The Dare County League of Women Voters, in partnership with the N.C. Coastal Federation, is sponsoring virtual candidate forums via Zoom later this month for the Dare County Board of Commissioners and Dare County Board of Education races.

We congratulate the Dare LWV for bringing voters their traditional election-year forums for local candidates despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Dare County voters have no other opportunity than these events to see and hear their potential representatives respond in a nonpartisan setting to questions that they themselves ask.      

The eight candidates running for the five seats up for election on the County Board of Commissioners will appear in a webinar on Tues., Sept. 22, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and the five candidates vying for a seat on the Board of Education will appear in a webinar on Thurs., Sept. 24, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

To register for the Board of Commissioners webinar on Sept. 22, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gZbhsNwrTW-O9gafD5c-Ag

To register for the Board of Commissioners webinar on Sept. 22, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gZbhsNwrTW-O9gafD5c-Ag

After you register to attend the virtual forum, a link enabling you to join the webinar at the assigned date and time will be emailed to you.


Each of the county boards has seven members, who represent a total of five geographic districts in Dare and serve four-year staggered terms. Elections take place in November of even-numbered years.

District 1 covers Roanoke Island and the Dare County mainland and is served by two commissioners and two BOE representatives. District 2 encompasses Nags Head, Colington, and Kill Devil Hills and is also served by two representatives on each board. District 3 includes Duck, Southern Shores, and Kitty Hawk, and District 4 covers Hatteras Island. District 5 is an at-large district.

The seven members of each board elect their own chairperson and vice-chairperson.

The chairperson of the Dare County Board of Commissioners also serves as the chairperson of the Dare County Control Group, which is the county’s governing body in an emergency, such as the one we are currently experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

All of the BOC and BOE candidates whose names appear on your 2020 ballot (see photo above for back side of the two-sided ballot) are participating in the League’s forums, even those who are running unopposed. They include, in the order that they are listed on the ballot:

BOC, District 1: Wally Overman, Republican, unopposed

BOC, District 2: Amanda Hooper Walters, Democrat; Robert L. (Bob) Woodard, Sr., Republican

BOC, District 3: Steve House, Republican; Kathy McCullough-Testa, Democrat

BOC, District 4: Danny Couch, Democrat, unopposed

Both Mr. House, the current District 3 (Southern Shores, Duck, Kitty Hawk) incumbent, and Ms. McCullough-Testa live in Southern Shores.

There currently are no women or African Americans on the Dare County Board of Commissioners.

The candidates running for a seat on the Dare County Board of Education include, as they are listed on the ballot:

BOE, At-Large: Charles Parker, Democrat; David Twiddy, Republican

BOE, District 1: Bea Basnight, Democrat; Carl Woody II, Republican

BOE, District 2: Jen Alexander, Democrat; Susan Bothwell, Republican

BOE, District 4: Mary Ellon Balance, Republican, running unopposed

Mr. Twiddy, of Manteo, is the District 5 incumbent; his opponent, Mr. Parker, lives in Kill Devil Hills. Both Ms. Basnight, who is the current BOE chairperson, and Mr. Woody are from Manteo.

Ms. Alexander, of Colington, and Ms. Bothwell, of Nags Head, are vying for the District 2 seat that incumbent Harvey Hess is vacating at the end of his term. 

Ms. Balance, of Hatteras, is the incumbent District 4 representative. She also serves currently as vice chairperson.

As The Beacon reported on 9/11/20, Margaret Lawler, a Southern Shores homeowner, currently represents District 3. Her term expires in November 2022.

There currently are three women and four men on the Board of Education, one of whom is African-American.

The League is already collecting questions for the candidate forums. You may submit questions for the BOC and BOE candidates by email to DareLWV@gmail.com. Be sure to specify the forum and include your name and town of residence.

Both virtual forums will be videotaped and available to be viewed on YouTube, Current TV, and other local media outlets. 


A vacancy exists on the Town Planning Board for an alternate to serve out the remainder of the three-year term of Lynda Burek, who was appointed to the Board as a regular member on Aug. 18.

Ms. Burek, who replaced regular member Don Sowder on the full Board, initially was appointed on Jan. 7, 2020 to replace Tony DiBernardo as first alternate to the Planning Board after Mr. DiBernardo was named on the same day to the full Board. The first alternate’s term runs until June 30, 2021.

Second Alternate Robert McClendon, who also was appointed Jan. 7, 2020, replaced Michael Basilone, who resigned. Mr. McClendon’s term also runs through June 30, 2021.

Mr. Sowder resigned from the Planning Board on Aug. 1, after just a year. Ms. Burek will serve out the remainder of his term, which runs until June 30, 2022.

If you are interested in applying for the Planning Board vacancy, which is a voluntary position, you may submit an application to info@southernshores-nc.gov or to the Town Hall, 5375 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Southern Shores, NC 27949.

You will find an application form, as well as information about the Planning Board, which also serves as the Town Board of Adjustment, at:

Besides Ms. Burek and Mr. DiBernardo, Southern Shores homeowners Ed Lawler, David Neal, and Andy Ward are on the Planning Board. Mr. Ward is the chairperson.

John Finelli serves on the Board as the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction representative, voting only on matters pertaining to Martin’s Point. Mr. Finelli is a Dare County appointee.


As expected, the Town Council unanimously approved on Sept. 1 the hiring of a traffic engineer consultant to conduct a study of the Southern Shores summertime traffic and make recommendations for relieving the cut-through traffic and otherwise improving congested conditions. It is anticipated that Town Manager Cliff Ogburn will present to the Council at its Oct. 6 meeting the proposals he has received from consultants so that it can choose the one to conduct the study, which the Council authorized funding up to $7,500.

The Beacon will update this story as soon as we can. We found it ironic that certain Town Council members insisted at the Sept. 1 meeting that the study be conducted without “emotion” and “bias” when, in fact, their bias against doing anything about the cut-through traffic has thwarted discussion about previous action initiatives for years.

Yesterday we observed a steady flow of vacationer traffic heading north on Hickory Trail, which was the heaviest around 4 to 5 p.m. We cannot recall ever noticing weekend cut-through traffic this late in the calendar year.

Dare County lately has been reporting few new COVID-19 cases, and nearly all of them can be traced to direct close contact with a person known to be infected. We will give you the latest COVID-19 numbers in our next report.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 9/13/20

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