Columbus candidates provide bios

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, October 27, 2011

Editor’s note: The Bulletin asked municipal candidates to provide biographical information. Below is the information provided by Columbus candidates. Incumbent council member Richard Hall, incumbent council member Ernie Kan and Ricky McCallister are running for three seats. Current councilman Michael Gage did not seek re-election this year. Incumbent mayor Eric McIntyre is running unopposed.

Richard Hall (town council candidate)
Richard Hall was born and raised in Greenville, S.C. He graduated from Berea High School in Greenville in 1978. In 1982, he earned a B.A. in religion from Mars Hill College. He moved to Polk County in 1983. Currently, he is the theater manager and theater technical director at Polk County High School and has served in this capacity for three years. He also worked with the Polk County Schools for a number of years before taking this position.
Hall enjoys traditional Appalachian woodcrafts and art and is interested in jewelry manufacture and repair. He is married to Angela Flora Hall and they have five children: Rachel, 21; Benjamin, 18; Noah, 16; Abigail, 13, and Eli, 10. He is a member of Columbus Baptist Church, where he has served as deacon and youth director.
“After moving here 24 years ago, my wife and I were welcomed into this community, and we have become a part of it,” Hall said. “It has been the best place to raise our children, and we consider it an honor to be a part of it.”
“As a town leader,” Hall continued, “I have tried to bridge the gap between the past and the future. We need to preserve our heritage and our history as we make wise choices about the changes we choose to embrace. This is a critical time in the history of Polk County, because what we do today will influence the quality of life for our future citizens. I see myself as a servant of the people. The citizens elected the board and entrusted us with a sacred thing – the running of our town. I pray every day that God will give me the wisdom to make the right decisions.”
Ernie Kan (council candidate)
Ernie Kan lived in Raleigh, N.C., until she moved to Columbus seven years ago.  After attending N.C. State University in the early 70s with a major in botany, she met her husband, Edward, at church. They were married in 1984 and had their son Isaac in 1991. Wanting to raise him in a small-town atmosphere, they moved to Columbus in 2004.
To learn about the area, Kan attended as many town and county meetings as possible. She became the executive director of Re-Expressions of Polk County (a group that promoted and handled recycling for area events). She served on the Columbus Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment, and she worked on the walkability committee and other small committees in the area.
Kan said she would like to see Columbus retain its rural small-town atmosphere.
“Success of a town does not always mean sprawl or uncontrolled growth,” she said. “A town’s success requires that the people enjoy living there.”
To keep in touch with her constituents, Kan has weekly office hours at Columbus Town Hall. “Ernie’s Art” booth at the weekly Columbus Farmer’s Market gives her still more interaction with the public.
“I care about everyone in Columbus, but especially those on fixed incomes,” Kan said. “I have proven that I am able and willing to listen and to make a positive difference.”
Kan was the major force behind the repairing of the sidewalks around courthouse square, and the planting of the nearby flowers. She is the chair of the 2011 and 2012 Fabulous 4th committees. She also works with the town manager on other projects.
Ricky McCallister (council candidate)
Ricky McCallister resides in Columbus with his wife, Eva. He has two children and three grandchildren.
Born and raised in Whitney, S.C., he served in the U.S. Marines from 1968-1974. He is a member of Midway Baptist Church and is currently employed by G.E. Lighting Solution of Hendersonville, N.C.
McCallister said he enjoys racing, golfing and spending time with his family.
Eric McIntyre (mayoral candidate)
Eric McIntyre is a native of Polk County and graduated from Polk Central High School in 1975. He received a bachelor of science in business administration from Western Carolina University in 1980. In 1985 he married his wife, Tammy, and his son Russell was born in 1991. Realizing the importance of raising their son in a small-town atmosphere with an excellent educational system, they returned to Columbus in 1996. Russell graduated from Polk County High School in 2009 and is currently a junior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“While serving on the Town of Columbus Planning Board and Zoning Board, I observed the challenges facing the town and saw the direction needed,” McIntyre said. “I ran for the position of mayor because I believe that strong leadership can preserve our small-town atmosphere while building and securing our future.”
McIntyre was elected in December of 2009, and is currently serving his first two-year term as mayor.

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