By Mickayla McCann
Diana Hales is running for reelection to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners in order to build a better future for her community.
Initially elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2014, Hales became interested in local politics after retiring from 20 years of public service. She began to attend County Commissioners meetings. “I wanted to see how they envisioned the county and where they thought the emphasis should be placed,” Hales said. “I went to all but one meeting in four years. But what I was seeing disturbed me because there was no desire to look forward and look at where the county would be going down the road.”
Startled by the Board’s lack of attention to environmental protection and public education, Hales decided to run as a team with fellow candidates Karen Howard and Jim Crawford. The three went on to win seats on the Board by substantial margins in 2014, establishing a Democratic majority.
In the last four years, Hales has worked steadily to prioritize economic development, education, and the preservation of natural resources. Her efforts have focused on rezoning the county to facilitate responsible growth and on developing Chatham’s first Comprehensive Plan and Map, which outlines the county’s future goals and strategies for implementation. She also advocated for the importance of public schools, calling for proper funding to fully meet academic needs. Hales also takes pride in the moratorium the Board passed on fracking in Chatham, which has allowed the county more thoroughly to investigate the effects of fracking and explore scientifically sound methods of extracting resources while protecting the environment.
“Government, especially local government, should be working for the health and welfare of the citizenry,” Hales said. “My philosophy is simply to do the best to serve the community and help in terms of equity and environmental protections. That is the key. That is the foundation.”
Hales has lived in Western Chatham County for the past 32 years and currently resides on her farm on the Rocky River. Before retiring, Hales worked in broadcasting, marketing, and sales force management at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Graduate School of Business and UNC-TV. She also worked at the Center for Geographic Information and Analysis, where she aided various governmental agencies in resolving technology issues in order to achieve policy objectives.
“I'm running to help move the goal post as we look at the future,” Hales said.
Hales has ambitious goals for her next term. She hopes to tackle many difficult issues, such as expanding water protection, building green technology, improving affordable housing, and expanding services for Chatham’s aging population.
“I have the background, I understand how government works, and I have a tremendous interest in preserving Chatham,” Hales said. “For me it’s not just showing up at a meeting a couple of hours a month. For me it’s a real job.”
To stay updated on Diana Hales’ campaign, check out her website.