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Commissioner – District 3

Chatham County’s conservative voices are rumbling for change in the 2010 elections. Many are looking backward to an era of unregulated growth, instead of forward to continued sustainable planning.

In District 3, Republican newcomer Brian Bock is running against Cadle Cooper, a lifelong Bynum resident and a barber; the winner of the Republican primary will take on incumbent George Lucier in the fall.

The Indy recommends Republican Cadle W. Cooper. Last spring, the 66-year-old changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. He did not return our calls or e-mails regarding the switch.

Nonetheless, Cooper spent 20 years on the Chatham County School Board and understands budgets, though it’s unclear if he has a handle on what it will take to manage the county.

Cooper is eager to bring industry and jobs to Chatham. He says the Chapel Hill Transit bus to Pittsboro will need to be re-evaluated when the grant money expires, but he does not dismiss it out-of-hand like many of the bus’s critics.

It is clear to the Indy upon reading Bock’s questionnaire that he would turn back the progress Chatham commissioners have eked out in the six years since Bunkey Morgan left the commission.

Bock, 44, is a financial planner for Sun Trust in Lee County, a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer and resident of Briar Chapel. Bock frowns upon the county’s environmental regulations and says he would “immediately work to scrap the major corridor ordinance currently being promoted.” The ordinance would discourage sprawl and help preserve the environment. Bock has not held any public office, although he says he has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Jaycees.

Commissioner – District 5

In District 5, we are not endorsing either Kim Beal or Walter Petty for the Republican primary. Beal, 49, works at the Pilgrim’s Pride chicken processing plant in Siler City and did not return our questionnaire Nor did Petty, 52, owner of Atlantic Power Solutions, Inc. Petty notes on his Web site that he will work to “eliminate the impact fee”a major source of school fundingand “stop major corridor ordinances.”