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Cornelius News

Five more file for Cornelius Town Board in fall elections

July 15. UPDATED. By Marco Wertheimer. Three more candidates filed Friday to run for the Cornelius town board at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. The new candidates, Kurt Naas, Michelle Ferlauto, and William J Rakatansky, have deep roots in the anti-toll movement. Dr. Michael Miltich, an incumbent with anti-toll street cred, filed for re-election on Wednesday. Community volunteer Ava Callender filed Thursday.

Naas, Rakatansky, Ferlauto, Cotham, Phillips, Gibbons, Boone

It brings to eight the number of people officially running for the five-member town board. Business leader Tricia Sisson as well as incumbent Commissioner Dave Gilroy say they will throw their hats in the ring before the filing period ends July 21.

Incumbents who have already filed include veteran Commissioner Thurman Ross and Commissioner Jim Duke, the former president of the Peninsula Property Owners Association. Business leader Denis Bilodeau has also filed to run for a seat on the non-partisan town board.

The fifth sitting commissioner,  Woody Washam, has filed to run for mayor of Cornelius.

The Cornelius Town Commission wields considerable power over local policies. It has also been a launching pad for higher office. Among its most prominent former members are NC Rep. John Bradford and US Sen. Thom Tillis. Former Mayor Jeff Tarte serves in the NC Senate.

Cornelius Today will host the Old Fashioned Candidate Forum & BBQ at Town Hall Oct. 6 in advance of the non-partisan elections Nov. 8.

The toll lanes being built on I-77 are a central theme among candidates: No one is in favor of them. The three Cornelius candidates who filed on Friday met at three candidates from Huntersville at the Board of Elections offices—all of them staunch opponents of the toll plan. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham met them all to lend her support to the candidates as well.

“Opposition to the Cintra toll lane contract has mobilized our community, and I have been proud to stand side by side with our residents on the I77 bridge and throughout the community to voice my concern. I intend to continue that opposition,” Miltich said when he filed.

The three candidates who registered today offered varied approaches to fighting the tolls. Kurt Nass, the founder of widenI-77.org, the original anti-toll group, plans to articulate to Gov. Roy Cooper the importance of using his executive powers to end  the toll lane project himself, while William J. Rakatansky hopes to use what leverage the town has to press the anti-toll lane case in the statehouse.

On Friday, Nass said that even though gubernatorial intervention to end toll lane construction would come with a penalty, as a town board member, he would articulate how the toll lanes’ economic harms would ultimately far outweigh the price of any penalty.

Michelle Ferulato, who has played a leadership role in the I-77 Business Plan which meets at the Lake Norman Chamber, hopes to make the town board more accessible through more town hall meetings and electronic public forums.

Callender, who is also against the toll plan, will hold a fundraiser for her campaign Sept. 3 at Heart 2 Heart Bakery & Cafe. She has a web site as well: https://www.avacallender.com/positions-on-the-issues