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Former planning board chair running for Chatham County Commissioner, District 3

Posted Monday, February 27, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - Former Chatham County planning board chairman George Lucier has announced that he is running for the District 3 County Commissioner. Lucier, a resident of Chatham County for 33 years, lives in the Bynum precinct on the Haw River.

"Chatham County is facing unprecedented growth pressures," Lucier said. "The decisions we make now will determine the quality of life for our children and future generations. Now is the time to implement our land use plan, attract clean businesses, promote open government, improve the quality of our educational system and encourage citizen participation to protect and enhance the quality of life for all who live in Chatham County." "Chatham County is a diverse County with wonderful opportunities and I will work hard to insure that all voices are heard and to develop a sense of common purpose."

Lucier, who has a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland School of Agriculture, retired in 2000 as Associate Director of the National Toxicology Program with the Public Health Service headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Services in Research Triangle Park. He currently serves on a number of national boards, chairs the Science Advisory Board for the Department of the Environment and Natural resources for North Carolina, is President of the Rocky River Heritage Foundation and is a volunteer youth athletic coach. He coaches the varsity basketball team at Woods Charter School, where he also serves on the School Board of Directors.

"Chatham County should continue to grow but not at a pace that exceeds our ability to pay for top-notch schools and other building and infrastructure needs," said Lucier, who was chair of the planning board for the last two years of his three-year term ending in June 2004. "The current majority of the county board approves every development proposed without regard to its
impact on our taxes, schools, services, environment or quality of life," he added. At the same time, Lucier asserts that the board's majority continues to ignore the critical issues of true economic development, allowing an ineffective Economic Development Commission to squander tax dollars without actively recruiting quality business opportunities. "We are seeing the impact of this short sighted approach with increasing school infrastructure needs and increasing property taxes, but no substantial economic growth," Lucier stated. "This imbalance needs to end."

"I would place more emphasis on attracting well paying jobs than on residential growth so more Chatham residents can both live and work here," Lucier said. "We must work more closely with Pittsboro, Siler City and Goldston to provide infrastructure, parks, recreation facilities and arts programs that will attract the type of clean businesses that will pay good wages and benefits. We must work more closely with our schools and community colleges to build a stronger work force that is attractive to business and industry."

"Lastly, we must encourage, not discourage, citizen participation in County government. I continue to see citizen influence erode, while frustrations rise. We the citizens of Chatham County are the stakeholders of the future. Government works best when all citizens have input and when County officials conduct business in an open and transparent manner."

Lucier is married to Jane Gallagher, a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in RTP. They have two children, ages 14 and 12.

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