Candidates return questionnaires ahead of November election
by Taylor Pardue Staff Reporter
The Yadkin Ripple sent questionnaires to the county’s municipal board candidates following the close of registration for the November elections.
In them, candidates were asked general questions about the candidate’s family, education and other biographical information to give voters a brief overview of each of the choices heading into Nov. 5 elections.
Candidates were contacted by the addresses and telephone numbers provided by the Yadkin Board of Elections. Efforts were made to email the questionnaires out; if that was impossible paper forms were mailed to the available addresses.
Each candidate was contacted multiple times in an effort to have 100 percent participation, and those who were not contacted were mailed a questionnaire to the available address.
Each candidate received the identical questionnaire as the rest. Each question had a limit of 250 words per answer, with The Ripple reserving the right to edit for word count.
• Name: Kelly Oliver
• Family: Married, 1 child
• Education (include military, if applicable): Associates Degree in Radiologic Science - Forsyth Technical Community College, Bachelors Degree in Religious Education - Covington Theological Seminary
• Work history: Cardiac Catheterization and Vascular Radiology – Wake Forest Baptist Health, 21 years.
• Have you served in political office before? If so, what office did you hold and for how long? No
• Why are you running for this office? I currently serve on the Yadkinville Town Zoning Board of Adjustment. I have enjoyed working in this capacity but I want to become more involved in town affairs.
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? I am proud to call myself a native of Yadkin County. I have lived here for 42 years. I love this town and its people. I have a vested interest in seeing the town grow to its fullest potential. By working in health care, I can appreciate the needs we all face as a multicultural society and the economic impact that job loss is having on society as a whole. I feel that I work well as a leader as well as a team player and I always welcome new ideas or shared concerns from anyone regarding any project I am involved with.
• What are the biggest challenges facing Yadkinville? I feel that the decline in jobs in Yadkinville is a major challenge to our town. We need more full time employers that offer their workforce benefits such as insurance, paid time off and retirement plans.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? 1. Job growth is one of my top priorities. I will work to promote Yadkinville as a place where companies want to reside. I am also a big proponent of buying local, keeping money within our own community.
2. I will work diligently with other elected town officials to keep taxes as low as possible.
3. I will work to support programs and policies already put in place or that are underway that I feel will have a positive outcome for the town.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? To promote job growth, the tax base should stay as low as possible. As residents, people do not want to live in an area that has a high or constantly rising tax rate. Keeping tax rates low also gives more incentive to prospective companies to take a serious look at moving to Yadkinville. High taxes reduce the return on investments, both for individuals and companies. I am not in favor of raising taxes, but rather looking first at other avenues, such as within the current budget where funds could possibly be redirected based on project need or other forms of external funding to accomplish tasks at hand.
Wanda Spillman Johnson
• Name: Wanda Spillman Johnson
• Family: Married 42 years to Larry Johnson, have two daughters and one grandson.
• Education: attended Fall Creek Elementary until 4th grade, moved to East Bend, started East Bend Elem., later East Bend High School, then graduated from Forbush High School
• Work history: after graduation I worked at Bates Nitewear in Yadkinville, then I married, and after first daughter was born I became a stay at home mom. I was at home for several years to take care of my girls. I later went to work for East Bend Dinette, after that I worked at East Bend Shoprite. I also worked some part time for Reece’s Old Fashion Ice Cream in East Bend.
• Have you served in political office before? If so, what office did you hold and for how long? Yes, I was appointed to the Town Board of Commissioners in November 1998 after Edward Choplin left his seat, because he moved out of East Bend City Limits. I finished out his term, and then ran for office in 1999. I was elected and have been on the Town Board of Commissioners since then, serving some 2 year terms and some 4 year terms. Making the total years this November fifteen years.
• Why are you running for this office? I would like to think that by running I will be making a difference,
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? Don’t really feel like I am unique or special or different in any way, except for the fact that I have been the only female on the Town Board for a number of years,
• What are the biggest challenges facing East Bend? At present to me the biggest challenge is to get a new water system for the people of East Bend, A system that will be able to meet the demands of all the customers. And, also to be able to serve more customers in the future.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? To continue to work with the Board to obtain the new water system, to attract more business to help off set the revenue for the town. and to keep the tax rate down if at all possible,
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? No, the economy is tough, people have it hard to make ends meet, so we as the Town Board of Commissioners, have a responsibility to the citizens to do what we can to prevent the tax rate from going up.
• Name: Luke Storie
• Family: Wife: Maggie, Mother and Father: Jan and Brad Storie
• Education: B.S. in Physical Education from Appalachian State and a Masters of Arts in Education from East Carolina
• Work History: Taught Physical Education in Yadkin County for 8 years at West Yadkin Elementary, Starmount High School, and Fall Creek Elementary.
• Have you served in political office before? No
• Why are you running for this office? To serve the people of the town of Boonville
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? Youth and new ideas
• What are the biggest challenges facing Boonville? Not being on the town board yet I wouldn’t know the biggest challenges. I would have to wait and see when elected.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? To serve the people, to serve the town and to serve the community as best I can and do what I feel is best for all.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? I don’t know because I am not currently in the meetings to know the town’s situation.
• Name: Gerald Brown
• Family: Wife — Carmin Storie Brown; Daughters: Margaret Brown (Deceased), Myra Brown Dudelstone and husband Jeff; Granddaughter — Margaret Dudelstone
• Education (include military, if applicable): East Bend High School
• Work history: Part owner and manager of B and O and Yadkin Plaza Hardware for 35 years
• Have you served in political office before? Is so, what office did you hold and how long? Mayor of Boonville — eight years, Commissioner for Town of Boonville — eight years
• Why are you running for office? I am running for this office to serve the people. I want to continue to make this town a great place to live.
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? I have experience in Boonville’s town government.
• What are the biggest challenges facing Boonville? Water and sewer improvements
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? Upgrade in water and sewer
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? No. In the current economic times we need to do all that we can to keep taxes down for our residents.
• Name: Bonnie Bovender Lasky
• Family: I have been married to Richard Lasky for almost 30 years. I grew up in Boonville and am the daughter of Howard and Ola May Bovender.
• Education (include military, if applicable): I graduated from Starmount High School and Lees-McRae College.
•Work history: The majority of my career was spent as a Federal Government employee. I worked for the Department of Defense (Norfolk, VA, and Washington, DC), Department of Commerce (Washington, DC), and Department of Energy (Washington, DC). I retired in 2006 with 30 years of Federal service and returned to my hometown of Boonville with the intention of finding ways I could help the community.
• Have you served in political office before? If so, what office did you hold and for how long? In 2007, I was elected as a commissioner for the Town of Boonville and served in that capacity for 4 years.
• Why are you running for this office? It was an honor to serve the citizens of Boonville from 2007-2011. During those 4 years, I spearheaded the effort to have Boonville accepted into the NC Rural Economic Development Center’s Small Towns Economic Prosperity (STEP) program. In the first phase of the program, Boonville received $30,000 along with technical assistance to use for planning and the creation of Boonville’s first Economic Development Plan. In the second phase of the program, Boonville received $100,000 to use to complete projects identified in the Economic Development Plan. No Boonville taxpayer dollars were used for this program. Because I have a passion for Boonville, I am again running for commissioner. I want to ensure that the momentum begun to improve the economic conditions in Boonville will continue to effect positive change in the quality of life for Boonville’s citizens.
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? My leadership skills and my experience in dealing with Federal, State, and Municipal government officials affords me a unique and broad understanding of how to effectively and efficiently accomplish a variety of tasks. I have and continue to be active in the community in areas of tourism promotion, destination marketing, main street development, and downtown revitalization. I have networked throughout the State and cultivated relationships at the State and local levels. Boonville has respected working relationships with the NC Rural Economic Development Center, NC Department of Commerce, UNC School of Government, and with Yadkin County and surrounding municipal officials. In 2009, I received the Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Yadkin County Community Foundation, and I currently serve on their Board of Directors. In 2012, the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce presented me with its Community Service Award. I am currently a member of the Yadkin County/Yadkinville Tourism Development Authority. In 2012, I was also awarded the NC Rural Economic Development Center’s Outstanding Rural Leader Award, and I currently serve on the Rural Center’s Rural Economic Development Organization’s Board of Directors. I also serve on the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor Board of Directors. I am involved with the Friends of the Boonville Library serving on its Board of Directors and as its treasurer. I also serve on the Board of Directors of the Boonville Business and Downtown Development Association, Inc. My church, Boonville United Methodist, is very important to me.
• What are the biggest challenges facing Boonville? Its aging infrastructure is a big challenge facing Boonville as it is in many rural communities. And although several improvements have been made, another big challenge is the need to revitalize Boonville’s downtown district.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? My top three priorities are as follows: (1) work with the Mayor, commissioners, and Town of Boonville staff to upgrade the town’s aging infrastructure by assisting in the search for grants and low-interest loans; (2) work closely with the Boonville Business and Downtown Development Association, Inc. to continue with the revitalization of Boonville’s downtown district; and (3) find ways to attract new businesses to Boonville for the convenience of the citizens of Boonville.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? Having not been closely involved in the most recent budget cycle, it is somewhat difficult to answer this question. Boonville is financially sound. The current staff has found efficient ways to operate, which has already generated significant savings. If Boonville continues with its current capital improvements and is able to lure new businesses to town, I do not believe the town will need to raise taxes.
• Name: Anita Darnell
• Family: Married to Scotty Darnell (No Children)
• Education (include military, if applicable): East Wilkes High School, Wilkes Community College.
• Background: Hotel/Restaurant Management, Business administration.
• Work history: Worked in the hospitality management for 27 years in Jonesville.
• Have you served in political office before? No.
• Why are you running for this office? To give back to a community that has given to me; To help put Jonesville back on the map, a destination for travelers and new comers in our community.
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? Have worked and or lived in the community for 34 years. Currently serving on several committees such as the Jonesville Business Association, Jonesville Tourism and worked closely with many town citizens and town officials
• What are the biggest challenges facing Jonesville? Our public library, parks, and Greenway, our water system, lack of stable jobs.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? To get the citizens more involved in our town. Better communications between the citizens and town councils, and to have marketing plan for growth.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? No times are difficult, we must work smarter to not allow this to happen.
• Name: Andy Green
• Family: Wife of 26 years, Sarcanda Green. One son, Zane Green, a junior at Wingate University
• Education (include military, if applicable): Graduate of East Wilkes High School
• Work history: I grew up in a family general merchandise store business. Worked at Green Valley Farms where I ran a wholesale florist route and sold to retail chains. Currently employed with Cintas Corporation as a service sales rep, I have been with Cintas for 14 years.
• Have you served in political office before? If so, what office did you hold and for how long? Currently serving a four-year term as a Jonesville town commissioner.
• Why are you running for this office? To be involved in the town I reside in and love, and hope to make a difference for the future of Jonesville.
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? My faith, my youth, and my background in day to day business matters that can help in making the right decisions for Jonesville.
• What are the biggest challenges facing Jonesville? Getting people to stop in Jonesville to visit and stay in our motels, eat at our restaurants and shop in Jonesville. Tourism plays a very important part in our future. Getting the Greenway completed. Getting Boonville connected to our water system would be a very important project.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? First would be connecting Boonville to our water system. Second would be trying to get our sidewalks updated and hopefully more added. Third, first impressions are hard to overcome, we need to clean up in our town to make it more appealing. There are more things I want to achieve if elected.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? I have voted not to raise taxes while on the board.
• Name: Gene Pardue
• Family: Married – wife and two daughters
• Education (include military if applicable): graduate Jonesville High School, attended Surry Community College, active duty and National Guard six years
• Work History: building contractor
• Have you served in political office before? If so, what office did you hold and for how long? Mayor and commissioner – town of Arlington 1980, Town of Jonesville – commissioner – mayor – pro-tem
• Why are you running for this office? Concern for citizens of Jonesville
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? Past experience in town government
• What are the biggest challenges facing Jonesville? Infrastructure and jobs for the community
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? Market the town of Jonesville — for new companies
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? No
• Name: Jerry Lee Wood
• Family: Living alone
• Education (include military if applicable): Not available.
• Work history: Electronic service
• Have you served in political office before? No.
• Why are you running for political office? Roads in need of repair, water is horrible and the town is “fee” happy (crazy).
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? Change.
• What are the biggest challenges facing Jonesville? Roads, water and fees.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? Roads, water and fees.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? The town needs to stop wasteful spending.
A write-in candidate also contacted the paper and requested to be included in the questionnaire forum. To be fair to other write-in candidates the paper published an announcement in the Oct. 3 issue to allow other write-ins to contact the Tribune, but none did so.
• Name: Judy Wolfe
• Family: My immediate family resides in the tri-county area.
• Education: BA in English, M.Ed. in counseling and administration, Ed.S. in personnel, Ed.D. in personnel administration.
• Work history: Teaching and education administration 28 years; Marketing and sales five years; Retired (community volunteer) six years.
• Political experience: Member, Jonesville Town Board in the mid-1970s (served as commissioner for finance, recreation and grants writing) for four years.
• Why are you running for this office? I can offer leadership in budget planning, in promoting jobs/economic growth and in representing the concerns of citizens.
• What do you offer that is unique in the election race? Experience as a high school principal and as coordinator for the Jonesville Historical Society with demonstrated success in budget management, grants writing and problem-solving.
• What are the biggest challenges facing Jonesville? Budget/finance, facility use and the delivery of public services.
• What will be your top three priorities if elected? 1) to review cost of services & utilities (i.e., water/sewage bills); 2) to include business & citizen input in decision-making, 3) to write grants to supplement tax base.
• Do you believe the town should be raising taxes now? No.
Reach Taylor Pardue at 835-1513 ext. 15 or email@example.com.
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