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Board of County Commissioners – District 2

There’s a three-way race for the Republican nomination to oppose Democratic incumbent Lindy Brown this fall. We can see how Republicans might support any of the three. For those who think politics needs the occasional maverick, one who questions his own party’s orthodoxy as well as the other’s, we suggest a vote for former Commissioner Phil Jeffreys.

We were down on Jeffreys when he ran for re-election four years ago and opposed the $970 million school bond issue on the ballot that year. Jeffreys thought the bond issue could be smaller if every school in Wake County was put on a multitrack, year-round schedule. Think about that in light of the rabid opposition that formed on the Republican right to the idea that any students should be assigned to a year-round school.

Now, in the midst of open warfare over the conservative policies of the new Wake school board majority, Jeffreys has put forward an iconoclastic solution: split the county into three assignment zones (not the 20 that the board majority seems to want), put all schools on the multitrack year-round calendar and offer vocational education in every school.

At least he’s thinking. Jeffreys, who calls himself a young 72, isn’t afraid to say that the Religious Right has too much influence in the Republican Party, which should resist policies based on dogma rather than facts. He could be a refreshing, if cantankerous voice on the Wake Commissioners board should he be elected over Brown.

Robert Champion (“Champ”) Claris ran for Raleigh City Council last year without making much of a contribution to city issues. This year, he’s angling for a commission seat while again offering only the blandest of policies. His entire platform can be reduced to not raising taxes. On the critical education issues, he’s silent.

Phil Matthews, a former Garner council member (1999–2007), is a solid fiscal conservative who, like his fellow Garnerite and school board majority member John Tedesco, is for “community schools.” He also opposes any tax increases, while questioning why the commissioners cut the school budget every year. No, you read that right. He thinks the lottery tree should supply the money.