Polk commissioner candidates share bios

Published 12:36 pm Friday, October 1, 2010

Ray D. Gasperson

I am a native and lifelong resident of our beautiful Western North Carolina Mountains. My wife Sue and I recently celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. We have three adult children. Laura and her husband Kevin Peek live in Green Creek along with our granddaughter Meredith, who attends Polk Central School. Julia and her husband Jared Roddy also live here in Polk County, and our son Corey lives here on our farm in the Green Creek community.

Our farm is a working farm that produces hay for our own animals and also for sale. We are proud that our farm is enrolled in the Farm Preservation Voluntary Agricultural District.

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Im the current vice-chairman of the Polk County Board of Commissioners. Im also currently serving as a member on the Isothermal Community College Board of Trustees, Polk County Farmland Preservation Board, Isothermal Planning and Development&bsp; Board, C.E.T.A. Board, and the UDO committee.

My education was in the public schools near Asheville, N. C. and the University of North Carolina-Asheville. I majored in political science and served as student body president at UNC-A. I have also served on the church council of St. Marks Lutheran Church in Asheville.

The skills that I developed over the past 33 years with my successful small business have served me well since my election as a Polk County commissioner. Currently, I am also a licensed general contractor. My solid work ethic has helped me to devote the necessary time and research needed before making decisions on the BOC. As a commissioner I will continue to work to find the balance between protecting our natural rural beauty and providing the economic growth suited to our Polk County way of life.

Margaret Johnson

In addition to my family, my life has focused on serving others, both professionally and through civic and volunteer activities. As a registered nurse, I have worked in emergency rooms and coronary care units and have extensive community health experience. I am also a veteran.&bsp; After serving in the Air Force Nurse Corps, I was fortunate to have the GI Bill to help me return to college to obtain a Business Administration degree.

I am a person who likes to build things up and see peoples lives made better by the efforts. For example, when I started as the administrator of a health care corporation, we had 15 employees. Nine years later, the corporation employed 250 people and had a multi-million dollar budget. I have done the same kind of building in the many community organizations in which I have volunteered.

In my community health work, I cared for people all over Polk County and have seen first hand the different challenges we face.&bsp; I do not shy away from difficult situations and am known for working hard and doing my best to do the right thing.

I was born outside of Nashville, Tenn., grew up in south Georgia and moved to Polk County seven years ago. My husband, son and I feel so fortunate to live in this wonderful place. I want to protect its natural beauty and rural character and I want to help our families and businesses prosper. I give my all to anything I undertake and I will give my all in working for everyone in Polk County.

Tommy Melton

My website is www.tommymelton.com.

Elected to the board of commissioners in 2006; served two years as chairman.

Headed up the Polk County Visioning Committee in May 2007, comprised of 22 persons, which eventually resulted in the development of the 20/20 Vision Plan


Purchase of Lake Adger in May, 2008

Restoration of historical county courthouse

Fundraising efforts for the purchase of Alexanders Ford

Funding of the Farmland Preservation Project

Successful negotiations with BRWA and ICWD to provide water for our Green Creek citizens

Approval of agreement between St. Lukes Hospital and Carolinas HealthCare System of Charlotte, N.C., to gain management expertise, cut costs and gain revenue for our hospital

Establishment of the Polk County Historic Preservation Commission

Establishment in 2007 of a recycling advisory board

Currently serve on the following boards:

Board of trustees, St. Lukes Hospital

St. Lukes Hospital Foundation

Polk County Recreation Board

Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District Board of Health

Current projects:

Interconnection with the three municipalities to provide water from multiple sources to the county and towns

Completion of the Meeting Place and the Don and Betsy Freeman Adult Day Care Center

Improvement of recreational facilities for youth, such as soccer and Little League fields, Gibson Park, Harmon Field and FENCE

Completion of the DSS facility

Continuation of meaningful dialogue between Polk County government and St. Lukes to provide quality health care for our citizens

Preservation and maintenance of the rural character of this beautiful county we call home by strengthening our ordinances through the adoption of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the Unified Development Ordinance.

David Moore

I am David Moore of the Coopers Gap Township. I live in Sunny View with my wife Lorraine (Bailey). We have been married for 31 years. We have two wonderful children Justin (Bonnie) and Stacey. I am employed with Mountain Professionals Inc. as Drivers Education Instructor for Polk and Rutherford County Schools. Prior to my employment with Mountain Professionals Inc. I worked with the Sherwin Williams Paint Company for over sixteen years. I was the store manager for the last fourteen of those years. I graduated from Polk Central High School Class of 1980. Im an active member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where I am a former youth Sunday School Teacher, currently serving as assistant music director and church treasurer. I served for three years on the board of directors at Polk Vocational Services.

Ted Owens

Im Teddy B. (Ted) Owens, a native of Tryon, and my wife, Elna, is a native of Sunny View. We have three children and six grandkids. My daughter Beth is a graduate of NCA with a business degree, my first son, Bruce, is a doctor of aeronautical engineering from N.C. State, my second son obtained his graduate degree in dentistry education from N.C. Chapel Hill in May. I retired as a senior territory manager for Milliken & Co. I later worked for Milliken as a consultant. I have written several articles for trade magazines. In recognition of my achievements I have&bsp; received numerous awards from trade associations and Milliken.

I was mayor of Columbus for four years and a county commissioner for nine years. I have been recognized by the N.C. Association of County Commissioners as director for four counties. Im presently serving as deacon and chairman at Coopers Gap Baptist Church and I am involved with several civic organizations. Im co-owner of Wash Away, LLC.

Tom Pack

I am a native of Polk County and live in the Columbus Township. My wife Lisa and I have two children, Eric age 11 and Timothy age 9. Lisa is a teacher at Spartanburg Christian Academy which is associated with First Baptist North Spartanburg. I have been in management for over 15 years, starting with Carousel Carpets in Ukiah, California as manager of engineering and development. I am presently president of White Oak Carpet Mills in Spindale.&bsp; My management experience is also complemented with a strong financial background in budget development and implementation along with capital project management.

Benny Smith

Proudly, I am a lifelong resident of this great county. I grew up in Tryon and attended Tryon City Schools. My wife, Frances, and I have lived in the same home for 38 years. My mother also lives in Tryon and several of my siblings are residents of Polk County as well. Frances and I have two grown children, Kelli and Mark.

I am a member of the Tryon First Baptist Church and the Green Creek Ruritan Club. My present community service includes: chairman of Harmon Field Board of Supervisors and member of the Citizens against Forced Annexation. I am retired from Duke Power and am currently employed with Hensons, Inc. I served as a Polk County commissioner from 1992-2000 two years as chairman and two years as vice chairman.

Other experience includes: member of the board of directors of North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and National Board of Directors Association of County Commissioners, St. Lukes Hospital board of directors, Polk County Zoning Board of Adjustment, Isothermal Community College Board of Trustees, Past Master of Jeff L. Nelson Masonic Lodge, Tryon Fire Department and Tryon County Club Board of Directors. &bsp;

As citizens of Polk County, we can work together to promote cohesiveness and protect our county and all that it has to offer. As a result of our teamwork, we will enjoy our community and surroundings, benefit from current successes and look forward to future opportunities to make the best even better.

Warren Watson

The youngest of five children, I was born in1962 in Upstate South Carolina As an adult I continued to live in the Upstate until 2002, when my wife, Karen, and I decided to move to Polk County. We had been intrigued with Saluda and Tryon for years, and after much consideration, we made our move to Tryon.&bsp; Weve lived in some great locations, Wilderness Road, Gillette Woods, and now Warrior Drive.&bsp; My hobbies include hiking and enjoying nature, walking and running, and spending quiet time at home. An animal lover, I currently have two cats and a dog.

I hold a bachelors of science degree in business administration/economics from Lander University. In 1985, I started my career in mortgage lending. In 1990, I chose to join the family construction business, bringing with me an appreciation of business and finance. For over 20 years, I have earned my living renovating homes and businesses, along with some occasional new construction projects.

I began serving as Polk County commissioner in December 2006. I am fortunate to have been part of a very productive board.&bsp; Some of our major accomplishments include:

Renovation of&bsp; the previously uninhabitable Historic Polk County Courthouse

Relocation of the Meeting Place Senior Center

Purchased Lake Adger Reservoir for Polks future water source

Initiated & Completed the Polk County20/20 Vision Plan (Comprehensive Plan)

Began Polk County Water Department

Created Polk County Adult Day Care Facility (Public/Private venture)

I would like to continue to serve as Polk County Commissioner because I believe that we have a lot of work to do in the areas of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Water and Infrastructure Planning and Management. I believe that we can find a balance between preservation and growth that will protect our natural beauty and resources, while providing jobs and growth for our working citizens. Please visit my website at http://www.warrenwatson.org.