Polk commissioner candidates give backgrounds, qualifications

Published 3:43 pm Monday, October 20, 2008

Editor&squo;s Note: The Bulletin&bsp; invited candidates in this year&squo;s elections to submit information&bsp; about their background and qualifications. The following is a condensed version of each candidate&squo;s sumission.

Ray Gasperson

Ray Gasperson, a Democrat, is running for Polk County commissioner.

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He says over the years he has had many occasions to come to Polk County mainly in a supporting role for his wife and three children who were involved with riding horses. He is a native of Buncombe County with family roots there that span over two hundred years. &dquo;I never thought that I would leave Asheville, but when my mother in law passed away, my wife said &squo;I want to go to Polk County,&squo;&dquo; he says.

Driving around, he says he was awestruck by the rural beauty of Polk County and they purchased 43 acres in Green Creek and established his &dquo;wife&squo;s dream farm.

As a general contractor, he says he knows how development can either enhance or destroy an area.

Gasperson has served in leadership capacities for CETA, St. Mark&squo;s Lutheran Church Council (Asheville), and as student body president at UNCA 1972-73.

As a small business owner for 31 years, he says he knows that in order to be successful, a person must be willing to work hard, be financially responsible, and plan for success.

* * *

Renee McDermott

Renee McDermott, a Democrat, has been active in many community activities.&bsp; She has served on Polk County governmental committees including the Land Use Planning Committee, the Ground Water Sustainability Project, and the Ridgetop and Mountainside Preservation Group.

McDermott serves on the board of the Pacolet Area Conservancy.&bsp; She is a past president of PAC.&bsp; As a retired environmental attorney, county attorney and teacher, she prepares drafts of conservation agreements, the voluntary agreements between landowners and PAC that preserve the conservation values (natural resources, farm lands, animals and plants) of our area.

McDermott is running for County Commissioner because she loves Polk County.&bsp; She wants to carry out the wishes of the people of Polk County as expressed in the Visioning Committee&squo;s recent survey.

Ren´e McDermott understands the need to keep taxes low in Polk County, so that farmers can keep farming and people aren&squo;t driven off their land by high property taxes.&bsp; &dquo;One of the best ways to keep taxes from rising&dquo;, says McDermott, &dquo;is to keep Polk County rural.&dquo; &bsp;

&dquo;I have no agenda except to do my very best for Polk County.&bsp; I&squo;m a good listener, and I want to listen to what all the people here say&dquo;,&bsp; says McDermott.

* * *

David Moore

David Moore, a Republican, is running for Polk County commissioner.

Moore is from the Coopers Gap community and says he wants to be a voice for all Polk citizens.

&dquo;I want to be a conservative spender of taxpayer&squo;s money. I&squo;m willing to support lowering our tax rate which will let our citizens keep some of their hard earned money,&dquo; he says.

Moore is currently employed with Mountain Professionals, Inc. as a DMV certified driving instructor for Rutherford and Polk County high schools and was previously employed with the Sherwin Williams Paint Company for 16.5 years in management.

Moore, a graduate of Polk Central High School, says he believes we have one of the best school systems in Western North Carolina.

He is married to the former Lorraine Bailey of Sunny View and they have two children, Justin and Stacey. Moore is a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church where he is the assistant music director and former youth Sunday School teacher. He has also served as PTSO President and a leadership team member at Polk County High. He serves on the board of directors for Polk Vocational Services.

* * *

Teddy B. (Ted) Owens

Owens, a Republican, is seeking re-election to the Polk County Board of Commissioners.

He is a Polk County native (Tryon is his home town) and he is a Navy veteran who served two (2) tours of duty in the Persian Gulf.

In the total of eight (8) years he has served as commissioner he say he has strived to consider all citizens needs and desires when making decisions that affect them and especially be conservative when spending taxpayer&squo;s money.

He says,&bsp; &dquo;Taxes fuel the engine that government runs on- we need to fine tune the engine. Whenever we lower the Polk County Tax rate, every citizen living in Polk is better off!&dquo;

Owens is a retired executive of Milliken & Co., Technical and Marketing Consultant, author of several articles for trade magazines, served on numerous boards of directors receiving various awards, served as mayor of Columbus, served two (2) years as chairman of the board of county commissioners.

He is married to the former Elna Lynch of Sunny View, and they have three (3) children and six (6) grandchildren. He is a deacon and Sunday School teacher at Coopers Gap Baptist Church.

* * *

Tom Pack

Tom Pack, a Polk County native, is seeking re-election to&bsp; the Polk County Board.

Pack, a Republican, says he has been a strong supporter of the Polk County School system and is in favor of keeping the elementary schools community based.

He says he will again ask for a tax cut this year during budget time.&bsp; He is pushing to stay revenue neutral after revaluation of property is completed in 2009. &bsp;

He has stated, &dquo;When you have poor planning and excessive money there is going to be waste.&dquo;&bsp; Pack says he wants to be there to make sure neither of these happen.

Pack pushed for the increase in lot sizes for major subdivisions to protect both our natural resources and rural character.&bsp; This change did not affect the family subdivisions or the minor subdivisions which helps to provide affordable land for the average citizen.

Pack is Vice President of Manufacturing for White Oak Carpet Mills in Spindale.&bsp; He has been in management for over 15 years.&bsp; He is married to the former Lisa Moore of Taylorsville and they have two children Eric and Timothy.

* * *

Cindy Walker

Cindy Walker, a Democrat, is running for Polk County commissioner.

Walker says when you can slow her down, you will find her enjoying time with her children at their home in the Pacolet Valley.

Cindy and her children, Hannah and Dylan, moved into the Cromer house, their family home in May of 2004. &bsp;

If you ask her what she does, Walker will tell you just briefly about her company Stony Hill Fiber Arts, her teaching jobs or the wallpapering that she does for extra money;&bsp; for she would rather tell you about the volunteer work she does and how it affects the community. She will tell you,&bsp; &dquo;she is a listener, a thinker and hard worker who gets things done.&dquo;

She will tell you &dquo;she has seen phone calls, research and community action become 67,000 pounds of recycled material, she has watched a handful of determined folks gather over 1000 signatures and fill a room of citizens supporting preservation, she has witnessed a small and mighty force of community members raise $16,000 in an afternoon of bowling for kid&squo;s sakes.&dquo;