Clemmons and what solution(s) would you propose?

Although our community is one of the best in Forsyth County, we are not immune to the effect of drug abuse. If we can continue to cultivate relationships with our students by getting them involved in local nonprofit projects as well as local government, the students may be willing to listen to positive messages from those of us who have seen those negative effects.

What primary qualities qualify you to be elected on the Council in Clemmons?

My purpose is service by developing relationships. Everything I touch must have an element of service. I have had the privilege of being voted on to serve with the boards of several nonprofit organizations over the past five years. In conjunction, I have grown a thriving business from zero. With those combinations, I am excited and ready to get to work for my neighbors in Clemmons.

Mike Rogers

Age: 65

Family: Wife, Betty, of 42 years; one son, Christopher

Occupation: Small business owner

What made you decide to run for public office — first time or again?

Being a lifelong resident of Forsyth County and having moved to Clemmons over 27 years ago, I have been involved in numerous civic, athletic and community activities. It was serving the local organizations, such as Southwest Forsyth Little League, the YMCA, Clemmons West Home Owners Association, Clemmons West Recreation Association and the forming of American Legion Post 522 Baseball Program, that I found very fulfilling and rewarding as it fostered a sense of community. Currently, I am serving on the Clemmons Food Pantry Board of Directors as vice president. I have served two terms for a total of six years on the village council previously, two of those years as mayor pro tem. I will use my previous experience and knowledge obtained through the UNC School of Government Local Leaders Academy to make informed decisions based on facts.

What area or areas of Clemmons are most in need of improvement, and what kinds of improvements do you believe are needed?

As in every growing community, making sure infrastructure keeps up with growth — in our case that means transportation infrastructure as Clemmons is a crossroads community heavily impacted by growth outside our village limits. I requested that numerous roadways within Clemmons and that continue outside of our boundaries be submitted for Federal Functional Classification, giving us the ability to request 100 percent funding for improvements when traffic conditions warrant or projections indicate future growth will outpace the capacity of those roads. I supported the NCDOT Idols Road Extension project to final realization. I championed the effort to complete Village Point Drive between Lewisville-Clemmons Road and Morgan Elementary. Funding was provided with the assistance of Rep. Donny Lambeth and Novant Health for a total allocation of $3.8 million. This project came in $576,418 under allocated funding and with zero cost to our village. I was able to secure a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant in the amount of $400,000, and $100,000 was secured from a Downtown Revitilization Grant. Both of those grants are earmarked for the Lewisville-Clemmons parallel roads. We call that being proactive and fiscally responsible.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Clemmons and what solution(s) would you propose?

We are an extremely fortunate community. However, we do have challenges… our biggest challenge is maintaining the incredible success we’ve enjoyed for the past 30-plus years. We have gotten safer as we grow. Our business sector is booming. Our schools are the best in the state. Our challenge is sustaining that success and the way we do it is by electing council representatives that have demonstrated the ability and willingness to make the decisions that promote continued prosperity, and smart, cost-efficient government.

What primary qualities qualify you to be elected on the council in Clemmons?

Proven commitment to our village. Proven competence. Proven consequences as a result of my votes and effort. As stated in an earlier question my willingness to give of my time, energy and monies to foster community and inclusiveness speaks for itself. I have been and will continue to be involved in my community. I have shown my ability to work with other local elected officials and with state-level representatives as well.

Chris Wrights

Age: 36

Family: Wife, Abbie; sons, Hudson 6, Weston 4, and a 2-year-old we’re fostering to adopt

Occupation: Realtor/property manager for Hunter Realty and Property Management; owner of Wrights Landscaping.

What made you decide to run for public office — first time or again?

I have been blessed to call Clemmons home my entire life, and it has been a great honor and privilege to serve the community on the village council the last four years. We as a council have been able to accomplish a lot of great things, such as like Village Point Drive, the Idols Road Extension and a Transportation Committee with a Transportation Improvement Manual to help solve speeding issues in neighborhoods. Despite that, there are still many ongoing projects that I would like to see through to completion, including the new library, the overlay plan and improvements to Lewisville-Clemmons Road.

What area or areas of Clemmons are most in need of improvement, and what kinds of improvements do you believe are needed?

Our road infrastructure as a whole is in need of improvements. As a council liaison to NCDOT, we are working on the Lewisville-Clemmons Road project. This project will include needed improvements on Lewisville-Clemmons Road at the interchanges with Peace Haven Road, Interstate 40, Hwy. 158, and the area between I-40 and Stadium Drive. Clemmons has started construction of a parallel road from Ramada Drive to Cook Avenue. Getting parallel roads constructed before the Lewisville-Clemmons Road project begins is essential. NCDOT has also began looking at the Interstate 40/Kinnamon Road intersection and the Stadium Drive/Hwy. 158 intersection to see what improvements can be made. The paving of our neighborhood streets is something we need to make a priority of as well.

What do you see as the biggest problem facing Clemmons and what solution(s) would you propose?

The biggest problem I see facing Clemmons in the future is growth just outside of our municipal boundaries, including south of Idols Road and the Blanket Bottom area. Now that sewer is available along the northern end of Harper Road, Blanket Bottom is an area that could explode with development. Development in these areas will create added stress on our already overcrowded roadways. The council has recently started working with the Town of Lewisville to create a partnership in planning for the future growth of this area. The same can be said for trying to work with the county to ensure that any development south of Idols Road is done in a manner that fits with the residential areas around it.

What primary qualities qualify you to be elected on the council in Clemmons?

I believe I bring a good combination of youth and experience to the council. I have gained a large amount of experience in government through my two years on the Lewisville Beautification Committee, three years on the Clemmons Planning Board and four years on the Clemmons Council. I have also shown to be someone who others like to work with. In my four years on the Council, I have served with two different groups of people and although we have not always seen eye to eye on every issue, I have shown the ability to set those differences aside to work together for the better good of the community.

  • Compiled by Jim Buice

Next week: A brief overview of the Nov. 5 election for the local municipalities.