Two council seats are up for election, with both incumbents and one challenger in the race. Mayor Kolleen Begely is running unopposed for reelection to her seat.
Forest Hills is one of the smallest municipalities in Jackson County, with only 333 registered voters and 380 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 estimate. It’s nestled across N.C. 107 from Western Carolina University in the Cullowhee area.
Councilmember candidates (pick two)
• Age: 66
• Background: Medical social worker with a master’s degree in social work. Married with two adult children, who were raised in the village.
• Political experience: Currently a member of the board at the end of a second four-year term. Past chairman of the Village of Forest Hills planning board.
• Reason to run: “I plan to serve our community of the Village of Forest Hills to maintain sustainability of our local community including social, economic and environmentally. I hope to help with ongoing planning to address any development that may occur and preserve the future interest of our community.”
• Age: 58
• Background: Table games dealer at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, with past jobs including sales manager at Ramcell Cellular and adjunct computer information science instructor at Southwestern Community College. Married with three grown children and two grandchildren, as well as one grown stepchild and five step-grandchildren.
• Political experience: none.
• Reason to run: “I have lived in Forrest Hills on and off since I was 7 years old. I remember when Forest Hills Country Club was operating and the neighborhood was a great place to grow up. During those good times there were no extra city taxes. Now we pay about half as much in taxes to the Village as we pay in county taxes. I want accountability in government as far as our taxes are concerned. I want to know where my tax money is being other than the landscaped entrance of the village.”
• Age: 74
• Background: retired from a career with AT&T
• Political experience: Currently a member of the board at the end of a second term, serving 2009-2017
• Reason to run: “There are some development issues that will be coming before us that I would like to be part of.”
• Age: 49
• Background: Works in accounting and marketing for housing and construction industries, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Has lived in Forest Hills since 2004.
• Political experience: Mayor since December 2013, with service on the budget committee and prior positions as town clerk and finance officer.
• Reason to run: “To follow through and finish the work that the boards have been working on, mainly comprehensive planning, resident services and creating a sense of place based off of community input.”