On this edition of CoastLine, we meet two of the five candidates seeking a seat on the Board of Aldermen in Wrightsville Beach. We’ll also meet one person running for Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 2.
This 225-year-old city spanning less than four square miles near the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick County was voted America’s Happiest Seaside Town by Coastal Living in 2015. Today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 36-hundred people call Southport home.
Southport is divided into two wards – each represented by three people to make up a six-member board. The Mayor of the City of Southport serves a two-year term. Aldermen serve four-year terms which are staggered.
Segment 1: Lora Sharkey - Southport Board of Aldermen, Ward 2
Lora Sharkey is the current Vice Chair of the Southport Planning Board on which she has served for two years. She also volunteers at Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter, Caswell Avenue Community Garden, Coastal Water Watch, and the Southport Beautification Committee.
Before moving to North Carolina, Lora Sharkey spent 24 years as a professional firefighter and EMT in Prince William County, Virginia. She was one of the first female firefighters to advance to Lieutenant. She was a two-term governor appointee to the Virginia Fire Services Board, and she was elected vice president of the local Professional Firefighters Association.
Now, on to Wrightsville Beach:
Wrightsville Beach is a town in New Hanover County with a population of slightly more than 2500. About 98% of the population is white with a median household income, according to the 2010 census, of about $64,000. This is a race that has five candidates vying for two open seats. Only one of the incumbents with an expiring term is running for re-election.
Segment 2: Sounia Chaney - Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen
Sounia Chaney is a Realtor in Wrightsville Beach who has been a PTA President and run a homeowners’ association. She has volunteered as an EMT, an ambulance driver, life guard, and ski patrol. She says she’s traveled to almost every state in the U.S. and is a first-generation immigrant. She’s also volunteered in the Salvation Army kitchen and as a bell-ringer.
Segment 3: Pat Bradford -- Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen
Pat Bradford began her entrepreneurial career as a Real Estate Broker. She has run an award-winning local newspaper, Lumina News, and she's currently at the helm of a monthly magazine, Wrightsville Beach.
For the last 17 years, Pat Bradford has served as editor and journalist for her publications – first the magazine – then the newspaper. She became publisher of both in 2003. Earlier this year, she ended her ownership and publisher role with Lumina News.