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WHQR will host and broadcast four candidate forums as part of the 2012 Election Season in the MC Erny Gallery, 254 N. Front Street, #300.Each forum will feature two local journalists asking prepared questions during the first half of the event. The second portion will be dedicated to questions from voters. A live studio audience will be invited to ask questions during this segment. We'll also use questions sent in from listeners.If you have a question for the candidates, please email us (newsdirector@whqr.org) or submit via Twitter with the #whqrforums hash tag and tell us which slate of candidates you'd like to address. We reserve the right to edit the questions for clarity, brevity, and objectivity. Each question must be addressed to all candidates in a particular race. If you can't attend the live event, Tweet along while you tune in or listen or watch the webcast online at 7 PM each night to hear the candidates! (WWAY will also broadcast the forums live on Time Warner Cable. RTV is channel 106, on ATMC, channel 903, on Charter Cable, channel 145 and over-the-air at 3.2.)Tuesday, Oct. 2, 7 PM- New Hanover County CommissionersJonathan Barfield (Current Vice Chairman)Beth DawsonRobert MurrayDr. Derrick HickeyWoody WhiteRob Zapple Thursday, Oct. 4, 7 PM- NC House District 18Representative Susi Hamilton (D)Louis Harmati (R) Monday, Oct. 8, 7 PM - NC Senate District 9Senator Thom Goolsby (R)Deb Butler (D) Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 PM - NC House District 19 & NC House District 20 NC House District 19Ted Davis, Jr. (Current NHC Commission Chair)Emilie Swearingen (Current Kure Beach Councilwoman)NC House District 20Rick Catlin (Current NHC Commissioner) (R)Tom Gale (D)

CoastLine: New Hanover County Board of Education Candidate Forum

upper left to right: Janice Cavenaugh (R), Tom Gale (D), Ed Higgins (R), Don Hayes (R); from lower left to right: Chris Meek (D), Emma Saunders (D), Bruce Shell (R)

On October 27, 2014, WHQR and WWAY Newschannel 3 partnered to produce a Candidate Forum featuring the race for the four open seats on the New Hanover County Board of Education.   Six of seven candidates participated.  Janice Cavenaugh had agreed to the event but was too ill to attend and sent regrets just hours before. 

WWAY Newschannel 3 Anchor Makenzi Henderson and WHQR's Rachel Lewis Hilburn asked questions of the candidates in the first segment.

Listen to Segment 2 here -- featuring questions from audience members, emailed questions, the lightning round, and closing statements.

During the second segment, we invited members of the audience to ask questions. 

New Hanover County School Board Members serve staggered four-year terms.   Three of four incumbents whose terms expire this year are seeking reelection.  One Board member is instead seeking a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.    

The candidates in alphabetical order:

Janice Cavenaugh, a Republican Incumbent, works as a real estate appraiser. She has served on the school board for 23 years – including two terms as Chair and one as Vice Chair.  She is married and has two children and five grandchildren.   

Tom Gale, a Democrat, is a local REALTOR.  His wife is an educator in Brunswick County, he has a first-grader in New Hanover County schools, and a two year old that will be going to school in a few years.

Don Hayes, a Republican Incumbent and current Board Chair, is a Viet Nam veteran, former New Hanover County teacher, and assistant principal.  He works as a self-employed sales representative.  A member of the School Board since 1994, Don Hayes has served as Chair four times and Vice Chair once.  He is married and has one child. 

Ed Higgins, a Republican Incumbent, retired from Cape Fear Community College after more than 30 years as a law instructor, business instructor and department chair of the Public Service Department.   He has served on the School Board since 1994 – twice as Chairman.  He is married and has three children. 

Chris Meek, a Democratic Challenger, is a teacher of 18 years, owns Wilmington Officials Association, and is a current PhD candidate for Leadership in School Administration. He is married with five children that are all either current or former New Hanover County Public School students. 

Emma Saunders, a Democratic Challenger, is a retired teacher and administrator in New Hanover County schools and a recipient of the Smart Start Children’s Champion Award.  She’s also a two-time recipient of the Senior Resource Center’s Senior Leadership Award. And she’s a Blue Star Mother.    

Bruce Shell, a Republican Challenger, served as the Manager of New Hanover County for 6 and a half years.  He was County Finance Director for 11 years and interim Town Manager for Carolina Beach.  He is married and has two children. 


Candidates have 90 seconds to answer each question.  We rotate the order in which candidates answer.  There are no Opening Statements in order to allow more time for questions.

In the final segment, each candidate has 90 seconds to deliver a Closing Statement.    

Early voting is underway and runs through November 1st.  October 28th is the last day to request an absentee ballot. 

And Election Day is November 4th!