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BOE candidate comments about Coalition endorsements

By Ken Harris
Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2006

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Moncure, NC - Since they are now public I am writing to address the Chatham Coalition's endorsements for the upcoming election, particularly District Three Board of Education. My name is Ken Harris and I am running against Kathie Russell for the District Three seat. The Coalition has endorsed Ms. Russell and though that fact does not surprise me and was quite expected what does surprise is a gross misrepresentation of me in their statements. It seems the Coalition, in their drive to place a candidate in every seat of county government has somehow placed me in lockstep with their "Enemy Number One" Bunkey Morgan.

I suppose I am writing this note to the Coalition members and/or supporters moreso than non-coalition citizens of the county. However, all citizens need to know the truth if this is how the Coalition wants to steer this campaign. With all due respect to Mr. Morgan, I do not wish to give the impression I am running away from association with his name. The truth is however, there is no association to run away from. It seems the Coalition is attaching Mr. Morgan's name to mine in an effort to define me and my efforts as a school board candidate. By attaching my name to Mr. Morgan's I feel they are seeking to skew public opinion in a way that will energize their base and limit the individual research that may result in a vote for me. Its an effective strategy but less than truthful in its approach. In politics today the Republicans use the same strategy utilizing the name of Clinton, the Democrats do it by tying candidates to Bush, the Coalition is now doing it by tying me to Bu!
nkey Morgan.

The facts are these: Bunkey Morgan and I are casual acquaintances at best. I have never given one dollar to a Morgan campaign nor placed a sign in my yard. I have never actively campaigned for nor against Mr. Morgan. I have never had a private conversation with Mr. Morgan and have had very few public conversations with him. In fact I have only had a couple more conversations with Mr. Morgan than I have with George Lucier (with whom I have had a couple of brief but genuinely nice conversations and think I can have a strong working relationship). We have shaken hands and exchanged pleasantries in public but in no way can I be considered a "strong backer" of Mr. Morgan. Have I supported some of his efforts? Yes. All of them? Absolutely not. I have the ability of free thought and am in lockstep with no one. Any other reason for endorsing a competitor can be argued on their merits. Trying to tie me to Mr. Morgan is a petty attempt at base unification.

Another point of contention from the Coalition is the assertion I am concerned more with initial construction costs rather than longterm energy efficiency and sustainability. Admittedly I should have made myself clear on this question. To clarify, I absolutely support energy efficiency. As a fiscal conservative you will find no stronger advocate for the tax payer. Encompassed in my concern for your tax dollars is obviously how the tax dollars are spent. Every feasible means of energy efficiency is a step towards the goal of easing the burden on the taxpayer. It goes without saying energy efficient and sustainable design, in the "initial cost of construction", directly correlate to the longterm features of both attributes and hence lower expenditures (for the record I want lower expense and more savings and managed environmental impact). Just this week I am putting together LEED submittals for a major construction project in Raleigh. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment!
al Design) is the creation of and promoted by the US Green Building Council. I am working with a major contractor assisting the compiling of goods and material information that encompasses recycled content, proxemity of extraction and manufacturing locations in regards to the jobsite (Gauging fuel use in transportation of said goods), amounts of adhesives etc. etc.. And to note, this is a private project and not government mandated. My apologies for not addressing this sufficiently in the Coalition questionaire.

I wanted to address the above two points here; the first being a gross misrepresentation and the second a point that I failed to expound upon adequately in the Coalition questionaire. Again, the other points are open for discussion. If anyone would like further explanation of any Coalition points of contention with my candidacy or qualifications please send me an email and I will gladly address your questions.

In closing I would like to point out to Chatlisters what the Coalition did not put in their review. Since they stated my competition is an "attorney, mother and community volunteer" I thought I would make a statement of my being a "construction product salesman, father and community activist". I am a product of Chatham County Schools as is my wife, the former Angie George of Moncure. I have two children who are both students at Moncure Elementary. I am the original Chairperson of the Southeast Chatham Citizens Advisory Council (Two Terms succeeded by now Commissioner Mike Cross). I participated in the founding of this group and was an active public speaker in opposition to the proposed Waste Industries dump and Wallace Woodall Waste disposal site. I have assisted the Sheriff's Department in developing a car parking program in the Moncure area, increasing law enforcement presence and am also a Volunteer Fireman. With my daughter in Pre-K I was elected to the first of two term!
s as Moncure's PTA President where we worked hard to enhance our Thrift Shop participation, alternative fundraising such as box tops, grocery store registration etc. and limiting the amount of sales while maintaining and increasing fundraising dollars. I am also a founding member of the first Moncure Elementary Athletics Booster Club, acting as the club's fundraising coordinator. In addition I am the President of my church Men's Group which, in December will surpass $10,000.00 raised and donated to underprivledged children in Moncure, Deep River and Goldston where we work closely with the Guidance Counselors at each elementary school to insure the money is given to those truly in need. I am also a T-Ball and Flag Football coach and the son of two now retired Chatham County Schools employees. Through them I have valuable sources of information and contacts throughout the school system with which I will get the input of those with the best information; the teachers, staff and!
volunteers of Chatham County Schools. Through them I will be in the s chools finding out what the needs are and putting all my efforts into evaluating and facilitating these needs. I will foster and welcome input from parents and guardians and I will manage the taxpayers dollar as if they are my own (because they are) and will look to our schools future needs as if my own children's welfare depend upon it (because they do).

Please take the offer of sending an email to get to know me better as I refuse to be defined by and/or associated with one person or group. I am my own man and you will see that with your vote and my service in office.

Ken Harris is a District Three candidate for the Chatham County Board of Education

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