CoastLine Candidate Interviews: Carolina Beach - Benson, Friede, Garza

Oct 20, 2017

Carolina Beach is the largest of the three beach towns in New Hanover County.  At an estimated population of about 6,000 – more than double the size of the next largest, Wrightsville Beach.  Median household income is around 60-thousand – higher than nearby Wilmington. 

The town is governed by a Council made up of four members and a mayor.   Here, we meet two of the five candidates seeking a Council seat in Carolina Beach.  We also meet the man challenging Mayor Dan Wilcox for his seat this year.

Segment 1:  Sarah Friede

Sarah Friede has worked as a trial and appellate attorney in Los Angeles and moved to Carolina Beach eighteen years ago.  She has two sons – one in high school and the other in middle school, and her law practice has primarily focused on real estate.  She worked for a renewable energy practice group at a firm in Winston-Salem for the last couple of years – and now, she says, she’s back in Carolina Beach full time. 

This is not her first foray into local government in Carolina Beach; she served on Council from 2011 to 2015.

Segment 2:  JoDan Garza

JoDan Garza is seeking one of the two open Council seats.  He is the Director of Operations and General Manager at Wake-N-Bake Donuts – a local business now in Carolina Beach and downtown Wilmington which he helped to establish a bit more than three years ago.  JoDan served almost 4 years as a subcontract specialist in the Defense Sector and nearly a decade in Operations Management in what he calls a “corporate setting”.

Segment 3:  Joe Benson - Carolina Beach Mayoral Challenger

Joe Benson is challenging Mayor Dan Wilcox for his seat.  He is a recently-retired Air Force colonel who served for just over 22 years, 20 of which were in the Air Force and joint special operations units. 

Joe Benson says has been deployed overseas 15 times – including five times in Afghanistan and four to African countries. 

He has received the Bronze Star as well as other Air Force and joint service medals.  He lives with his fiancee in Carolina Beach.  He says he’s planning a wedding next month.