The Town of Leland turned thirty this month. The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is about twenty-two-thousand people. That’s growth of about 61% over the last nine years.
When we conducted candidate interviews two years ago for the jobs of Mayor and Town Council members, the biggest challenge facing Leland was coping with and planning for the rapid growth. That is just as true in 2019. About 30% of Brunswick County’s population is 65 and over – and in Leland, seniors make up about a quarter of the population.
The Town Council is made up of four members who serve staggered four-year terms. Until this year, the Mayor served a two-year term. But that all changes this year. In 2019, the Mayor, like council members, will be elected to a four-year term.
There are two candidates who’ve filed to be the next Mayor of Leland – the incumbent, Brenda Bozeman, and one challenger, Shirley Lawler. When Lawler ran for Leland Town Council two years ago, she told us that she had decided against actively pursuing her candidacy before the election – although her name still appeared on the ballot. This year, after filing to run for Mayor, she initially told us she’d participate in the CoastLine Candidate Interviews. But multiple attempts by WHQR to confirm her interview have gone unanswered.
This means the entire hour goes to current Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman, who is seeking her fifth term. She’s completing her fourth two-year term – eight years as Mayor. If she’s re-elected, she will embark on that first four-year term. Brenda Bozeman served on Leland’s Planning Board when it first formed in the 1990s, and she continued in that role for more than 9 years. She won her first seat on Town Council in 2003 and was chosen Mayor Pro Tem in 2005. That’s a position she kept until 2011 when residents elected her – the Town’s first female Mayor. She is also a full-time Realtor.