Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor — Pat Lawson
Occupation: Real estate agent
Campaign website: http://patlawson4sandw.blogspot.com/
Very few people know what the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor does. How would you explain to voters what you do?
That’s a tough question, because I’m not in to the job yet. There are five commissioners that run the office and I think there’s about seven or nine people that actually report to the five supervisors, they’re actually called supervisors. Three are elected, two are appointed.
But basically, what they do is dispense funds on how to take care of our natural resources and so forth, whether that be water, land or soil or wildlife. It’s more to create ideas or to implement ideas and strategies to comply with regulations. And, there’s grant money and so forth that’s associated with it. So, we use some of that money to help implement ideas. You know, it was created in 1935 by Roosevelt – the Conservation Act – and I don’t think a lot of people know about it. I think your question was, “what do you do to promote it”? I don’t think a lot of people know that the soil and water guys are there.
So, what you’re saying is, you would explain it to people by just, you know, the job description is something like “finding a way to comply…”
Yes, that’s right. It’s non regulatory, so you’re not implementing laws, or you’re not creating rules, but you’re trying to show how to combat – how to conserve natural resources in your given area. For example, when Roosevelt created it in 1935, that was because of the Dust Bowl. And the Dust Bowl, you know, all the soil was blown off the farms. So they created the act to come in and help farmers, you know, show ‘em how to plant trees, put up fences, irrigation – to combat another disaster such as the Dust Bowl. So the same thing would apply here, but obviously on a much smaller scale.
What are your priorities for the office if elected?
Well mainly just education, trying to get out there. Just like you said, most people don’t even know what the department does. So our main focus would be, or my main focus, would just be to draw some attention to the office. And, you’re also looking for grant money, state money, federal moneys, so you want to try to draw attention, to create, to bring in those moneys and to create more awareness of the office. And, to get out there and see people. I mean, right now, basically, I think everybody knows about it – the farmers know about it – but do they know about it in Johnston, just around the area? No, they probably don’t. North Hills, when they’re building something or they’re doing a subdivision, they probably don’t even know that we’re even there when they could use us as a resource.
Why should your constituents elect you?
That’s a good question. I’ve got a lot of energy. I’ve got a lot of background in Wake County. I’ve been a realtor. I know the area. Five hundred and eighty-seven square miles in Wake County: I’ve been probably to every corner of the county. My background is – does involve commercial construction – so I’m involved with the construction process, know the process. And I just know what’s going on in the county. I have a current website where I’m your Raleigh tour guide, ‘cause I try to follow everything that’s going on in the area, and the building and the construction that’s going on. Also, I bring a lot of energy to the department and I’m looking forward to it.