Name as it appears on the ballot: Donald Mial

Campaign website:

Profession/occupation: Retired N.C Department.of Public Safety 

Party affiliation: Democrat

Years lived in Wake County: 62

1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing Wake County? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?

  1. Growth and Sustainability– Wake County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. It is important that we continue to be intentional about managing growth by implementing transit plan passed by voters and ensuring a broad range of mobility options from commuter rail, expanded bus rapid transit, to more sidewalks. We must be conscious of our water supply and protecting our water supply from pollution, preserving green spaces, and ensuring better zoning and planning that supports affordable housing.
  2. Health and Human Services –Wake County should help ensure basic necessities for our most vulnerable residents including access to quality healthcare, clean water, and affordable housing. There should be more workforce housing, people who work here should be able to live here. We also need to consider programs and or explore tax efforts to keep seniors in their homes, especially where their taxes have increased significantly in recent re-evaluations. Building upon relationships with the nonprofit community such as DHIC, Habitat for Humanity, CASA, and others who are creating housing options is also key.
  3.  Education– we should take a comprehensive approach to education from Pre-K to higher learning, this involves supporting early childhood development through organizations such as Wake County Smart Start, and funding WCPSS and Wake Technical Community College, both of which are the largest school systems in the state.

If elected, I will address these issues first with my colleagues and vote in favor of policy changes and funding to support these issues. I will also work community leaders, stakeholders and municipal leaders to get input on the changes they would like to see and work collaboratively with them to implement those changes.

2. With Wake County’s rapid growth comes challenges related to suburban sprawl, transportation, and affordable housing. What have been the county’s successes in managing this growth in recent years? What about its failures? What would you do differently?

One of Wake County’s greatest successes was the creation of the Housing Affordability & Community Revitalization led by Director Lorena McDowell. Also, the opening of Oak City Cares was momentous and represented a wonderful partnership between a municipality, a nonprofit, and Wake County Government. Another example of a successful partnership would be when the county worked with the Helen Wright Center to fund additional beds for women experiencing homelessness.

The County has also developed a “Comprehensive Partner-based plan” called “PLANWAKE” that guides the framework of our most quickly growing communities. The PLANWAKE plan expands over a 10-year period and addresses the needs of the twelve municipalities.  Also, as a veteran, I appreciate the county’s efforts to address veterans’ homelessness including with annual Capital Area Veterans Stand Down event at the South Wilmington Street Center.

Failures are not addressing gentrification in areas such as SE Raleigh and not doing enough to keep seniors in their homes who cannot afford tax increases. For example, inner city Southeast Raleigh has displaced many Senior Citizen Renters, who cannot afford rent or pay taxes on their 40- and 50-year-old family homes. Also, seniors have displaced due to increased rent and the general loss of affordable rents.  Also, not enough workforce housing and much of the housing being built across Wake County are not affordable. 

3. What should be the county’s role in addressing issues of economic inequality, such as gentrification and affordable housing? Do you believe the current board is doing enough to help its municipalities manage Wake County’s growth in order to prevent current residents from being priced out? 

Wake County should be a leader and convener when it comes to addressing economic inequality, including gentrification. Yes, I believe the county is doing a great job working with municipalities managing Wake County’s growth.  For example, in October 2021, the Wake County Board of Commissioners approved $10.5 million dollar loan to preserve existing and naturally occurring affordable housing with Self-Help Ventures Funds called “The Affordable Housing Preservation Fund”.

That said, while there are many factors outside of the county’s control, there is certainly still room for growth in this area. The county must continue and enhance efforts to engage municipalities around smart planning and be a convener in these important conversations to ensure we are all working from the same playbook with the same information, data, and goals. 

4. The Wake County Public School system is asking for a $56 million budget increase next year to hire more employees and raise teacher pay. Given the General Assembly’s longstanding reticence to adequately fund public schools, does this seem like a reasonable request to you? 

I am in the process of reviewing the request but firmly support investments in the WCPSS system. Our students are our most prized asset for our future and there is also the reality that WCPSS is among the largest employers in our county. Therefore, we must ensure WCPSS employees are paid competitively so they can live, work, and play in Wake County and we can attract and retain the best employees. I will vote to support funding for early childhood development with organizations such as Wake County Smart Start, WCPSS and Wake Tech.

5. Wake County has received $216 million from the American Rescue Plan and so far, has allocated about half of those funds. Has the county done a good job investing that money into its COVID-19 response, healthcare, housing, public safety, and other community initiatives? What would you like to see the county do with the remainder of those funds?

Yes, I believe the county has done a great job in its COVID-19 response. The County has allocated roughly half of the federal funds for COVID-19 recovery (mask, community health and vitality services). The county has engaged the community and ensured testing sites and access to vaccines by working collaboratively with municipalities and community groups to ensure widespread distribution across the county and with intentionality when it comes to the hardest hit populations such as our communities of color.  I would like to see the county continue to support businesses who were hurt by the pandemic and to continue ensuring access to testing sites and vaccines particularly to vulnerable populations.

6. How would your experience―in politics or otherwise in your career―make you an asset to the county’s decision-making process? Be specific about how this experience would relate to your prospective office.

My government background and other relevant experience that I would bring to this position are numerous. As someone, whom father and grandfather were sharecroppers they taught me the important of hard work. They also taught me the need and value of education of which I will bring to the table.

I also bring other life skills to the position and education.  I hold a Certification as a CPR instructor and Certification as a General Instructor through N.C Criminal Justice Standard Commission. I am also presently serving as Secretary of Raleigh Board of Adjustment and as Vice Chair of the Wake County Board of Adjustment, and I previously served on the Wake County Board of Elections. Also, I was appointed by the Governor’s Office to the Victim Compensation Commission. I hold a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Masters in Public Administration, B.A History and Government as well as an Associate in Paralegal Technology.

Upon retiring from the N.C Department of Public Safety, I received the state’s highest civilian award, the “Order of the Longleaf Pine” The way this experience would relate to the prospective of this office are many, I am in my fourth term as a member of Wake County Board of Adjustment and starting my fourth term as well on the City of Raleigh Board of Adjustment. Thereby, giving me over twelve years of experience serving on a board along with my years that I served on the Wake County Board of Elections and N.C Victim Compensation Commission. My years of experience as an Army Officer and a Facility Director have given the experience of managing a large budget.

7. North Carolina is a “Dillon Rule” state, meaning that the only powers municipal and county governments have are the ones granted to them by the legislature. Would you like to see this changed? How would you work with state legislators from Wake County, as well as mayors and council members from the city’s municipalities, to ensure that Wake County, its municipalities, and the state are on the same page regarding policies that affect residents of Wake?

Yes, I would like to see that we approach this from a regional perspective and bring all the stakeholders together to include the Wake County legislative delegation. Each year the Wake County Board of Commissioners and the Wake County legislative Delegation meet to discuss issues like this. So, I would like to keep the “Dillion Rule” on their radar.

8. Is the county doing enough to protect, preserve, and maintain its natural resources, including parks, waterways, and green spaces?

Yes, the County has developed and implemented funding for open space, greenways and bike sharing lanes. Because it is important to preserve open space in Wake County and the county has designated Open space to be natural land that has not been converted to residential or commercial development. It includes forests, greenways, parks, meadows, wetlands, floodplains, and farms. The County has partnered with municipalities to construct greenways. Therefore, Open space land is owned and managed in the public interest for:

  • Protection of good water quality.
  • Preservation of natural resources.
  • Managed production of resources (forest and farmland).
  • Preservation of historic and cultural property.
  • Protection of scenic landscapes and outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Protection of public health, safety and welfare.
  • As Wake County’s population grows, natural lands are being converted to suburbia at a rapid rate. To balance this pressure on the natural environment and ensure future generations will have access to greenspace, Wake County government has recognized the need to protect a portion of the county’s remaining natural land.
  • Protecting open space and constructing greenways will generate an interconnected system of greenspaces that attract homeowners and businesses; prevent economic losses from floods and costly pollution; support a clean water supply; and produce fresh air, fertile soils and biologically diverse landscapes. The Open Space Program’s investment in the preservation of working lands (farms and forests) will also help support a vibrant agricultural economy that has historically defined much of the county’s sense of place.

9. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.

The one issue, I would consider is giving the School Board taxing authority so they can more directly raise revenue for school needs and are held accountable to the constituents accordingly.  The reason for my thinking about this is because, the county must find a consisted funding source. We cannot continue hosting a bond every two to four years. However, because of the need for WCPSS to adequately provide a sound basic education for all our students we must start thinking outside of the box. Due to the failure and shortage of funds from the State.

10. What sets you apart from the other candidate(s) in this race?

I work well in a team setting and take a collaborative approach to leadership, which will be helpful when engaging municipal and community leaders and getting things done at the board table. As a former service member, I lead with respect and integrity, qualities that too often gets lost in politics today. I am also a family man and serve as the Trustee Chair of my church.