Jarvis, Belangia eyeing Hanig vacancy
By William F. West
Monday, December 3, 2018
CURRITUCK — Among the four candidates seeking to fill an expected vacancy on the Currituck Board of Commissioners are an educator who teaches government to high school students and a firearms dealer who wants to see more development in lower Currituck.
Selina Jarvis and Jason Belangia are two of the four Currituck Republicans who’ve expressed interest in being appointed to the District 2 seat Board of Commissioners Chairman Bobby Hanig is expected to vacate on Tuesday. Hanig is resigning with two years remaining on his four-year term after winning election to the state Legislature in House District 6 on Nov. 6.
The other two Republicans who’ve told party leaders they’re interested in the seat are Steven Craddock, a real estate appraiser and electrical contractor who serves on the Currituck Planning Board, and Carolyn Bibeau, a real estate agent with Elan Vacations.
The Currituck County Republican Party is expected to meet soon after Hanig’s resignation and vote on a recommended successor. The remaining six members of the Board of Commissioners have the option of accepting the party’s recommendation or choosing someone else.
Both Jarvis and Belangia believe their interest in county government qualifies them to succeed Hanig on the commission board.
"I'm just one of those government geeks – and truly that's why I'm interested in this position," said Jarvis, 52, now in her 29th year at Currituck County High School where she teaches civics and government. "I just really want to learn about my county and how my county functions – and the issues facing our county."
Belangia, the 46-year-old majority owner in the Gun Shack in Harbinger, said he’s running because he wants to encourage more growth in lower Currituck — a goal he says he shares with Hanig.
"We want to see the south end of the county prosper," Belangia said. "I mean, it's inevitable how the economy will drizzle from the Outer Banks into Currituck. I mean, we see it. It's already happening — and we want to continue that and make it better."
Jarvis, who's originally from Stanly County, earned a social sciences degree from Appalachian State University in 1989 and taught for a year in Cabarrus County. She and her husband, Steve, moved to Currituck, where he worked as a state game warden until his retirement. Selina Jarvis said she plans to retire from Currituck High this spring.
In addition to her job teaching civics, Jarvis also has seen it in action. She’s assisted with county elections in Powells Point since 2002, serving first as a precinct worker and precinct judge before being named chief precinct judge in 2012.
Jarvis said Commissioner Kitty Etheridge, a former director of the Currituck Board of Elections, would routinely speak to her civics classes about how elections worked. She also said it was Etheridge who got her interested in working in elections at her local precinct.
Working with Etheridge, Jarvis created a student election assistant program that allows high school students to observe elections first hand by helping out at voting precincts across the county.
Jarvis said she’s learned a lot about how elections work. She believes she’s now ready to learn how those who get elected make decisions for the betterment of an entire community.
“I just feel like, if I could learn that much from elections, I think I could learn a lot and bring a lot (to county government),” she said. “I feel like I’m a fair person. I’m an open-minded person.”
Jarvis said she’s both a reader and researcher who will do her own homework on issues before making a decision.
“I’m not going vote some way because someone tells me to vote that way,” she said.
Although she’s never served in elected office, Jarvis believes she already has plenty of government experience.
"I think my service in the classroom is government service every day,” she said.
Jarvis notes she also once served as chairwoman of the social studies department at Currituck High School, a position that included helping prepare a budget and setting priorities. She’s also served in other leadership roles.
"I'm an ambassador for Currituck County Schools. I am a liaison between students and parents, and currently serve as an instructional coach as well. So, I'm a liaison between faculty and our administration," she said.
Belangia also has a connection to Currituck High School. His wife, Daun Biggs Belangia, is an assistant principal at the school.
Belangia, who spent his early years in Virginia, said his family has been in Currituck since 1985. He said he explored a career in heating and air conditioning after being introduced to the trade while a student at Currituck High, from which he graduated in 1990.
"I've always been one to be out and about — and I don't mind getting my hands dirty," he said.
Belangia said he was a partner in a business, All Seasons Heating and Cooling, before starting another business, East Coast Mechanical, which he sold in 2005.
Belangia said he was looking for something to do part time when he opened the Gun Shack in a small retail shop in Point Harbor. He eventually moved the business to a larger space up the road at the Liberty Sports Complex.
Belangia said his business allows him more time to be active in the community — time he’d like to spend giving back.
“I mean, the community has been good to me so I feel like it’s my turn to do something back,” he said. “This seemed like a good opportunity to do so.”
Belangia makes no secret of his support for Hanig.
“Any question you had, he'd take the time to stop, answer it and at least explain himself or his decision 100 percent, instead of just saying, 'Look, this is the way it is,’” Belangia said. “And that meant a lot to me.”
Belangia’s wife also was a contributor to Hanig's House District 6 campaign. Campaign finance records show Daun Belangia gave Hanig $2,500.
"We both strongly believe that he's going to be a benefit to this area serving in the House," Belangia said of Hanig.
At the same time, Belangia stressed he shouldn’t be viewed as “Hanig's man” on the commission if he’s appointed.
"I'm my own person — and you can ask anybody that," he said.
Belangia currently serves on the Currituck Game Commission. He’s also been attending commissioner meetings, watching and learning how the board conducts business. He believes he’s up to the task of serving on the board.
"I am able to see both sides of an argument. I'm willing to listen. I'm willing to understand what somebody's issue is," he said.
Craddock, a third Currituck Republican interested in replacing Hanig, was previously interviewed about his interest in the seat. He has cited his six years of experience as a member of the Currituck Planning Board as one of the assets he’ll bring to the board if he’s appointed.
Attempts to reach Bibeau were unsuccessful.
Currituck Attorney Ike McRee has said county commissioners will have 60 days to appoint a Hanig’s successor after being officially notified he has resigned. Although state law requires the Currituck board to consult with the Currituck Republican Executive Committee prior to filling the vacancy, it’s not required to appoint anyone the panel recommends, he said.