UPDATED Dec. 23, 2019 —
Several local people filed this month for elected offices in the 2020 elections. Filing ended on Friday, December 20, at noon.
Eight candidates have filed for Alexander County Board of Commissioners and seven candidates for Alexander County Board of Education, according to Patrick Wike, Elections Director.
County Commissioner candidates
Two seats of the five-member county commission are up for election in 2020; the incumbents are Jeff Peal and Ryan Mayberry. Mayberry has stated he is not seeking re-election. Seven Republican candidates, including Peal, and one Democratic candidate filed for candidacy, as listed below:
Jeffrey Peal, 55, of Hiddenite (formerly of Ellendale), filed as a Republican for the County Commissioner seat he currently holds. Peal is principal of Millersville Christian Academy. He is married with three children and two grandchildren.
Peal submitted the following statement: “It has been an honor to serve as commissioner of this great county and be able to represent you during my term since 2016. I have prayerfully concluded to run for Commissioner again as I love serving this county and my record of dedicated service precedes even my time as commissioner. I have been blessed with an amazing wife (Renee Peal), two children still at home (Baylee and Elijah Peal), as well as a daughter Savannah Wilson who is married to Ryan Wilson and they have 2 children (Ivy and Grant) and are expecting number three this summer. Alexander County is a great place to live and raise a family. Yes, we have our issues, but all places have issues and we are fortunate that our issues are small when you look around the state. Together, we can continue to make things even better. In Alexander County, regardless of the issue, it is always good to see great people come together and create solutions,” Peal stated.
“Oftentimes, people want to compare us with more urban areas but truth be known, we are not an urban area and will never be like some places. We can, however, be the best Alexander County we can be and no other area can be just like us! Many of you voted for me in 2016 and I appreciate that. I want you to know that I have strived to be honorable in all my duties and represent you well. I also realize that some of you did not vote for me in 2016, but I still worked hard to represent you as well, and hopefully, you will vote for me this time. We live in a country today that is paralyzed by polarization and that is sad as I view my role as representing all citizens of Alexander County. I assure you that regardless of how you are affliated, I will represent you and strive to always do what’s right.
“As Chairman this past year, it has been good to see the following issues addressed: Alexander County Water System Improvement Project; Bethlehem Sewer Extension Project; Low unempolyment; Stony Point Elementary School CDBG-I Sewer Project; Bethlehem Community Plan; Consolidated Human Services Board and Advisory Board; Consolidated Emergency Services; Alexander County Services Center is open and functional, adding to downtown; Dusty Ridge / Wittenburg Access (Duke Energy Park Projects); Borealis Compounds Industrial Project; Alexander County Historic Preservation Board; increased funding for Education, Public Safety, and Human Services while fund balance increased to almost 32% (31.70%) from 31.01%; most building inspections are scheduled same day — big improvements — customer service greatly improved; plan developed for Alexander County Courthouse Park — PARTF funds to be requested in 2020; approved water study for Bethlehem area development; potential Bethlehem projects to coincide with road widening and possible increased water capacity; new restaurants.
“I could go on, but have simply touched the highlights. Furthermore, I have done nothing by myself as I have been blessed to serve with outstanding men as commissioners as well as a great County Manager in Mr. Rick French. I cannot speak for boards past, but in the last 4 years, we have not raised taxes and we have been very careful with every tax dollar collected. It is often very difficult to develop a budget as there are very limited resources and many worthy wants and needs. We have tried to be as fiscally responsible as possible because the money we have is your money and we do our best to be wise with it.
“There certainly is lots of vision for the future, as we have many needs to be addressed. At some point, we will need to build a courthouse and that is a long term project, but it would be nice to align that project for consideration once we have our jail paid off. We have some of the very best Emergency Services people as they often risk much to protect and serve us and we need to continue to make strides to improve their salaries. Alexander County is home to a great school system that faces many challenges as well, and together, we need to make sure it stays that way so we can continue to develop our young people. The state road widening project in Bethlehem is going to be huge and spur a lot of growth that we need to be ready for. Economic Development is a never ending conquest and we have to do our best to get ahead of the curve and stay there. Economic Development is not just new businesses but also supporting our current businesses. We have many long time business in our county who have been loyal to us and have provided many jobs and services over the years. Also, often overlooked is our farming and agricultural industry. This is a huge part of the Alexander County economic engine and we must continue to support them as well.
“As commissioners, we must strive to meet all the needs listed above plus many others. We do this through a multi-generational approach as we have citizens who are babies and those who are senior citizens, all of which have needs.
“I, promise, if elected, to represent you to the best of my ability and appreciate your support throughout this next election cycle. I am proud to be a resident of Alexander County and I consider it an honor to serve you. God Bless,” Peal stated.
Russell E. Greene, age 55 of Ellendale, also filed as a Republican candidate for a seat on the Board of Commissioners. Greene recently retired as Alexander County Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Director and now works with NC Emergency Management. He is married with one child and two grandchildren.
“I’m running because I spent 20 years working in Alexander County. I still want to be involved in Alexander County Government. This is an opportunity to do that. The County has started down the road on some great projects and there are other projects to come that will not only be of benefit to our employees, but to our citizens also,” Greene related.
Thomas McDaniels, age 43 of Hiddenite, filed as a Republican candidate for county commission. He is married with two children. McDaniels formerly worked with Alexander County Animal Control. He is employed by Makson, Inc., of Salisbury, and is pastor at Cochran Street Bible Church in Statesville.
“I’d like to bridge the gap between the Sheriff’s Department and the County Commissioners, and bring God back into government,” McDaniels stated. “The Scripture that I’ll be standing on is Isaiah 9:6, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder…’ We need to bring God back into government.”
“I also want to fight for Social Services, so they can get the support they need, for staffing, et cetera, from the County. Another point is that I want to fight for the First Responders and EMS personnel,” McDaniels added.
L. Macy Jones, age 55 of Taylorsville, filed as a Democratic candidate Dec. 4 for the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. She is employed as Alexander County Head Start Director and is an ordained minister. She has one daughter, Morgan Parsons, who resides in Raleigh. Jones’ education includes a Bachelor of Science from Gardner Webb University in Human Services, Master of Science from North Carolina Central University in Family & Consumer Sciences, Master of Divinity from Shaw University in Raleigh. Currently serving on the following boards: Consolidated Human Services Board, CVCC Early Childhood Advisory Council, Board of Directors for the Partnership for Children, Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the NC Head Start Association. She is a member of Macedonia Baptist Church, Hwy. 90 East, Taylorsville.
“When I was contemplating returning to my hometown in 2012, I took some time to go visit my mentor, friend, and former Professor from Shaw University Divinity School, Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan. She and I talked about what returning home would look and feel like for me. I must admit I had mixed emotions about coming home, especially after living in Raleigh for almost 13 years. As we talked about my bitter-sweet emotions she said, “When you go home you should run for County Commissioner.” I just deflected the suggestion and didn’t give her comment much thought.
“However, after being home almost 8 years and writing grants that required looking at county statistics, I started thinking very seriously about running for an elected position. I paid attention to the percentage of minorities living in Alexander County and to the rising number of substance abuse users. According to the Alexander County Snapshot report for the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 12.2% of the people living in Alexander County are people of color. According to this same report 49.2% of the people in the county are females. I compared the percentage of minorities to the number of minority representatives in elected positions. To my knowledge there aren’t any people of color in any elected positions; and there has never been a person of color elected as a County Commissioner. From what I’ve heard, Judy Moose and the late Dr. Ruby Little are the only females to have served on the Board of Commissioners.
“So, why am I running for County Commissioner? I am running because it is time for the elected positions in the county to reflect the diversity of this community. Let’s face it, there are some things that affect minorities that do not necessarily affect others. There are some topics that women may find easier to discuss with another woman. The same is true for people of color. I want to be available for the residents of this county that may feel like their voices are not being heard. Therefore, I hope to help increase the dialogue between the minorities in the community and the Board of Commissioners.
“I am running for this office because I want to hear what the youth and young adults have to say about Alexander County. I foresee forming a non-partisan Thinktank. I want to sit down with this specific population and let them tell me what’s important to them. I want to hear their perspective on what will make Alexander County the place where they want to live, work, worship, socialize, play and raise their families. I want to do some strategic planning and brainstorming with them about what Alexander County could look like in the future for them, their children and families.
“There are a few other reasons that I am running for county commissioner. I am very concerned about the number of deaths due to overdoses and how the county can work with law enforcement, therapists and the health department to address these premature deaths. Another problem that we have in the county is the number of families in crisis due to social- emotional issues.
“Sadly, many of the problems associated with social-emotional issues involves children as well as adults in our community. We don’t have enough therapists and providers equipped to assist with the problems that accompany substance abuse, and social-emotional wellness. I would like to see us come up with a plan as a community to address these critical situations or we will continue this downward spiral. The downward spiral will continue to hurt the county. Employers will have difficulty finding reliable, healthy employees. Children will continue to struggle in school. Families will continue to fall apart and risk falling into poverty if the person responsible for paying the bills isn’t well.
“Finally, let’s work as a community to resolve the homelessness in our community by looking for opportunities to provide affordable housing or shelter for our residents.
“These are the reasons that I am offering myself as a candidate for County Commissioner. I am willing to try to do as much as I can do for my community. I am approachable and sincere about serving the residents of Alexander County. I know that I can’t do it alone. I’ll need help from the community,” Jones concluded.
Kent Herman, age 62, of the Ellendale Community, filed as a Republican candidate for a seat on the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. He is married to Martha Reid Herman and has three children, Tiffany Stephenson, Stephanie Wright, and Colby Herman. He has six grandchildren and is the son of the late Ned and Kay Herman. Mr. Herman is a lifelong resident of Alexander County and is a conservative Republican.
Kent Herman has served on the Alexander County Soil and Water Board for 23 years, the National Milk Producers Federation Board in Washington, D.C. the Dairy Farmers of America Board in Kansas City, Kansas and is the current chairman of the Southeast Council of DFAN and is on DEA’s executive board. DFA is the largest dairy Co-op in the United States.
Kent and his late brother, Rodney, and his late father, Ned Herman, have operated Herman Dairy Farm, Inc., since 1979. He also operates a beef and poultry business and H&H Arena along with his son and son-in-law. He is a member of Mt. Herman Baptist Church and a partner of Country Grace Church.
Herman said he is committed not to raise property taxes and to spend the taxpayers’ money conservatively and wisely. He would appreciate your vote.
Mark Z. Carrigan, of Taylorsville, filed as a Republican candidate for County Commissioner. He is employed as a sales representative with Cargo Transporters. Mark grew up in the Wittenburg area and now lives on the southeast side of Taylorsville. He and his wife, Julie, have two sons.
Carrigan explained he is running “to participate in the election process and serve all the people of Alexander County. To do so, to me, requires having a servant’s heart, and that’s the primary reason for me choosing to run for office and, if elected, to serve the people of Alexander County. I’ve contemplated running for a county commissioner position for several years, but the Lord has not given me peace about it, so I didn’t do it. Now that I’ve prayed about it, and feel led to do so, that’s my primary reason for running for county commissioner. I want to serve the people of Alexander County. I’d like to wish all the folks of Alexander County a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.”
David Marzean, age 57 of Bethlehem Community, filed as a Republican candidate for County Commission. He and his wife have been married for 35 years and have two children and three grandchildren. Mr. Marzean works as Assistant Terminal Manager at Tran South Logistics in Morganton.
“I’ve been living in Alexander County since I got married to one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met in Taylorsville, named Judy Nicholson. We’ve been married now for 35 years now and we have 2 of the greatest children anyone could ask for, David Marzean, 16, and Victoria, 23, which is now married to DJ Acord. They made me and Judy very proud grandparents by blessing the family with 3 beautiful girls,” Marzean said.
“I’ve been wanting to run for office now for quite some time. I’ve been going to the meetings at the Republican headquarters and learning a lot, with the help of Jack Simms and Harry Robertson. Every time there is an election, I see the same people year after year run for office. I see the same amount of progress getting done. So this is where I made my decision to offer my services to Alexander County for the seat of County Commissioner!
“I work as an assistant manager at Tran South logistics in Morganton, NC, also known as the Driver Lead. I’ve got great organization skills. That’s right! I’m nobody special. I don’t come from money, and like most of you, I struggle to make ends meet. Do you know me? Yes, you do! I’m the dad cheering at his daughter’s softball games, or the dad hoping his son can steal another base in baseball! I taught numerous children discipline and self respect through martial arts. I’ve been part of your families’ memories as a DJ for weddings and school special events!
“I would like to see things improve around the county. I am very conservative and great with budgeting. With common sense and God’s guidance, I promise to do the best that I can for the county,” Marzean concluded.
Josh Lail, age 42 of the Bethlehem Community, filed as a Republican candidate for County Commission. Lail is married with six children ages 19 months to 18 years. He previously served on the County Commission one term, 2014-2018, and two terms on the Alexander Board of Education, 2004-2012. He owns and operates Josh Lail & Co., a residential construction company, and RE/MAX Traditions, a real estate company in Alexander County.
Lail stated, “Having served as a commissioner from 2014-2018, I have seen firsthand both how wonderful Alexander County is and ways we can improve. I feel like I have the ability to work with the other commissioners to make Alexander County an even better place. We need economic growth to offset the costs of the providing services and protecting our citizens. As a local business owner, I have firsthand experience and ideas that I think will be beneficial to everyone,” Lail began.
“I am a life long resident of our County. I was raised by parents and grandparents that instilled the value of community service in me. I can hear my father saying, “Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life,” a portion of the Jaycee Creed, right now. He truly believed and lived by that. I believe we should do all we can to leave our community a better place than we found it,” he said.
“I do have a selfish reason for wanting Alexander County to be the best it can be: my wife and I have six children. All parents want the best for their kids and I’m no different. I have chosen Alexander County as my home and want to make sure I have done everything I can to make it the best it can be for my children and future generations to come,” Lail concluded.
Board of Education
There are four seats up for election on the seven member Alexander County Board of Education: one four-year seat in School District 1 (incumbent Scott Bowman), one four-year seat in District 3 (incumbent Caryn Brzykcy), two seats in District 4 (incumbents Brigette Rhyne, a four year seat, and a two year unexpired term of Cindy Sellers, who was appointed to the seat in 2018).
Candidates who have filed are:
Brigette Rhyne, age 51 of Stony Point, is running for her fourth term on the Alexander County Board of Education. She represents School District 4. She operates Brigette’s Staffing in Taylorsville. Rhyne is married with three children and one grandchild.
“I have enjoyed serving on the Board of Education for the past eleven years. We have a great school system with a caring staff that only wants the best for children. Although we are limited with the funds we receive, our board, administration, and staff work hard to meet the needs of all our students. I have always tried to put ‘Children First’ when making a decision for our school system. We have a lot of accomplishments to be celebrated in our school system and I hope that I can be a part of those successes over the next four years,” Rhyne stated.
Kenneth Deal, age 33 of Ellendale, filed Dec. 5 to run for Board of Education District 3. Mr. Deal is a farmer and is married. He and his wife have two children and are expecting a third.
“As a parent of a student of Ellendale, it would be my mission to bring unification in this community and its participation in speaking for our children and the education they deserve. I believe that with the help of all concerned parents and community members, we can and will make a better and brighter future for our children. My vision is to help nurture ‘the leaders’ of the future,” Deal stated.
Marty Loudermilt filed Dec. 11 for the 2-year unexpired term in District 4. He is age 50 and lives in Stony Point. Loudermilt is married and has three children. He previously served 8 years (2 terms) on the Alexander County Board of Education. He recently retired from a career of 30 years as law enforcement officer. He is now employed part-time with G.L. Wilson Building Company.
“The reason I’m running is that with the 8 years I spent on the board in the past, I feel like we had a lot of accomplishments, but I don’t feel like we’re finished. I feel like I can give more to the school system and our district, and continue to support the children’s needs in education,” Loudermilt said. “I do look forward to serving with the current board members. I’d like to help as much as I can.”
Larry Holland, age 72 of Taylorsville, filed Dec. 12 for the District 3 seat. He is a retired vice president of Shell Oil Company who has resided in Alexander County for 14 years. He and his wife, Sue, have been married for 50 years. They have two sons, one of whom (Chris) has lived in Alexander for 12 years.
“I have been active member of the Taylorsville Rotary Club for 12 years,” Holland stated. “I have also been a volunteer with the Friends of the Library program for 5 years in which I have read to Wittenberg Elementary Head Start students each month. My wife and I also volunteer as reading tutor volunteers at Ellendale Elementary School as part of the Reading Partners Program sponsored by the First United Methodist Church in Taylorsville. I am a certified North Carolina Substitute Teacher and have previously taught a wide variety of subjects at West Middle School and Alexander Central High School. In the past, I have also served as a judge for the annual FFA presentations. Previously, I have served as a part time instructor for CVCC and participated as a visiting panelist in their Business school and have provided instruction to ACHS teachers as well. Lastly, my wife and I have served as hosts to 5 different European students since moving to Taylorsville.
“I have been involved in education since college when I became a Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor. For three summers, I taught swimming and boat safety to a large number of people ranging from 4 to 78 years of age. Upon graduation from college, I joined the U.S. Navy and as a collateral duty was the Training Officer on a 1800 crew ship for two years. I personally trained 63 sailors who subsequently earned their GED and 2 others who earned Associate degrees. Throughout my 33 years of working for Shell Oil Company I had numerous opportunities to formally teach staff on a wide variety of subjects. Lastly, while living in Houston, Texas, I was a substitute teacher and taught in a local Middle School.
“As demonstrated above, I receive great satisfaction in helping others grow skills and knowledge. I have lived in 9 different states, travelled widely throughout America and around the world. I have interfaced and developed friendships with a very wide variety of people from many cultures. I greatly value learning and, in turn, educating others. I believe that I have a flexible, creative, open mind and know the benefit of multiple points of views when trying to reach a decision. Lastly, I have directly managed very large businesses with hundreds of millions of dollar budgets, managed many large and small organizations, and been in many leadership positions. In short, I believe that I can offer benefit to Alexander County’s Board of Education, if elected.
“Initially, I wish to learn much more about our school system, policies, directions, and issues and plan to do so by participating in Board meetings during the next year. I hope to also gain further insight by asking questions of the public, teachers, and Board members. My aim is to have a good understanding about the county’s school system and be ready to become a knowledgeable and active member on the Board. I presently believe that it would be presumptuous to state my objectives with insufficient knowledge to do so. However, I firmly believe that prioritization of issues and the development of clear goals is key to improvement in any endeavor. I have these skills and hope to assist the Board in using these tools for success. Lastly, I believe that the foundation of a prosperous, happy life is built through education. The base of that foundation’s construction in Alexander County is in the hands of our educational system. I would welcome the opportunity to contribute,” Holland concluded.
Ramie Robinson, age 43 of Ellendale, is seeking the District 3 seat. Robinson is a lifelong resident of Alexander County. He and his wife, Michelle (a 4th grade teacher at Taylorsville Elementary), have two children, Braedon, 12, and Rylee, 9, who attend Alexander County public schools.
He is currently employed by Catawba Valley Community College as Electrical Systems Technology Instructor (August 2019 – Present). Prior to this, Robinson was employed by Alexander County Schools in the Maintenance Department (July 1996 – August 2011) as Electrician, HVAC Technician, and then as Career and Technical Education Teacher for Electrical Trades from August 2011- July 2019.
Robinson is a 1994 graduate of Alexander Central High School, graduated August 1996 from CVCC’s Electrical Systems Vocational Diploma with a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems Vocational Diploma; and during January 2012 – August 2013 he earned Occupational Education Coursework from from Isothermal Community College.
In Community Involvement, Robinson is active in Alexander County Habitat for Humanity Board (2014 – Present, Board President 2018 – Present); Alexander Central High School Improvement Team (2014-2019); Alexander County Schools Strategic Planning Committee, 2015-2016; Alexander County Association of Educators (Member 2011-2019, Vice President 2012-14, President 2014-2016).
In addition, Robinson is a National Board-Certified Teacher (received in December 2019), a Skills USA Advisor (2011-Present) of multiple State Winners and two National Medalists. He received the Alexander County Community Spark Award in 2016.
“I have had the opportunity to grow up in the Ellendale Community and reside there today. I am proud to be a product of the Alexander County School system. My life took a significant turn when I made the career move in 2011 to enter the classroom and fell in love with helping to shape the lives of our young people in this county. My involvement continued beyond my classroom doors to advocate for my students, as well as the students at Alexander Central High School and Alexander County, while working with the Alexander County Association of Educators. I would like to continue to advocate for our schools by serving on the Alexander County Board of Education,” Robinson said.
He continued, “The Alexander County schools have a statement of ‘Children First.’ If elected, I would like to pursue every possible avenue to see that every child receives the best possible education. We must continue to work with local, state, and national lawmakers to pursue funding to address facilities needs but also to increase instructional funding levels to ensure our teachers have the necessary resources in their classrooms. I look forward to providing more information and having more discussions in the future about my goals for seeking a seat on the Alexander County Board of Education as we move into 2020.”
Scott Bowman, 52, is seeking his third term on the BOE for District 1 (Bethlehem seat). He is self-employed at Bowman Tire & Auto. Scott and his wife, Melissa, have three children: Katie, Jacob, and Mollie; one daughter-in-law, Kendra; and one grandson, Brooks.
“I feel like our Board has worked very well together for the last two terms. We’ve gotten a lot accomplished. We are in the middle of a lot of school renovation and construction and I’d like to continue to see that through, as one of my concerns right now. I’d like to continue to help our schools to get better every year, and help keep our children feeling safe and loved and cared for.”
Crystal Buchanan, age 47 of Bethlehem, also filed for the BOE District 1 seat. She is married and has two children.
“I am excited to be a candidate for the Alexander County Board of Education District 1. I am a full-time employee with the Town of Long View in Administration with almost 17 years of service to the Town with a total of 23 years in local government. I have a vested interest in the quality of education in Alexander County having 2 children in the Alexander School system, currently attending West Middle School and Alexander Early College. Both began their education at Bethlehem Elementary School. While they were attending Bethlehem, I served on the Parent Advisory Committee and during that time was tasked with coming up with solutions to the traffic pattern entering and exiting the school during drop off and pick up times. We offered various solutions and I am happy to say that a new pattern has been adopted and implemented. Also during this time, we organized a meeting with the Principal and officers of the PTO to suggest new, exciting fundraising ideas to bring in more fundraising dollars for the school. Several new ideas were accepted and have been a success,” Buchanan said.
“If elected I look forward to working along side the other members of the School Board to ensure our dedicated teachers’ concerns and needs are heard and ensure that they are provided with the proper tools needed to instruct our students. Our schools, administrative staff, educators and students are among the very best in the state and I would be honored to be given the opportunity to work to make them even better,” Buchanan stated.
State elected positions sought
District Attorney Sarah Kirkman (R), of Statesville, filed for her fourth term as District Attorney for Alexander and Iredell counties at the State Board of Elections in Raleigh on Monday, Dec. 2.
Mark Hollo (R), of Conover, formerly of Taylorsville, H. Dean Proctor (R), of Hickory, and Tina R. Miles (D), of Hickory, have filed to run for N.C. State Senate to represent Catawba and Alexander counties in District 42.
Jeffrey Elmore (R), of North Wilkesboro, has filed for re-election to N.C. State House in District 94, which includes Alexander. He is unopposed.
Rob Young (R), of Statesville, and Susan M. Ervin (R), of Mooresville, have filed for the Iredell County seat District Court Judge for District 22 A.
Judge L. Dale Graham (R) and Judge Edward L. Hedrick IV (R), both of Taylorsville, and Judge Christine Underwood (R), of Stony Point, have filed for re-election to their District Court seats.
Judge Julia Lynn Gullett (R), of Statesville, filed for re-election to her Superior Court seat and is challenged by Will Long (R) of Statesville.
Bryan A. Corbett (R), of Statesville, Daryl G. Davidson, Sr. (R), of Statesville, and Adam C. Hilton (R), of Mooresville, have filed for election to the new District Court seat in District 22A.