Beaufort Elections: Candidate Statements


The following are statements sent to the Beacon from the candidates running in the 2019 municipal elections for Beaufort.

Three positions are up for grabs: mayor and three commissioner seats. Mayor Rett Newton is running for re-election unopposed. Three incumbent commissioners – John Hagle, Sharon Harker and Marianna Hollinshed – are running for re-election. They face two challengers: Kenneth Humphrey and Heather Poling.

Early and one-stop voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 16, and continues through Friday, Nov. 1, from 8 am to 6 pm at the County Board of Elections in Beaufort. Voters may register and vote on the same day during this time.


Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. Learn about registering to vote and voting in Carteret County.

The following statements are in the candidates’ own words. Candidates for the Board of Commissioners are listed in a random order generated by this helpful website to avoid any bias.

Board of Commissioners

Marianna Hollinshed

My decision to run again was based on the desire to see several projects through: Randolph Johnson and Cedar Street Park, the Corridor plans, infrastructure improvements just to name a few.  Our Town now has a written plan in place to see these through to completion but much of the physical process has not started. We can also look at “the Storm” as a turning point or stumbling block…..I believe it placed Beaufort along with many other jurisdictions several years behind and also reallocated funds.

I have tried my best to keep citizens informed, respond to their concerns in a courteous and thoughtful way, and I have been urged to continue serving. 

Working together with the current Board has also been fulfilling as we are not reluctant to exchange concerns and ideas.


John Hagle

I filed for another term as Beaufort Commissioner because I want to continue to work with my fellow board members as we continue to make improvements in Beaufort.

In the last 4 years, improvements have been made to streets, utility lines, sidewalks, and stormwater systems. A new fire station, major repairs to a water treatment building, and the beginning of construction of new facilities at Randolph Johnson park were completed. A new experienced manager was hired as well as a staff engineer. I have been encouraging the hiring a staff engineer for many years because of the need to provide increasing engineering management for town’s infrastructure projects.

During the last two years a 5-year continuous improvement plan has been developed by town staff, reviewed and approved by the commissioners. This long-range plan provides a better way for staff and commissioners to manage current and future improvement projects. The plan lays out projects for improved water and sewer facilities, street resurfacing, stormwater systems, new parks, major repairs to the town boardwalk and replacement of other major equipment and facilities. The plan includes funding sources and project timing. Grants are being applied for that will help finance some of the work. The completion of some key projects like Cedar and Pollock Street flooding, Randolph Johnson Park improvements and more street repairs should be completed in two-three years.

Beaufort continues to be a vibrant and growing town. I want to continue working with my fellow board members as we continue to make improvements in Beaufort and manage the growth of Beaufort to maintain the special atmosphere of our town. As I do this, I will continue to be prudent with your tax dollars, respect Beaufort’s 300-year history, listen and communicate with citizens, carefully analyze plans for growth and work to protect our environment.

Hurricane Florence has had a lasting impact on our town and area. In the future I will work with my fellow board members to improve the storm resiliency of Beaufort.

Kenneth Humphrey

I now live in Beaufort of course. I am a native of Morehead City. I want to preserve the essence of Beaufort, protect its assets and beauty. Also…I realize more and more people are coming to Beaufort and our vicinity – to retire, to vacation..and some, to work…I want to meet the challenge of the ‘change that is coming’…and to do the right thing for Beaufort – long term…I want to be ‘another voice’, a new but constructive voice to the Board of Commissioners…(As David Letterman used to say: “That is my deal.”)

Sharon Harker

It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Beaufort these past four years and I will be honored if in November the voters allow me to serve another four year term.

One of my highest priorities in serving the Town is seeing us work together broadly as a community to accomplish great things, and I am very proud of what we have collectively achieved the last four years. There is much more opportunity and, along with that, much more work to do. My commitment to the future of Beaufort is why I am running now for re-election.

The Town has a number of exciting and challenging projects ahead and I would like to help bring them to fruition.

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Heather Poling

Dear Beaufort,

I have resided within your boundaries now for 14 years and love you now just as I did when I was but a child. I find that love inspiring me to rally to your call and put my name in the running for Town Commissioner 2020.

This is a special town in which we live, who has seen many changes in the last 300 years. Many more changes will come with the pressing future. With that said, there is no reason that progress cannot be met with open arms yet still protect the integrity and character which defines us as a community.

I would like to join the committee who guides our town on the following issues, bringing with me a fresh pair of eyes and an open mind on new ways to solve age old issues which include (but are not restricted to):

  • Repairs to the infrastructure (ROADS!) through external funding for the safety of the community.
  • Health Care facilities that are more accessible for our community
  • Affordable housing options— to allow for growth in the community of new families as well as housing options for the working class which supports Beaufort’s main industry: tourism. With no workers you have no downtown, and so the house of cards fall.
  • Finding more sustainable industries to bring jobs to our community
  • Greenways, parks and the forever legendary dog park for the community
  • A Harbor Management plan that encompasses all aspects of our waterborne community – creating a cohesive Beaufort Town Docks entity.
  • And continual practices which protect our environment and most valuable resource—our unique ecosystem around us

These few bullet points represent where my passions rest for Beaufort’s future while continuing to preserve her past. Compromise in the eyes of inevitable change is the only constant in life. We (as a community) should look to embrace it. And I would like to be one of the driving forces within office to help achieve these changes for the community.

So now I run, for you the 40 and under voices of Beaufort to be heard. With my slogan as Poling for the People it is sincere. I want to hear what changes you think need to be made and how we might achieve them.
Let’s do this together.

Vote Heather Poling for Beaufort Town Commissioner 2020 this November and lets set some positive change in motion for the town we all love.

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Everette “Rett” Newton

I am honored to serve with a great team that includes Commissioners, Town Staff, citizens, business leaders, employees, churches, civic groups, schools, and non-profits.

We are at a key transformation point in Beaufort’s long and rich history and we have transitioned from near-term reactive planning to a five-year outlook to address some of our toughest challenges like fixing our failing infrastructure, improving our water quality, attracting developers interested in affordable housing, and growing jobs.

We are already a more walkable, bike-able, and live-able community.

There is a great energy in Beaufort despite the set-backs of Hurricane Florence, but we still have numerous challenges ahead.

I am proud of our accomplishments to date and hope I have earned the voter’s trust to serve another term as Mayor of Beaufort.