Democrats

• Kirk Kirkpatrick, a lawyer, has been on the board since 2002 and has been a supporter of recreation.
• Michael Sorrells has been a commissioner for four years and previously served six years on the school board. He is a service station, convenience store and café owner in Jonathan Creek.
• Bill Upton, the retired superintendent of Haywood County Schools, a principal and teacher, has been on the board eight years.

 

Republicans

• Denny King, a conservative voice in county politics and frequent critic of sitting commissioner’s decisions, previously ran for a commission seat in 2012. He came within 300 votes. 

• Phil Wight, owner of a motel in Maggie Valley and Maggie town alderman. Wight has long been involved in Maggie’s controversial breed of politics and a player in the tourism industry.

 

Libertarian

• Windy McKinney, is a historian and writer with a Master’s Degree in Medieval Studies from the University of Kent, in the United Kingdom. She is the Libertarian Party of Haywood County’s first candidate for county commissioner and feels the area is ready for a candidate who will “change politics as usual.”

Jackson commissioner chairman

• Jack Debnam, the current commissioner chairman and a Realtor. As an unaffiliated candidate, he belongs to neither party. 

• Brian McMahan, a Democrat, previously served as commissioner chairman but lost to Debnam in 2010. The 39-year-old chief of security at Balsam Mountain Preserve is now seeking a rematch.

 

Jackson commissioner: district that spans from Dillsboro to Qualla 

• Charles Elders, a Republican and sitting commissioner, is the owner/operator of Elder’s Superette. 

• Joe Ward, a Democrat and farmer, is retired from CSX Transportation. 

 

Jackson commissioner: district that includes Sylva and Scotts Creek

• Doug Cody, a Republican and sitting commissioner, has worked in the insurance industry for 29 years.

• Boyce Deitz, a Democrat, is a retired teacher and football coach. He coached former U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler as a high school quarterback, and later went to work for the congressman. 

Highlands district, one seat

Republican 

• Jim Tate is seeking reelection because he wants to “ensure that Macon County will continue to be a great place to live and call home through low taxes, great schools, safe communities and efficient services.” He is president of Tate Landscaping Services, and has served on numerous Highlands town boards.

Democrat

• Michael David Rogers owns a landscaping business. If elected, he plans to focus on attracting business to the area, as well as environmental issues. “I love the mountains and the water and I just don’t like seeing it be trashed out and destroyed.” 

Franklin district, two seats

Republican

• Ron Haven, a motel and inn owner and sitting commissioner, said he intends to “keep taxes low” and work to improve the community for future generations. “I’ve got an interest in watching my children grow up and have opportunities in life.”

• Gary Shields, a retired educator and Vietnam veteran, said he feels a sense of  “civic responsibility” to his home. “I care, I care about Macon County. If you’ve got the time, the energy and the want-to, you need to be involved.”

Democrat

• Ronnie Beale is a two-term commissioner who previously served as chairman, and is a leader in the NC Association of County Commissioners. He is president of a construction company and previously served on the planning board.

Libertarian

• John Martin is a “semi-retired entrepreneur” who has worked in the insurance and real estate fields. He wants to “facilitate a better tomorrow” through “long-term sustainable growth.” He intends to work to “keep taxes low” and ensure Macon County is “business friendly.”

“Good jobs in Macon County are getting tougher for people to find today and citizens deserve better.”

Highlands district, one seat

Republican 

• Jim Tate is seeking reelection because he wants to “ensure that Macon County will continue to be a great place to live and call home through low taxes, great schools, safe communities and efficient services.” He is president of Tate Landscaping Services, and has served on numerous Highlands town boards.

Democrat

• Michael David Rogers owns a landscaping business. If elected, he plans to focus on attracting business to the area, as well as environmental issues. “I love the mountains and the water and I just don’t like seeing it be trashed out and destroyed.” 

Franklin district, two seats

Republican

• Ron Haven, a motel and inn owner and sitting commissioner, said he intends to “keep taxes low” and work to improve the community for future generations. “I’ve got an interest in watching my children grow up and have opportunities in life.”

• Gary Shields, a retired educator and Vietnam veteran, said he feels a sense of  “civic responsibility” to his home. “I care, I care about Macon County. If you’ve got the time, the energy and the want-to, you need to be involved.”

Democrat

• Ronnie Beale is a two-term commissioner who previously served as chairman, and is a leader in the NC Association of County Commissioners. He is president of a construction company and previously served on the planning board.

Libertarian

• John Martin is a “semi-retired entrepreneur” who has worked in the insurance and real estate fields. He wants to “facilitate a better tomorrow” through “long-term sustainable growth.” He intends to work to “keep taxes low” and ensure Macon County is “business friendly.”

“Good jobs in Macon County are getting tougher for people to find today and citizens deserve better.”

Commissioner Democratic candidates

• David Monteith is the longest serving county commissioner with 16 years on the board. Retired Ingle’s market manager and a school bus driver.

• Steve Moon has served for 8 years and is on the board and owns a tire and service shop.

• Ben Bushyhead, a retired department director in Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians government. He narrowly lost in the 2006 election for the county board but won this year.

• Danny Burns, a Pepsi Cola technician, ran as a challenger in the May primary and sailed to victory.

 

Commissioner Republican candidates

• Carolyn Bair, retired grocery store cashier and fast-food worker.

• Lance Grant II

Six candidates are vying for three seats in the Haywood County commissioners race. They fall in two tidy camps when it comes to their views on the county’s emergency management ordinance, making the issue a quick study for voters.

When passed in 2009, the emergency management ordinance was a sleeper, a bunch of government legalese that few paid attention to other than the emergency services workers who actually think about things like FEMA money and disaster declarations.

This year’s race for Jackson County commissioner chairman is a rematch between two familiar figures. Each have claimed the title for their own four-year stints. The baton was handed over following an close contest in 2010.

So close, that Brian McMahan is back for round two, hoping to reclaim his place on the board.

Macon County Schools got a little extra to fix up their buildings when some bids for the Parker Meadows recreational complex came in low. All of the extra money went to education, with $39,400 going to Southwestern Community College and $100,000 to MCS’ capital outlay fund. 

fr fieldtripSitting in the judge’s seat, Jackson County Commissioners Chairman Jack Debnam took a look around. He absorbed the courtroom, glanced down at Commissioner Doug Cody on the witness stand and County Manager Chuck Wooten in the jury box. 

fr macon daysA group of past Macon County Commissioners spent an hour reminiscing about their triumphs and reflecting on lessons learned in front of an audience that included two Election Day hopefuls last week. The lunchtime program was the third in a series from the Macon County League of Women Voters examining the county’s growth from the perspective of those who served it during key moments. 

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