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News Commission challengers offer their input and goals for Macon County

Ricky SnyderRicky Snyder
Democratic Challenger: District Three

Can you tell Macon County News a little about your background?

“I currently manage two apartment communities: Oak Forest Apartments is a Section 8 Elderly for senior citizens 62 and older, and Orchard View Apartments a Tax Credit (Affordable Housing community). I have been in Housing for about 30 years, the last 13 years at these properties. Affordable housing has been for me a way to help families with low income housing. I am very knowledgeable in housing and in the construction industry. I have certifications in HVAC (Heating and Air conditioning), Blue Print Reading, Electrical Controls, and Home Inspection.

I was born in Louisville Kentucky, Raised in Tennessee. I have a high school diploma and went to a Vo-Tech college for 2 years. I am a brother of the Baptist Men Association of North Carolina and a member of Cowee Baptist Church.”

Why did you decide to run?

“The mountains are our home and where our children went to school. Its where I found Jesus and without him, I couldn’t do this. This is where we want our grandchildren to grow up with better job opportunities, safe homes, and conserving the mountains and valleys. Listening to the people of Macon County and being a Voice for the citizens on all issues.”

What are the main issues you will focus on this primary season?

“I will focus on the Economic development, Affordable housing, Affordable Daycares, and Tourism. We must be vigilant and work to fully involve our citizens in the development of growth related policies.”

What areas of Macon County would you like to improve?

“Jobs, the construction industry has bottomed out. We need to look at the restrictions and ordinances that we put on the builders. There is a difference between restrictions and con-striction.”

The budget is always a big issue every year for the commission board. How would you approach this agenda item in a slow economy?

“I believe in transparency and would look at every line item closely and see what we could do without.”

What separates you from everyone else who is running? What kind of leadership and skill set would you bring to the commission board?

“First, I am not a career politician, and I would bring a common sense approach with integrity, caring, and professionalism.”

What do you want voters to know about you before they go vote in the primary?

“That I have no formal training in politics, and I am not a career politician.”


Victor DrummondVictor Drummond
Republican Challenger: District Two

Can you tell MCN about your background?

“I was born and raised in Detroit. I attended college and earned degrees in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Following college I worked for DuPont for 23 years in various technical and managerial positions.

I left DuPont to achieve a dream by starting my own company which provided computer consulting and software development services. I ran the company successfully for ten years.

I retired and moved to Macon County in 2004 to enjoy all the blessings the area provides.”

Why did you decide to run?

“After running for County Commissioner in 2010, I decided that would be my one and only run for political office. I also decided to continue closely following activities of the County Planning Board, and the Board of Commissioners. I have been doing that for the past several years by attending meetings and researching issues.

Since filing for this election began in February, I had been following which candidates were filing for the various races. I became concerned when District 1 and District 2 Commission seats had only one Republican candidate each as the filing deadline approached. In addition, both seats were held by Republicans that had been appointed by the Macon County Republican Party.

I was also concerned that not a single Democratic opponent had filed in Districts 1 or 2 to oppose the two Republican incumbents.

I believe strongly that every candidate should have at least one competitor so voters have a choice. No one should be able to win an office for lack of opposition, especially when they had been appointed to the office.

In addition, I was disappointed when Commissioner Corbin failed to support Commissioner Haven’s proposal for term limiting Planning Board members. Instead, he supported the proposal put forward by the Democrats. I was also disappointed with his vote with the Democrats to reappoint Mr. Penland to the Planning Board without publicly considering any other candidates.

I waited until two hours before the filing deadline, and with the failure of any other opposition to appear, I filed to run for the District 2 seat to oppose Commissioner Corbin in the Republican primary.”

What are the main issues you will focus on in the primary?

“I will point out to Republican and Unaffiliated voters (who may elect to vote the Republican primary ballot) the differences between myself and my opponent on specific issues. I hope to convince voters that I am the TRUE conservative candidate in the race for District 2.”

What would be your goals as a commissioner?

“Recognizing that one commissioner cannot achieve anything without support from at least two other commissioners.

I would work to make the Board of Commissioners more transparent. I would make my positions known during Board meetings, and not make back-room agreements or horse trade with other commissioners. I have observed that some decisions seem to be agreed to before commissioners make their public votes. Sometimes there is very little public debate to reveal the pros and cons of an issue, and the logic used by commissioners to make their decisions.

I would work to prevent a ‘steep slope’ ordinance from being enacted.

I would work to make sure all new or amended ordinances are limited in scope to meet specific and necessary needs of County citizens, and they would NOT have negative impacts on real estate sales, construction, or land development – the lifeblood of the County.

I would work to make sure personal property taxes are levied on an equitable basis, and the current 27.9 mil millage rate is LOWERED.

I would work to make sure that the general fund budget remains under tight control. I would not allow the general fund budget to increase simply because of increased tax revenues.

I would work to make sure that all citizens are able to enjoy their lives without undue interference by the County.”

What areas of Macon County would you like to improve?

“I believe there are opportunities to improve the efficiency of County government. For example, commissioners appoint members to over 50 different committees, boards, and authorities. When not required by State law, I believe the number should be reduced by combining those where it makes sense, and eliminating those that rarely meet.

I would like to see the County work closely with our volunteer fire departments to update equipment, facilities, and training to assist them to achieve lower fire protection classifications resulting in lower homeowner insurance costs. The Otto Fire Department recently passed a State examination which will lower homeowner insurance costs in Otto. Small increases in fire tax rates to pay for these improvements could result in substantially reduced homeowner insurance costs.”

The budget is always a big issue every year for the commission board. How would you approach this agenda item in a slow economy?

“The County needs to continue the path it has been following for the past several years of reducing or holding flat general fund spending. However, in 2010 the personal property millage rate was unnecessarily increased from 26.4 to 27.9 mils. The County’s Comprehensive Financial Report for the year ended June 30, 2011, shows that the nearly $1.5 million in extra tax revenue resulted in the Unreserved Fund Balance increasing by a similar amount. The millage increase was uncalled for, and unwisely took nearly $1.5 million out of the local economy.

Regardless the state of the economy, I would reduce the personal property millage rate to the lowest possible level while continuing to meet the 25% goal for the Unreserved Fund balance ratio. Every extra cent taken from taxpayers results in less economic activity in the County.

The County must continue to provide prudent financial support for basic county services such as education, law enforcement, emergency services, senior services, and health. Simply increasing spending in any of these areas does not necessarily equate to improved outcomes. I would always carefully study outcomes from County services to determine the properly balanced spending levels.”

What separates you from your primary opponent?

“I am a politician who was not hand-picked by his party for a position on the Board of Commissioners. I am not continually gauging the political winds to determine what direction to go. I will always make decisions based on the best interests of the County, not some power brokers interested in controlling political decisions. I am the TRUE conservative in this race who is not afraid to tell the public exactly where I stand on issues.”

What do you want Republican primary voters to know about you before they go vote in the primary?

“Unaffiliated voters voting in this primary may select either a Democratic or a Republican ballot when they vote. I hope that those Unaffiliated voters who supported me in 2010 will do so again by selecting the Republican ballot.

I want all voters to know that I believe what I say, and I say what I believe. During the campaign I will spell out exactly where I stand on issues, and how my positions differ from my opponent’s.

I have held conservative views all my life which can be summed up as – lower taxes, less government, and more individual freedoms. I believe government needs to provide a basic safety net for all legal residents that need it. Government should issue laws, rules, and regulations only as needed.

If primary voters want to vote for the TRUE conservative candidate, they need to vote for Vic Drummond.”

Republican challenger for district one, Steve Higdon, did not want to participate in the question and answer session. Republican challenger for district three, Paul Higdon, could not be reached as of press time


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