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Cornelius News

Jim Duke will run for Town Board, Kurt Naas will not


July 18. By Dave Yochum. Kurt Naas, the founder of WidenI77.org, will be a one-time commissioner, having announced on Facebook he will not run in November. Meanwhile, former Commissioner Jim Duke will run for the board, along with four incumbents and Ava Callender, a retiree who ran in 2017.


She ran for a seat on the board along with two other women back in 2017. There are five seats on the board; it turns over every two years.

With one day left to file, we have a horse race. There are six candidates for the non-partisan board; two years ago there were 11.

Duke, who lost in a heartbreaker two years ago, is a former president of the Peninsula Homeowners Association. He was edged out by Thurman Ross, the lone African-American on the board.

Friends said Duke wanted to continue to serve the town. He was instrumental in fighting bogus water rates charged by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility Dept.

“I believe that I can make a difference in a positive way toward improving Town finances and following through on promises to fix long-standing transportation issues,” said Duke, who had a long career in financial management in the Army and the federal government.

“This needs to be done without relying too heavily upon borrowing and without reducing the quality of planned improvements,” he said.

Duke is a unique citizen activist. A decade ago, he led a task force on Charlotte Mecklenburg Utility Dept. rate-making that ultimately brought down the entrenched hierarchy at the utility.


Cornelius residents complained that they were being seriously overcharged for water, and then-Mayor Jeff Tarte appointed Duke to head up a task force. As a result, the rate structure was changed and CMUD initiated a more thorough testing of their meters.

Fellow commissioners found out about Naas’ decision not to run on Facebook. He has not responded to requests for comment from Cornelius Today.

His Facebook post said: “I will not be seeking re-election this November. Thank you for trusting me to serve as your commissioner. It has been an honor.”

Filing ends tomorrow/Friday at noon. It costs $5 to file to run for the Town Board. To view filings, visit http://apps.meckboe.org/Candidates_new.aspx