Brown appointed Sylva commissioner

Jonathan Brown will serve as a commissioner for the Town of Sylva. File photo Jonathan Brown will serve as a commissioner for the Town of Sylva. File photo

Following the resignation of Natalie Newman from the Sylva Town Board in April, commissioners have appointed Jonathan Brown to fill the vacant seat. 

Three people applied for the board vacancy. Alongside Brown there was Luther Jones, who ran in the 2023 election, and Sarah Hirsch, the only applicant to address the board during its May 23 meeting when the new commissioner was selected.

“I seek to serve the Town of Sylva as a reasoned and logical mind, a problem solver and an advocate for those who are often under-represented,” said Hirsch during public comment at Thursday’s meeting.

Brown received votes from Commissioners Blitz Estridge, Mark Jones and Mary Gelbaugh. Commissioner Brad Waldrop cast his vote for Hirsch.

Brown is a physical therapist employed by Cherokee Indian Hospital. In his application he attested to be a registered voter living in Sylva, saying he has been a Sylva city voter for one year. He wrote that he has been a permanent, full-time Sylva resident on and off for around 20 years and has never run for an elective office.

“My desire is to help Sylva be the best town it possibly can — I hope to help guide the town into its best years yet,” Brown wrote in his application. “Also, to help the town through various upcoming challenges.” 

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Brown said his leadership positions in various settings from church to healthcare, coaching to volunteer work will make him an asset to Sylva as a member of the town board.

The issues that Brown would like to see the board address include navigating the N.C. 107 road project, facilitating small business growth, providing more opportunities for recreation, tourism that benefits residents and visitors and “protecting our mountain/ family values.” 

“I have limited experience in municipal government, but I do love our town, feel I am qualified to enter this position to serve effectively, and I love to learn and grow in new ways,” Brown wrote. “I love God, love my family, and love my town. I see leadership as service and I will bring to the table a heart to serve the people of Sylva, to make Sylva an even more wonderful place to live and visit.” 

In addition to her seat on the town board, Newman served as a representative for the town on the Main Street Sylva Association Board and the Southwestern NC Home Consortium.

During its last meeting the Sylva town board also voted on replacement representatives to both those boards.Estridge will take Newman’s place on the Main Street Sylva Association and Town Manager Paige Dowling will serve on the Southwestern NC Home Consortium Board.

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