New Chapter in the Fight to Protect Our Coast

Submitted January 5, 2018
Dennis Litalien

The Trump administration has announced its intention to open all U. S. federal waters to offshore drilling. As a citizen of Carteret County and declared candidate for county commissioner I stand in solidarity with Governor Roy Cooper, Oceana, CPAC, the Crystal Coast Water Keeper, all concerned municipalities, groups and citizens in the nonpartisan fight against this new short-sighted and dangerous threat to the vitality of North Carolina’s coastal communities. This ill-considered, and potentially disastrous decision must not stand.

This new threat adds even greater importance to upcoming 2018 North Carolina and county elections. At the state level, State Senator Norman Sanderson and NC Representative Pat McElraft have consistently sided with outside Big Oil interests and ignored the legitimate concerns of their constituents. Locally, the Carteret County Board of Commissioners have done much the same, with Commissioner Bob Cavanaugh publicly stating in a recent commissioner meeting that locals who oppose seismic blasting and offshore drilling are "dripping in ignorance." Mr. Cavanaugh’s callous attitude disregards the fact that local municipalities including Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle, Morehead City and Pine Knoll Shores as well as the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Development Authority all passed resolutions strongly opposing seismic blasting and offshore drilling here.

Seismic blasting and offshore drilling are not Republican or Democrat issues—they are Carteret County issues, impacting all who live here. Every one of us is a stakeholder in this fight. The reality we face today with this partisan board of county commissioners on this and so many important local concerns is that unless you have a seat at the table, you are considered to be on the menu. As a candidate, I believe that together we can change that. Please support me and other state and local candidates in 2018 who oppose expansion of seismic blasting and offshore drilling off our coast. Thank you.

Litalien Announces 2018 Commission Run

October 25, 2017

"Williston resident Dennis Litalien announced this week he will oppose longtime Down East Commissioner Jonathan Robinson for his District 6 seat on the County Board of Commissioners in 2018. “The fact of the matter is that for years our board of commissioners have been putting Band-Aids on serious problems and kicking the can down the road until next time,” Mr. Litalien said in his announcement before county Democrats at their Donkey Dinner Fundraiser Sunday.

Mr. Litalien, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of 23 years and small business owner, has composed a campaign platform of economic development, addressing opioid abuse and dependence, environmental preservation and pushing for nonpartisan school board elections, according to materials provided this week. A registered Democrat, he lives in Williston with his wife Renée Hawthorne.

Sunday, Mr. Litalien said he has grown increasingly frustrated with the politics of the county’s highest board. “Their idea of good government is that they’re completely in charge and no one else has a voice or a seat at the table,” he told the crowd of Democratic voters who packed the Country Club of the Crystal Coast for the event.

Both Mr. Litalien and his wife have been regular attendees of county commission meetings in recent months, taking the podium during public comment to address local issues, like offshore drilling and seismic surveying and the outcry over the county taking up a request from the Tea Party to make County Board of Education races partisan. “We all deserve strong representation that’s willing to tackle tough problems,” Mr. Litalien said Sunday.

His campaign faces an uphill battle in deeply red Carteret County, where Republicans have filled the commission seats for years and are routinely elected, with little opposition, in partisan offices. Commissioner Robinson, who has served on county board since 1998 and also had a tenure in the state legislature, routinely brings in some of the highest positive turnout at the polls among commission candidates. His district covers Merrimon, North River, a portion of Wiregrass/Harlowe and all the Down East communities, though voters across the county cast a ballot in the general election for all county commission seats. " (Carteret County News-Times, October 25, 2017)