Rarely is there a lull in political turmoil in Maggie Valley, and this summer is no exception.
With election filing only a few days away, Mayor Roger McElroy’s seat will again be up for grabs, as will the spots of Alderman Phil Aldridge and newly appointed Alderwoman Danya Vanhook.
Vanhook’s seat is a logical starting place in a political discussion of the valley — it’s been the most hotly contested and highly controversial over the last few months.
When Colin Edwards resigned the seat earlier this year over a spat with the town’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission Board, another tussle followed over just how to fill the vacant spot. Some in the valley thought it was only fair to appoint the runner up from the last election, who had at least gained some semblance of backing from voters, which in this case was Philip Wight. But Vanhook, a local lawyer and former district court judge who lost that seat in last November’s election, was appointed instead.
Vanhook said she’s going to throw her hat in the ring for the same reason she applied for the appointment.
“I wanted to serve the town, I wanted to continue to be in public service. It’s a way that I can serve and give back and use my legal skills to bring something to the board,” said Vanhook.
Not easily dissuaded, however, Wight may run again himself.
Meanwhile, Alderman Phil Aldridge said he intends to defend his position.
Aldridge has been embattled with other board members of late, voting against the budget and Vanhook’s appointment and publicly questioning many of the board’s other choices.
“I have a lot of passion for the valley, but what I don’t have that some of them do, I don’t have a personal agenda,” said Aldridge. He plans to try for another term because he said he’s still concerned with the town’s direction.
Last but not least is the mayoral spot, a perch long held by Roger McElroy. McElroy has said that he’ll most likely come back for another round this election year.
But he likely face a challenge from Ron DeSimone, a local contractor, has showed interest in the position.
“There’s a lot of things I see that need to be done in Maggie Valley,” said DeSimone. “Our government in Maggie Valley is growing and so are expenses, and I’m for smaller government and smaller expenses.”
DeSimone has run once before, for alderman, and applied in February for the seat that is now Vanhook’s.