New BOT member ready to serve
By William F. West
Friday, August 11, 2017
GRANDY — Allen Moran says he wanted to serve on the N.C. Board of Transportation because he believes better highways will open up northeastern North Carolina, particularly its rural areas, to economic development and allow more residents to commute to good-paying jobs.
"My vision is just to try to help northeastern North Carolina with connectivity," Moran said Wednesday evening following his meeting with the Currituck Chamber of Commerce's Governmental Affairs Committee.
Moran, a Dare County resident, was appointed to the state transportation board by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in March. He serves as the board representative for District 1, a 14-county region stretching from Northampton, Bertie and Martin counties in the west to the Outer Banks. He replaced Malcolm Fearing, former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s appointee, as the region’s representative on the BOT.
Cooper’s appointment of Moran, a 30-year-old captain with the Dare County Detention Center, to the BOT position raised a few eyebrows across Division 1. Moran is the son-in-law of former Democratic state Sen. Marc Basnight of Dare County, arguably one of the most powerful men ever to serve in state government.
Basnight, himself a former BOT member for Division 1, was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He would rise to become the Senate’s top leader in 1993. He would continue as the Senate president pro tempore until 2011, when he resigned for health reasons after winning re-election in November 2010. Basnight’s resignation also came after Republicans won both chambers of the N.C. Legislature in the 2010 election.
A year after resigning from the Senate, Basnight announced that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.
Moran declined Wednesday to talk about his father-in-law's health in detail.
"He's doing all right. He's slowing down, but for what he has got, he's doing well," Moran said.
Moran said his wife, Catherine, and her sister operate the Lone Cedar restaurant that Basnight established on the Outer Banks in 1996. However, Basnight still comes in to the restaurant office every day, he said.
Asked if Basnight or others had encouraged him to apply for the Division 1 seat on the BOT, Moran said no. He said he did reach out to his father-in-law, however, to seek his advice about serving on the BOT. He called the 70-year-old Basnight "a mentor of mine."
Moran said his father-in-law has always impressed on him to remember that the whole point of government service is service.
"Always make sure you look after the person that can't get a job or doesn't have the capability (to do so) — the little man, per se," he said.
Asked if his connection to Basnight had played a role in him being named to the BOT, Moran said it probably did, but he pushed back against the notion that it was the only reason. He said those who believe his family connection to Basnight got him named to the BOT are free to call and speak to him about the matter.
"And I can explain to them my position as far as trying to help northeastern North Carolina – and then let them kind of see for themselves," he said.
Moran said his priorities as Division 1's representative on the BOT include the completion of the future Bonner Bridge and the proposed Mid-Currituck Bridge and the transformation of the Raleigh-to-Williamston-to-Norfolk corridor to the proposed Interstate 87.
He said the majority of calls he receives from citizens, however, are about smaller-scale concerns. He said they can vary from drainage and water runoff issues to unsafe intersections.
He said he has met a wide variety of citizens, leaders and officials since joining the BOT in May.
"Transportation is kind of the one area that folks agree on – and so it's a breath of fresh air to see. And it's encouraging to me be able to be a part of that," he said.
Moran has worked for the Dare County Sheriff’s Office for about a decade. He is currently in charge of the Dare County Detention Center.