The Vice Chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners describes himself as a local boy and a second-generation county commissioner -- after his father.
Democratic candidate Jonathan Barfield is running for a second term on the County Board. As WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn learned, the assistant pastor at New Beginnings Christian Church meets regularly to pray with a fellow commissioner who happens to sit at the opposite end of the political spectrum.
Jonathan Barfield says on most Tuesday mornings, he and fellow commissioner Jason Thompson get together to talk, hold one another accountable, and pray for guidance.
“Outside of Republican and Democrat, we’re people. And at the end of the day, you’ve got to serve the needs of the entire community. But it starts with him and I talking and having dialogue.”
One of Barfield’s top priorities is getting the WASTEC Incinerator up and running so that garbage stops piling up in the county landfill.
“25-30 years down the road another generation will be trying to figure out what to do with all this trash because we can no longer store it in NHC – and it may cost the citizens more money long-term.”
An equally important issue to Barfield is economic development. He says officials have only allocated about $300k even though the county identifies it as a top priority. He calls that a drop in the bucket.
“But we need jobs here. We need good jobs, good-paying jobs. Clean jobs. Green jobs – I guess the term would be.”
And he makes no secret of his opposition to a Titan Cement plant in the area -- against the advice of the New Hanover County attorney. Barfield says no one knows when or if Titan will apply for a special-use permit. But if he keeps his opinion to himself based on a what-if proposition -- he says he wouldn’t be able to comment publicly on any issue.
Listen for WHQR’s full series on the candidates for New Hanover County Commissioner.