CoastLine Candidate Interviews: Mayor of Leland - Bozeman vs. Kent

Oct 5, 2017

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September.  The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people.  That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years.  Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area despite its proximity to Wilmington.  That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.  

Arguably, the biggest challenge facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and needs that come from a large influx of people.  A quarter of Brunswick County’s population is 65 and over, and it’s likely that Leland, as a retirement destination for Baby Boomers, has a higher-than-average senior population.

The Town Council is made up of four members who serve staggered four-year terms. The Mayor serves a two-year term. 

There are two candidates hoping to be the next Mayor of Leland – the incumbent, Brenda Bozeman, and one challenger, Lee Kent.

Segment 1:  Lee Kent

Lee Kent is challenging the incumbent, Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman, for the seat this year.  His Facebook page says he was born in New Bern, NC and moved to Jacksonville around age five.   He went to work for Waffle House and moved with that company around Georgia, then Florida, then back to North Carolina in Leland over 20 years ago.  He says he was responsible for 8 to 12 stores during his last years with that company.  Now a local small business owner, he operates five Vapor Shacks in Wilmington, Leland, Ogden, Southport, and Whiteville – retail stores offering e-cigarettes, the juice, and gear.  He also owns a ladies' clothing boutique called Kent and Co., and he recently opened a hot dog restaurant in Leland called Brodee Dogs. 

Segment 2 - Brenda Bozeman

Brenda Bozeman is the first woman to be elected Mayor of Leland.  She is completing her third term and is seeking a fourth.  But her last six years as Mayor do not encapsulate her involvement in the development of Leland.  She served on Leland’s Planning Board when it first formed in the 1990s, and she continued in that role for more than 9 years.  She won her first seat on Town Council in 2003 and was chosen Mayor Pro Tem in 2005.  That’s a position she kept until 2011 when she was elected Mayor. 

Brenda Bozeman is a native of the Cape Fear region and has two children, four grandchildren, and has been married for 47 years.  She’s also worked as a full-time Realtor for 30 years. 

She helped establish the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and served on the Steering Committee for Brunswick County's "Brunswick Tomorrow".