Rob Zapple is one of four Democratic candidates running for a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.
Zapple is a local home-builder who owns two small businesses with his wife, Michele. And it’s that vantage point, he tells WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn, that makes New Hanover County – to him -- the Tale of Two Counties.
“There’s the New Hanover County that can’t and there’s the New Hanover County that can.”
Rob Zapple says the difference between the two boils down to a focus on cutting and contracting versus economic growth and expansion. And to him, that’s the paramount issue facing the county.
“When we can tackle that problem and start getting job growth, everything else will start mushrooming in a positive way around all of that.”
Zapple also says investing in education is necessary if New Hanover County is to attract clean, knowledge-based industry.
“Companies will come to areas that have an educated population. And I’m talking about supporting it at the elementary, secondary… community college and university level.”
Local government officials, says Zapple, are overlooking existing resources for job creation. It’s the larger corporations that hold an important key to economic growth. So what does he think county commissioners could be doing to spur that growth?
“Reaching out to those corporations and asking them as county officials what we can do to help them expand their workforce so that we can create more jobs for the under-employed and the unemployed here in NHC.”
On the subject of a cement plant in Castle Hayne, Zapple offers this:
“I have great concerns about any pollution that is created by any new or existing companies in New Hanover County.”
DISCLOSURE: Rob Zapple is a Board Member of Friends of Public Radio, the governing body of WHQR.
Listen this week for WHQR’s full series on the candidates for New Hanover County Commissioner.