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Saluda candidate biographies

The following contains biographical information about the six candidates running for office in the Saluda municipal election. Fred Baisden, Rodney Gibson (incumbent) and John Morgan (current Saluda commissioner) are running for mayor. Hop Foster, John Kinard (incumbent) and George Sweet are running for two open seats on the Saluda Board of Commissioners.
Incumbent Laura Fields filed to run and her name was placed on the ballot, but she later withdrew for health reasons. If Fields is elected, she will not be eligible to serve and someone will be appointed to fill her seat.
Mayor candidates
Fred Baisden
I grew up in Gordon, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, Ga., in 1972, with a B.S. in industrial management. I have been married to Terry Stubbs since 1971, and we have two sons.
I worked for Milliken & Company in Spartanburg, S.C., from 1972 until 1976 in various positions. I began working for Abbott Laboratories in Laurinburg, N.C., in 1976, and spent five years in production management and human resources. My career in sales with Abbott began in Simpsonville, S.C., where, as division manager, I managed a $40 million district with nine employees, covering 136 hospitals in N.C., S.C., and Ga.
I retired from Abbott in February 2006, after 30 years of service. We made Saluda our permanent residence in February 2007, after renovating a family home. We are members of the Saluda United Methodist Church.
I spent two years on the Saluda Planning Board where we developed a working zoning ordinance that was passed by the board of commissioners. While working on the planning board and attending the monthly commissioners’ meetings, I decided that I wanted to get involved in the day-to-day activities of city government. Several friends encouraged me to run for mayor, because I could devote my full time to this position. I feel that my diversified background, managerial style, and communication skills will be valuable to the City of Saluda if I am elected mayor.
Rodney Gibson
Married for 34 years to Melody, Saluda native. Our permanent home has been Saluda since 1979.
Professional engineer. B.S. UNCC in urban and environmental engineering, 1974. Graduate studies in business and finance at Miami University. Marshall University 1969 – 1971.
Currently executive vice president of Basofil Fibers in Enka, N.C. Manufacture fire retardant fibers for use in military, fireman’s turn out gear, bedding, filtration, aircraft and many other uses.
Spent 30 years in industry, government and consultancy. Have special expertise in outsourcing, basic energy, alternative energy, business processes, organizational management including labor relations and environmental engineering. Led many cost reduction programs including efforts that resulted in savings of over $50 million.
Successfully managed in all types of organizations, domestic and international. Government, research & development, steel companies, energy, textiles, consultancy and self-employed with revenues/budgets ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions.
20 years with the City of Saluda in some official capacity, dedicating more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service to Saluda not including as an elected official.
Included nine years as volunteer as zoning administrator and volunteer consultant on water and wastewater. eight years as city commissioner and three years as mayor. Prior to that, provided advice as needed on water & sewer.
Instrument-rated private pilot (&t;1,600 hrs, mostly business travel)
Member of Sound Investment – a regionally well-known classic rock ‘n’ roll band.
John Morgan
John Morgan was elected as a Saluda City Commissioner in November 2007 and currently oversees the citys water and sewer utilities.
John grew up in California and attended college at Washington State University and California State University, Long Beach where he received a bachelors degree in accounting and later a master’s degree in business administration.
In 1993 John retired from the U.S. Air Force after a 21-year career that began during the Vietnam war. The highlight of his career was having the opportunity to fly Presidents Bush and Clinton.
He retired again in 2006 after a career as an airline captain responsible for training pilots for his company. John and his wife Elena currently operate a small business in Saluda.
I decided to run for mayor because I have a strong conviction that we must preserve the Saluda we know and love. Some of our infrastructure was developed during times of limited resources and needs upgrading or rebuilding which we are in the process of doing at this time. We also need to provide services more efficiently and provide guidance with respect to zoning and development. To succeed we need to continue to tap Saludas most important resource, its citizens. If a Saluda resident was to leave town and return in 20 years Id want them to be able to say ‘this is just the way I remember.'” Additional information is available at morgan4mayor.com.
Commissioner candidates
Hop Foster
I was born and raised in Saluda. I worked 39 years at Cranston Print Works in Fletcher, N.C., as a textile manager. I have been a Saluda volunteer fireman for 55 years and am currently the honorary chief.
I have previously served on the Saluda zoning board.
I am a member of the Saluda United Methodist Church, where I am the chairman of trustees.
I currently work at the Tryon Country Club and McFarland’s funeral chapel part-time. I have been married to Rheta J Foster for 39 years. I have two daughters, Teresa Judge and Tonya Jackson, and one son Randy Foster.
John Kinard
I was born and raised in South Texas, Brownsville and McAllen, where I grew up. I attended Tulane University for undergraduate and hold a MBA and J.D. from the University of Texas in Austin, a masters in education from Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas and was a Rotary Fellow to Oxford and the London School of Economics for Post Doctoral Studies in econometrics.
I was senior vice president and trust officer for McAllen State Bank, 1968 to 1975, and financial and tax consultant in McAllen from 1975 to 1978, when I became a limited partner and house counsel for Freedom Newspapers.
I moved to Saluda in 1982 and set up the Hendersonville bureau of the Asheville Citizen-Times until 1986 when I owned and operated the Furniture Doctor in Flat Rock and retired in 1997.
Currently, I am a lay reader and member of Transfiguration Episcopal Church, member of Saluda Mens Club for the past 10 year and I have been a Saluda City Commissioner and served as mayor pro tem for two of those years.
The last nine years I have been commissioner of public safety over the police and fire departments. During this time the police department has been under budget every year for a total savings of $107,743 with total grants received of $149,234. This coming year our budget is $87,225 under what it was 10 years ago. This is not my credit alone but reflects the hard work of our new chief Jim Cantrell and city administrator Erny Williams.
Over the past 10 years I have worked hard to keep Saluda like it is at the lowest cost to the taxpayers and will continue to do so if reelected.
George Sweet
Im not sure where to start with a biography, but, assuming voters are most interested in my professional qualifications, Ill begin with graduation from Clemson College with a degree in electrical engineering in 1958. I worked with Duke Power Co. in a variety of engineering and management positions for 42 years, including manager of labor relations for the corporation and concluding with vice-president of Nantahala Power and Light, a subsidiary of Duke. I retired in 1999.
I have long been involved with church and civic responsibilities, including United Way, Boy Scouts of America (Scoutmaster for 20 years), Rotary, chambers of commerce, several environmental organizations involved primarily with water quality, and service as a hospital trustee.
More recent appointments are the North Carolina Commission for Public Health, the Saluda Medical Board, the Polk County Economic Development Commission and the Saluda Board of Adjustment.
My wife Nettie of 49 years and I have two children and five grandchildren. We have been part-time residents of Saluda for 50 years and full-time for 5.
The following contains biographical information about the six candidates running for office in the Saluda municipal election. Fred Baisden, Rodney Gibson (incumbent) and John Morgan (current Saluda commissioner) are running for mayor. Hop Foster, John Kinard (incumbent) and George Sweet are running for two open seats on the Saluda Board of Commissioners.
Mayor candidates

Fred Baisden

Commissioner candidates

Hop Foster

I was born and raised in Saluda. I worked 39 years at Cranston Print Works in Fletcher, N.C., as a textile manager. I have been a Saluda volunteer fireman for 55 years and am currently the honorary chief.
I have previously served on the Saluda zoning board.
I am a member of the Saluda United Methodist Church, where I am the chairman of trustees.
I currently work at the Tryon Country Club and McFarland’s funeral chapel part-time. I have been married to Rheta J Foster for 39 years. I have two daughters, Teresa Judge and Tonya Jackson, and one son Randy Foster.John Kinard
I was born and raised in South Texas, Brownsville and McAllen, where I grew up. I attended Tulane University for undergraduate and hold a MBA and J.D. from the University of Texas in Austin, a masters in education from Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas and was a Rotary Fellow to Oxford and the London School of Economics for Post Doctoral Studies in econometrics.
I was senior vice president and trust officer for McAllen State Bank, 1968 to 1975, and financial and tax consultant in McAllen from 1975 to 1978, when I became a limited partner and house counsel for Freedom Newspapers.
I moved to Saluda in 1982 and set up the Hendersonville bureau of the Asheville Citizen-Times until 1986 when I owned and operated the Furniture Doctor in Flat Rock and retired in 1997.
Currently, I am a lay reader and member of Transfiguration Episcopal Church, member of Saluda Mens Club for the past 10 year and I have been a Saluda City Commissioner and served as mayor pro tem for two of those years.
The last nine years I have been commissioner of public safety over the police and fire departments. During this time the police department has been under budget every year for a total savings of $107,743 with total grants received of $149,234. This coming year our budget is $87,225 under what it was 10 years ago. This is not my credit alone but reflects the hard work of our new chief Jim Cantrell and city administrator Erny Williams.
Over the past 10 years I have worked hard to keep Saluda like it is at the lowest cost to the taxpayers and will continue to do so if reelected.George Sweet
Im not sure where to start with a biography, but, assuming voters are most interested in my professional qualifications, Ill begin with graduation from Clemson College with a degree in electrical engineering in 1958. I worked with Duke Power Co. in a variety of engineering and management positions for 42 years, including manager of labor relations for the corporation and concluding with vice-president of Nantahala Power and Light, a subsidiary of Duke. I retired in 1999.
I have long been involved with church and civic responsibilities, including United Way, Boy Scouts of America (Scoutmaster for 20 years), Rotary, chambers of commerce, several environmental organizations involved primarily with water quality, and service as a hospital trustee.
More recent appointments are the North Carolina Commission for Public Health, the Saluda Medical Board, the Polk County Economic Development Commission and the Saluda Board of Adjustment.
My wife Nettie of 49 years and I have two children and five grandchildren. We have been part-time residents of Saluda for 50 years and full-time for 5.I grew up in Gordon, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern College in Statesboro, Ga., in 1972, with a B.S. in industrial management. I have been married to Terry Stubbs since 1971, and we have two sons.
I worked for Milliken & Company in Spartanburg, S.C., from 1972 until 1976 in various positions. I began working for Abbott Laboratories in Laurinburg, N.C., in 1976, and spent five years in production management and human resources. My career in sales with Abbott began in Simpsonville, S.C., where, as division manager, I managed a $40 million district with nine employees, covering 136 hospitals in N.C., S.C., and Ga.
I retired from Abbott in February 2006, after 30 years of service. We made Saluda our permanent residence in February 2007, after renovating a family home. We are members of the Saluda United Methodist Church.
I spent two years on the Saluda Planning Board where we developed a working zoning ordinance that was passed by the board of commissioners. While working on the planning board and attending the monthly commissioners’ meetings, I decided that I wanted to get involved in the day-to-day activities of city government. Several friends encouraged me to run for mayor, because I could devote my full time to this position. I feel that my diversified background, managerial style, and communication skills will be valuable to the City of Saluda if I am elected mayor.Rodney Gibson
Married for 34 years to Melody, Saluda native. Our permanent home has been Saluda since 1979.
Professional engineer. B.S. UNCC in urban and environmental engineering, 1974. Graduate studies in business and finance at Miami University. Marshall University 1969 – 1971.
Currently executive vice president of Basofil Fibers in Enka, N.C. Manufacture fire retardant fibers for use in military, fireman’s turn out gear, bedding, filtration, aircraft and many other uses.
Spent 30 years in industry, government and consultancy. Have special expertise in outsourcing, basic energy, alternative energy, business processes, organizational management including labor relations and environmental engineering. Led many cost reduction programs including efforts that resulted in savings of over $50 million.
Successfully managed in all types of organizations, domestic and international. Government, research & development, steel companies, energy, textiles, consultancy and self-employed with revenues/budgets ranging from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions.
20 years with the City of Saluda in some official capacity, dedicating more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service to Saluda not including as an elected official.
Included nine years as volunteer as zoning administrator and volunteer consultant on water and wastewater. eight years as city commissioner and three years as mayor. Prior to that, provided advice as needed on water & sewer.
Instrument-rated private pilot (&t;1,600 hrs, mostly business travel)
Member of Sound Investment – a regionally well-known classic rock ‘n’ roll band.John Morgan
John Morgan was elected as a Saluda City Commissioner in November 2007 and currently oversees the citys water and sewer utilities.
John grew up in California and attended college at Washington State University and California State University, Long Beach where he received a bachelors degree in accounting and later a master’s degree in business administration.
In 1993 John retired from the U.S. Air Force after a 21-year career that began during the Vietnam war. The highlight of his career was having the opportunity to fly Presidents Bush and Clinton.
He retired again in 2006 after a career as an airline captain responsible for training pilots for his company. John and his wife Elena currently operate a small business in Saluda.
“I decided to run for mayor because I have a strong conviction that we must preserve the Saluda we know and love. Some of our infrastructure was developed during times of limited resources and needs upgrading or rebuilding which we are in the process of doing at this time. We also need to provide services more efficiently and provide guidance with respect to zoning and development. To succeed we need to continue to tap Saludas most important resource, its citizens. If a Saluda resident was to leave town and return in 20 years Id want them to be able to say ‘this is just the way I remember.'” Additional information is available at morgan4mayor.com.

Incumbent Laura Fields filed to run and her name was placed on the ballot, but she later withdrew for health reasons. If Fields is elected, she will not be eligible to serve and someone will be appointed to fill her seat.