Walend appointed to fill Rep. Guice’s seat

Published 1:55 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Polk County and District 113 have a new state representative who is no newcomer to the position.

Trudi Walend was appointed to replace former state Rep. David Guice, who resigned last month after being selected by Gov. Beverly Perdue to run the state’s new probation system.

Walend said she is looking forward to serving Polk County residents again, saying she really enjoys Polk County and the great people that live there.

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“I will be involved in Polk County,” Walend said by phone yesterday. “I’m very thankful and proud and honored to be coming back to represent Polk County.”

Walend, of Brevard in Transylvania County, served 10 years in the state house prior to resigning in 2009. Guice was elected to fill her seat.

The N.C. House District 113 executive committee appointed Walend to replace Guice during a special meeting Monday, Jan. 2 at the home of Jim Meyer, chair of the District 113 Executive Committee and a Transylvania County Republican.

The District 113 Republican Executive Committee is made up of executive committees from Polk, Henderson and Transylvania counties. The Republican executive committees were charged with selecting a replacement for Guice, a Republican. Gov. Perdue was scheduled to sign Walend’s appointment today, Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Walend said she was most impressed with the turnout at Monday’s meeting, given the holidays and the weather and the work it took for area Republicans to appoint a new member in the couple of weeks ahead of the meeting.

“I came away from that (meeting) thinking this is America working,” Walend said. “They were prepared and ready. Those people were voting on behalf of the 75,000 (residents in the district) and they realized the importance of that. It was a great thing to see.”

Walend was selected among four candidates for the position. Also in the running were former Henderson County Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Transylvania County School Board Chairman Chris Whitmire and Polk County resident Ted Beddingfield. A candidate was required to receive 50 percent of the votes to be appointed to the seat.

On the first vote, Walend barely missed the 50 percent needed, receiving 49 percent of the delegate votes. In a runoff between Walend and Hawkins, when all Transylvania delegates voted for Walend, she was appointed with 61.7 percent of the votes. The votes from Henderson and Polk delegates did not change in the runoff. Henderson County had 10 votes for Hawkins and one vote for Walend while Polk County submitted four votes for Hawkins and five votes for Walend. The number of allocated votes per delegate was weighted based on population in the county the delegate represents.

Polk County Republican Commissioner Ted Owens, who did not vote but attended Monday’s meeting, said he feels Walend will do a good job for the district because she has experience.

“She has 10 years there and that gives her seniority,” Owens said.

Owens said Walend’s seniority should particularly give her advantages with regard to which committees she serves on.

Guice’s term is up this November, when Walend will have to run to be elected for a two-year term.

Walend was leaving yesterday, Jan. 3, to go to Raleigh, where she said it is urgent to be at a floor meeting to override a veto from Gov. Perdue of the Racial Justice Act that Democrats approved in 2009 and Republicans later repealed.

Walend can be reached at Guice’s old state phone number at (919) 715-4466. She said she hopes sometime today, Jan. 4, to have a state email address for residents to contact her.