Sign ups are underway for commissioner seats
As candidate sign-ups get underway, Swain County commissioner incumbents plan to seek another term.
Commissioners David Monteith and Steve Moon are both up for re-election next year. While they haven’t yet officially signed up to run again, they both said they planned to do so.
Monteith, retired market manager at Ingles who is now a Swain County school bus driver, is currently serving his fifth term as commissioner and says he wants to try for another term so he can see some current projects through to fruition.
“I’ll go ahead and try one more and see what happens,” he said. “I’ve never been one to play politics — I’ll register to run and if people want to put me in again I’ll try to get things done.”
Getting the Swain County Heritage Museum off the ground has been a long-term priority for Monteith. While he was instrumental in supporting the project and securing funding for it 16 years ago, he said the project didn’t move forward for many years.
But the museum — on the corner of Everett and Main streets in Bryson City — finally opened in 2014. It’s an accomplishment Monteith is very proud of, but he would still like to see more added to it. If another building was added to the museum, he said, there would be room to display several historic pieces, including 1930s farm equipment and a sorghum machine the county has on hand.
Monteith also is proud of several new fishing piers that have been installed along the river in Swain County to give residents and tourists more access to the Tuckasegee River and Lake Fontana. Many of these projects have been paid for with state and federal grant money instead of local dollars. Since the federal government owns 87 percent of the land in Swain County, Monteith said he would continue to fight for federal grant money to fund needed projects in the county.
Moon, a retired tire shop owner, has served as a county commissioner for 10 years and served as a school board member for six years before becoming a commissioner.
The Macon County Board of Commissioners will have two seats up for election in 2016.
Incumbent Paul Higdon says he plans to run for a second term, but Macon County Commission Chairman Kevin Corbin will be seeking a higher office next year. Corbin signed up Dec. 1 to run for state House District 120 since Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, decided not to seek another term. Since Corbin’s commissioner term is up next year, the seat will be up for grabs whether Corbin is elected to the House or not.
Higdon has been self-employed for 17 years in the family business, Sewer Solutions, and he is also a partner in Reuse Innovations. Both companies deal with wastewater development and construction. While he is often the lone “no” vote on spending issues, he feels like he adds another perspective on the board and creates more discussion among commissioners.
“I’ve mostly been in the minority vote for spending projects, but I still believe in a limited but efficient government,” he said.
Higdon also is proud of the board’s decision to hire County Manager Derek Roland during his first term in office.
“I was instrumental in selecting our county manager and I think we did a good job — he’s the most capable county manager around.”
As of press time Tuesday, no one had signed up to run for either of the commissioner seats. The primary election has been accelerated in North Carolina from May to March 15. The deadline for candidates to sign up to run for office is noon on Dec. 21.