Watch video of WFJA’s interview with Mark Lovick, a Democrat who is seeking one of three at large seats on the Lee County Board of Commissioners. Voters can choose up to three candidates. Incumbent Democrats Amy Dalrymple and Cameron Sharpe and Republicans Bill Carver, Paula Fine-Mbuangi and Sandra Jones are also seeking seats. Below, read answers submitted to The Rant monthly in August, September and October.
Briefly introduce yourself and describe why you’re seeking election to the Board of Commissioners.
LOVICK: I must first tell you that I am nothing without my Lord and Savior. He is my Heavenly Father and I serve Him first. I am a newlywed to my wife Melissa. Together we have 5 sons. I have lived in Lee County all my life. I was a Sanford firefighter for 17 plus years were I worked up to the rank of Captain. I have been a sworn part time deputy for 32 years. I worked as a lineman for Duke Energy for 16 years. I now own and operate Lovick & Sons Carpet Cleaning.
I am seeking election because of my strong desire to serve. I have served many years as a Coach in youth sports. I am running because I put my name in to run, not having a party approach me to run against anyone. I feel by me wanting to run I am in it because I want to be in it and I truly have more skin in the game.
What is your view as to the state of things in Lee County with regards to local government, and what measures will you take as a commissioner to see that economic growth continues to occur locally?
LOVICK: Lee County is in great shape. We are on the onset to experience overwhelming growth. Within the next couple of years nearly $900 million in tax base will be added to our books. This should help us to reduce personal taxes. With this several hundred jobs will be brought in by those new companies. Lee County brought 4 of the top 25 companies that came to North Carolina in the last year.
As a commissioner I will vote for the things that are good for our County. I will also vote No for the things that will not benefit Lee County. No matter which Party brings it up. I believe in working together. I will always pray about a decision and try to do the right thing no matter what.
It’s been a big couple of years for Lee County in terms of economic development. Four new projects have been announced since 2019 that will bring more than 1100 new jobs and upwards of $680 million in tax base investments. Some, but not all, of these projects included an economic incentive from the county in the form of a performance-based grant which is tied to capital investment and job creation for a limited number of years. What is your view of this incentive program, and will you support its continuation if you win election?
LOVICK: For the last two-and-a-half years, I have attended all but a handful of County Commissioner meetings. During this time I have become educated on economic incentives. I have spoken with past and present Commissioners and business people on how exactly economic incentives work. I found that zero large companies will come without some type of incentives. In the past when incentives were not offered hardly any businesses or jobs came to Lee County. Economic incentives do work. Pfizer came to Lee County several years ago with Economic incentives attached. Now they are investing an additional $500 million and 300 more jobs. All this is coming with no additional incentives. I think these numbers speak to the question do economic incentives work.
I would be careful and prayerfully look into each business economic incentive based grant. I would support great businesses, paying great wages and great benefits to help Lee County people to get great jobs.
Do you support the passage of the $25 million parks and recreation bond to pay for the construction of a multi-field sports complex in Lee County? Why or why not?
LOVICK: I am in support of the Sports Complex. It will be a great tool in our economic development toolbox. It will help attract families and businesses wanting to relocate in our area. I am very pleased that it is on the ballot for taxpayers to make the final choice. Anytime this much money is involved taxpayers need to be involved in the decision.
Residential growth continues, with multiple new housing developments and apartment complexes springing up. What are your thoughts about how to provide a high quality level of services to both existing and new residents without having to consider an increase to the county’s property tax rate?
LOVICK: Lee County is blessed to have new housing and apartments coming in to our county. With this, we are also experiencing tremendous growth in our industries. Lee County has the great fortune to have landed four of the top 25 companies that came to North Carolina within the last year. With the expansion of Pfizer and these other companies, Lee County will be adding close to $800 million to our tax base. With this increase in tax base, taxpayers should not have to face a tax rate increase.
The country’s opioid crisis continues, and overdoses have spiked since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee County government in 2018 joined counties and cities across the nation in a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers seeking damages in order to fund programs for prevention, treatment and education. What is your view of this effort to combat the crisis, particularly since in the two years since, a long list of manufacturers have agreed to pay out billions of dollars in settlements in this type of lawsuit?
LOVICK: I know all too well about the opioid crisis. I lost a brother to this. As a commissioner, I will do everything possible to help combat this growing problem. I am glad Lee County joined in the litigation. Every penny received should help to fight this growing crisis. I am in favor of this money to fund programs for prevention, treatment and education.