[media-credit name=”Dale Cook” align=”alignright” width=”150″][/media-credit]Dale Cooke — Wake County Commission
Political Party: Republican
Occupation: Founder, President/CEO of MCH Systems
Campaign website: http://www.voteforcooke.com/
What do you think is the central issue for this election and how do you plan to address it?
One of the largest issues seems to be Triangle Transit Authority’s transit plan for the region and the Wake County Commissioner’s decision to not put that referendum on the ballot. When I look at the plan, it seems to be a plan that’s based on three fragments. One of which seems to be light rail. The light rail plan is funded by the federal government. If we look at the amount of money the federal government currently spends on light rail throughout the country, there isn’t going any money for light rail any time soon. So with that in mind putting a half cent sales tax referendum ballot on the voters for the other two sections of the plan was just not a wise thing to do. I think it’s prudent because I can look at the other two segments of the plan with the reality that the light rail potion of the plan will likely not be funded any time soon.
Why should your constituents elect you?
Well, I’m not a politician. I’m a businessman, so the thing that I want to do is offer my 40 years of experience in dealing with national governments and large corporations and bringing business to our county. I want to offer those skills to the voters of Wake County to run the business of Wake County and to attract new businesses and companies that will bring good paying jobs and grow our base and expand our essential services to our citizens.
How can the County Commission support the school system’s efforts to deal with growth?
Growth in the area is also growth in the tax base of the county and as that tax base grows, so does that amount of money that the County Commissioners turn over to the school system. It should be in line with the growth of the student population. And it has been. I think the County Commissioners have done a terrific job, the current County Commissioners, have done a terrific job through this economic recession that we’ve just come through and are continuing to go through and making sure that our school system gets the adequate funding that it needs.
Transit has been a hot topic in Wake County this year. What do you think about the future of transit options in Wake County?
Well as I’ve told many people at many locations, transit in the United States of America is primarily the private automobile and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Over 95 percent of transit throughout the United States is private automobile, so if we’re addressing transit in Wake County, what we need to address is roads, bridges and private automobile infrastructure, which tends to pay for itself.
Other transit options, such as bus and rail, need to be looked at very, very carefully because as I’ve studied most of the light rail systems throughout the rest of the country throughout other cities, I find that they create an awful lot of debt for those cities and they’re just not practical for low-density area such as Wake County. Light rail doesn’t make sense until you get to higher population densities and I don’t foresee Wake County reaching that level of population density any time soon.