Archived Opinion

Waynesville needs Mayor Gavin Brown back in office

op frI sincerely hope Waynesville citizens support Mayor Gavin Brown for reelection.

Municipal elections carry more import than most people realize. The decisions made by mayors and aldermen do not have as direct — and large — of a bearing on your pocketbook as the decisions made at the county, state and federal level, but they do matter. Down at the municipal level, it’s really more about impacting our quality of life and putting in place the amenities we enjoy in small towns.

And make no mistake, Waynesville did not get where it is now by accident or luck. It’s a great town because over the last 25 years it has had visionary, progressive and wise leadership, and Brown has played an important role since taking office.

Think Waynesville’s downtown is cool? Do you like the rec park, the rec center and the skatepark? Like Waynesville’s unique mix of businesses? How about the renaissance of Frog Level and Hazelwood, and the new development going on out in west Waynesville? Like the street festivals and the nicely designed town municipal building and firehouse? How about the burgeoning live music, arts, food and craft beer scene?

It’s difficult for leaders of small towns to deliver on promises, especially where there is a large cost involved. There’s just not that much discretionary money to work with despite what some candidates might make noise about. It takes vision, working together toward common goals, and the ability to move forward in a rather methodical, step-by-step process until one arrives at an end goal. 

That’s why in the upcoming election it is vitally important that Waynesville citizens return the incumbent to office. Brown is the epitome of a small-town mayor, someone who possesses just the right combination of character traits and professional skills to keep Waynesville moving forward as one of the finest places to live in Western North Carolina.

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Brown was born and raised in Waynesville, is a successful attorney, has been elected to the school board and served on the Waynesville town board prior to becoming mayor. He also is a member of many other civic organizations and groups. Brown has given countless hours of his life back to this community.

I’ve watched Brown in public life since he was first elected to the school board. As an elected official he is passionate about letting everyone have a seat at the table and letting all voices be heard. Whether it’s his training as an attorney or just his demeanor — I suspect it’s a combination of both — he is natural consensus builder who is not afraid to let others take the lead. Just as important, he knows there are times when a good leader needs to to speak up and make their own opinions known. That’s a nuanced style of leadership that’s all too rare in today’s politics.

Just as important, Brown wants to continue as Waynesville’s mayor for the right reasons. Like his predecessor Henry Foy, his singular motive is to make Waynesville the best small town in the country in which to live. He doesn’t want accolades, would never bash publicly those who disagree with him, and takes his position as mayor very seriously. 

Brown’s opponent in this election — Jonnie Cure — has spent the last several years attacking local leaders without offering any substantive vision for what she believes. She has offered no evidence that she has the ability to work together with aldermen to accomplish any goals that will help Waynesville’s citizens or its business community. Her ideas for slashing spending might carry more weight at the state or federal level, but at the local level those ideas would negatively impact the quality of life we enjoy in Waynesville. Her leadership would take us backward at the very time the economy is rebounding, Western North Carolina is among the most popular places in the country, and Waynesville’s future is potentially very, very bright. 

This election is as important for Waynesville as any in recent memory. Send Mayor Gavin Brown back to the mayor’s office.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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