Candidate Interviews: Brunswick County Board of Commissioners District 3
Pat Sykes and Bill Flythe are the District 3 candidates for the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners. The two have very different perspectives, visions, and ideas.
Incumbent Pat Sykes has served on the board for eight years. She’s a small business owner, a Republican, and a Brunswick County native. Last month, she was appointed Chair of the Trillium Health Resources Southern Regional Advisory Board.
Sykes says her achievements on the board have been centered on economic development and budgeting.
“The county had all this property that was just sitting there. I went in and said, ‘we need to get rid of this inventory. We need to sell it.’ So that was put on the website and people have been buying it and bidding on it. So that has been a huge success.”
If re-elected, she wants to make low-income housing a priority.
Bill Flythe is a former chemist and science teacher. He has served as a member of the Brunswick County Planning Board, as well as Treasurer of the Brunswick County Democratic Party, and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
If elected, Flythe wants to focus on protecting the coastal environment and increasing funding for schools.
“The board, if I'm elected, will be encouraged to increase the percentage formula for funding schools. Then internet access and computers could be made available to all students, and additional social workers and counselors could be hired to address COVID-19 related problems.”
And Flythe hopes to see other changes to the board. He says he’s frustrated that Sykes didn’t participate in The League of Women Voters candidate forum, and called that move strategic:
“They run for office, they get elected, and then they hide from voters."
Sykes denied that claim:
“The League of Women Voters to me is partisan more than nonpartisan. I try to stay neutral with everything. I don't really have a good answer for you, I can tell you I had been extremely busy. So I just didn't have time for it.”
Flythe would also like to bring a different perspective to the Board of Commissioners, as an African American and a former educator. He’s spoken out against comments by commissioner Mike Forte, criticizing the George Floyd protests and Black community.
“In regards to him saying that we wanted reparations for all the years of slavery, no, I don't want a handout. I don't want him, anybody giving me money in my hand. However, I want them to consider what the City Council of Asheville did, that is agreed to fund money in terms of public schools, education for minorities, social services, so forth. This is how you can repay minorities for all of the sacrifices, pain and suffering that they have experienced over the years.”
Sykes denies there’s an issue of racism on the board. She says she’s proud of what the commissioners have accomplished, and hopes to continue serving the county.
“I'm a local resident. I'm a business owner. We've had a welding business for over 30 years. I love Brunswick County and I feel like the things that I have changed, the work that I have done, has helped the county.”
Voting information for Brunswick County residents can be found here.