With the full support of his board, County Commissioner Ronnie Beale has announced that he will be running for the second vice-president seat in the North Carolina Association for County Commissioners. A successful bid will give Beale an executive seat on the NCACC board of directors, put him in line for the presidency, and give Macon County as well as the Western North Carolina region a greater voice in the organization.
The NCACC is a statewide local government association and one of the most effective lobbying groups in the state, advocating for local issues before state legislature as well as the executive and judicial branches of government. Boards of commissioners in every county are eligible for membership in the association.
For the past three years, Beale has been an active member of the Health & Human Services Committee and last year was appointed to chair the committee. Among the many issues the committee has been engaged in, ensuring adequate mental health funding in the state has been made a top priority of the NCACC for the 2011 legislative session.
“I feel I’m a strong advocate for where we live here in the western part of the state,” Beale said. He added that the mountain counties have unique needs and perspectives and that is important to have active representatives in the NCACC. “We’re in a rural community, and this is just a different world than Orange County or other parts of the state,” he explained.
At the Feb. 8 meeting of the board of commissioners, Chairman Brian McClellan stated that he and the entire board supported Beale’s bid for the office. “I want to say publicly that I support him 100 percent,” Mc- Clellan said. “I think it would be a great accomplishment for our end of the state ... It gives us a better position and a way to really get in touch with the legislators in Raleigh that are sending laws down to us.”
McClellan noted that the last time the county had had an executive seat on the NCACC board was in 1986 when Milles Gregory, commission chairman at the time, served as president of the association's board. “He gave us a tremendous voice for our end of the state,” said McClellan, “and we haven't had anybody since that time – over a quarter of a century – who would be willing to take that on.”
“I would not have taken this challenge on without the support of this board, but more especially, without the support of a woman named Sissy Beale,” Beale said. Beale added that he has already received the support of several counties. “The NCACC is the one voice that all counties can speak through to the North Carolina legislature,” he said. “I was humbled by their request that I do this.”
Beale told the board that his candidacy would be officially announced on March 7 at the National Association of Counties' annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., during the North Carolina Caucus. “After that, we've got to get 51 votes, and we’re going to work to do that,” Beale said. Elections for the NCACC board will be held in August.
“The only thing I can promise the folks of Macon County that put me in this seat is that I will still work just as hard every day for Macon County as I do now and have tried to do since I was elected,” Beale said.