CoastLine Candidate Forums 2015: Kure Beach Mayor and Town Council

Sep 17, 2015

In this first CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, we bring you the four candidates running for Kure Beach Mayor and Town Council.

In the Town of Kure Beach, two candidates are competing for the mayoral seat.  On the council side, two candidates are running unopposed for two open seats. 

Kure Beach Town Council Members serve staggered four-year terms. The Mayor serves a two-year term.  Members are elected in a non-partisan election every two years.  

Candidates for mayor:  

Dean Lambeth, the Incumbent, has served as Mayor of Kure Beach for three terms.  Before his election as Mayor, he served one term as a Kure Beach Town Council Member, and he’s been active in local politics since 1996.  Dean Lambeth recently sold Lambeth Pool Company – a business he’d owned for three decades.  He is married to Betty Lambeth and has a daughter, Courtney.  Another daughter, Christy, passed away in 2000.  Dean Lambeth says he’s enjoyed making friends in Kure Beach, Raleigh, and Washington, DC.

Emilie Swearingen has served as a member of the Kure Beach Town Council since 2010.  As her Council term expires this year, she’s chosen to challenge Dean Lambeth in the race for Mayor.  Emilie Swearingen was a state and local government employee for more than 30 years.  Since retiring, she has also served on the New Hanover County Library Advisory Board, WAVE Transit Foundation, and the North Carolina League of Municipalities Tax & Finance Legislative Action Committee.  Ms. Swearingen volunteers for the Special Olympics, Island Women, Civitan, Carolina Beach Inlet Association, and the Katie B. Hines Senior Center.  She has two adult sons and a life partner, Bob Unsworth, of 24 years.

Candidates for Town Council (2 open seats):

The race began with three candidates, but John Ellen dropped out of the race several weeks ago. 

David Heglar is the Incumbent, having served on Council since 2010.  After six years on Active Duty in the U.S. Nuclear Navy, David Heglar worked in engineering and management. He continues to serve in the Navy Reserve, most recently on active duty in 2008 in support of Special Forces Operations in the Middle East.  He is currently a Project Engineer with Corning.  He brings seven years of experience as a town commissioner, ten years as an Emergency Manager, twenty as a volunteer fireman, twenty-two as a licensed Professional Engineer and twenty-eight years as a Naval Officer to the challenges of the town.  He is a third-generation resident of Kure Beach. 

Joseph Whitley is running unopposed for the other open seat on Kure Beach Town Council.  He has worked for Verizon Wireless for over ten years. He is active in his community, volunteering for The Island Men, Surfrider, and the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce. He also currently serves as Vice-Chair on the Kure Beach Planning and Zoning Board.

Format / Rules:

Candidates have 90 seconds to answer questions from Moderator Rachel Lewis Hilburn and CoastLine Producer Isabelle Shepherd.  We rotate the order in which candidates answer.  There are no Opening Statements in order to allow more time for questions. 

We incorporate audience questions as they come in, and as we can.  Members of the public are encouraged to arrive between 11:30 AM and 11:55 AM on Wednesdays to be part of the live studio audience in the MC Erny Gallery until Election Day.  Listeners are also encouraged to email questions at any time (including during the live Wednesday broadcasts) to CoastLine@whqr.org. 

In the final segment, each candidate has 60 seconds to deliver a Closing Statement.