Candidates share bios, answer Bulletin questions

Published 5:26 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Democratic primary will be held on May 8 in Polk County to select the three Democratic candidates for the Polk County Board of Commissioners who will run in the general election in November.
Six Democrats and three Republicans will vie for three open commissioner seats in November.
The Democratic candidates include Emily Bartlett, Ernie Giannini, Ritchie L. “Bubba” Greene, Renée McDermott (incumbent), Rickie McFalls and Russell Mierop.
The three winners in the primary will face Republicans  Michael Gage, Keith Holbert and Tom Pack (incumbent).
The Bulletin recently asked Democratic candidates to share biographical information about themselves and to answer several questions about local issues.
The biographical information and answers supplied by the candidates will be printed in the Bulletin over the next couple of weeks, presented in alphabetical order by the candidate’s last name.
Biographical information for the first two candidates, Emily Bartlett and Ernie Giannini, is given below. Their answers to Bulletin questions are presented in another article.

Emily Bartlett
My husband, David, and I have lived in Polk County for 16 years, having moved from Greenville, S.C. We have been married for 33 years. We have two sons, Nathan and Ethan, both of whom attended Polk County Schools.

Emily Bartlett

I have a degree in education (BCC). I have served as PTO president, treasurer and volunteer coordinator; as a coach for Odyssey of the Mind for five years and as a member of the exceptional distribution committee of the Polk County Community Foundation.
In addition, I have served on the board of directors of Tryon Arts and Crafts and Tryon Little Theater and on the arts in education committee for the Tryon Fine Arts Center.
Prior to my current employment with Polk County Schools, I was the administrator for Tryon Arts and Crafts from 2000 to 2005.
As part of my current position, I formed partnerships with area non-profits and government agencies, keeping grant funds within Polk County for student services. Partnerships have included Steps to HOPE, FENCE, Tryon Arts and Crafts, Upstairs ArtSpace, Tryon Fine Arts Center, Tryon Painters and Sculptors, Children’s Theater Festival, 4H, Polk County Extension Service, Foothills Humane Society, YMCA Henderson County, PAC and Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries.
I managed more than $2 million dollars in grant funds from 2005-2012. In that same time frame I recruited, hired and trained approximately 50 employees each year.
I was the recipient three years in a row of the N.C. State Department of Public Instruction’s Effective and Innovative Award for 21st Century Community Learning Centers programming.
As a grant writer, I have obtained more than $1 million dollars in awards.
I am familiar with local, state and federal regulations regarding funds and compliance issues.
I have also received national recognition from STEMester of Service.
My continuing education credits include:
• Course in  federal compliance issues
��� Raising Achievements – Closing Gaps Conference
• Ruby Paine – Framework on Poverty
• SEDL Conference on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
• Youth Service America – Engaging Youth in Community Service
• Mayoral conference
All conference fees were paid for with grant funds.

Ernie Giannini
My primary goals as Polk County commissioner would be to guide our children in education, helping them to become informed, dedicated adults, to ensure that senior citizens are able to lead a life of dignity and comfort without daily worry, and to represent every citizen equally.

Ernie Giannini

I have served as a Polk County delegate and as part of the Senior Tar Heel Legislature, Polk County Visioning Committee and the Polk County 20/20 Comprehensive Committee. I was also a member of the Economic Development Committee for four years.
I have experience with our youth as I was a Big Brother mentor for five years and served as a North Carolina Guardian Ad Litem Volunteer for one year.
I won the Second Wind Hall of Fame Award and Volunteer of the Year from the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce.
I served as president and lieutenant governor of the Tryon Kiwanis Club, twice for each position. I was a representative for the Polk County Employer Support of Guard and Reserve for six years and president of the Tryon Country Club for two years.
I was born in Chicago, Ill., where I attended Catholic elementary and high school. I served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years and in the Illinois Air National Guard for 16 years.
I earned degrees in systems engineering and systems management from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In Chicago, I was a chief engineer and project manager for 15 years, owned a consulting/ engineering company in Chicago for eight years, and was a precinct captain for five years.
I am married to Dr. Lynne Parsons and have three grown sons.
I believe that all citizens should expect good representation, input to the system and simple input to a trustworthy government.