Name: Kevin Mason
Party affiliation: Unaffiliated
1.What motivated you to enter the current race? One of the main reasons for joining the race for Town Board was to give Hillsborough voters a choice in the upcoming election. Before I threw my name in the hat, there were 3 incumbents running for three seats. I believe having no choice is bad for democracy. I also felt that my career spent as a small business owner would be a positive influence on our board. Hillsborough is in the midst of transformative development and I believe a fresh set of eyes would be a good thing.
2. What is your career and educational background? After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1990, I have owned and operated a series of small businesses. Our family currently owns and operates The Accidental Baker, a wholesale bakery that specializes in artisan crackers. We have operated this business in Hillsborough since 2007. Prior to that, I was a co founder of Toms Cove Aquafarms, a shellfish aquaculture company located in my childhood home - Chincoteague Island Va.
3. Have you previously held political office? I have never held a political office and this is my first foray into politics. I think it is worth pointing out that I have no political party affiliation nor do I have any political ambitions beyond the Town Board. I think a position such as a Town Board member should be free of party politics and affiliations and should be laser focused on what is good for Hillsborough and the core responsibilities of municipal government. I view my independence as one of my main strengths in this campaign.
4. What makes you feel you are the most qualified to assume this role? I believe the term “most qualified” is ambiguous and varies from person to person. In a practical sense, all the incumbents that I am running against probably seem more qualified than me. However, I do not feel this should disqualify me as a candidate. My experience running small businesses is not easily put into words, but it is real world experience. I believe you can tell a lot about a business owner by the products and services that they offer. Our business produces a high quality product. We employ a diverse workforce and pay a fair wage. We waste little and never cut corners. I would seek to govern in a similar manner.
5. What are the issues that are near and dear to you?
6. What are challenges you see facing Hillsborough that you would like to address? I believe the last 2 questions are one and the same from my perspective. When I am out and about and talking to residents of town, the issues that most often come up are growth and traffic. Growth is always an issue in an area such as ours that is desirable place to live. And it must be managed. I believe much of the angst in Hillsborough today relating to growth is the pace at which it is happening. We all see Collins Ridge coming and cannot imagine another 1000 to 2000 cars on Churton St every day. Therefore, my top priority would be to focus on traffic in the area south of the Eno river. The best 2 options in my opinion to really solve this problem have already been voted down. The Elisabeth Brady bypass and the Orange Grove extension project were the best options for dealing with our current traffic woes. I know there were issues with both projects - there are always issues with road projects. But I think it unwise to keep approving more residential development while at the same time turning down transportation improvements. My goal would be to address this imbalance. The coming Churton St widening project is less than perfect in my opinion will not be enough by itself to make a real difference. I will be open to exploring any and all alternatives to our current plans.