Candidates share bios, answer Bulletin questions

Published 7:53 pm Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Democratic primary will be held on May 8 in Polk County. 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 Bulletin is printing the biographical information and answers, presented in alphabetical order by the candidate’s last name.
Information for Bartlett and Giannini appeared in the Thursday, April 12 Bulletin; McDermott and McFalls information was printed Friday, April 13. (Greene has not been included because the Bulletin has not yet received information for him.) Russell Mierop’s bio follows. His answers to Bulletin questions are in another article.

BOC candidate Mierop bio
Russell Mierop
I am a resident of the Columbus Township here in Polk County. I have grown up in Green Creek, attended school here and love Polk County.
I am a member of the Congregational Church, UCC, in Tryon. Growing up in such a supportive church family, I have been fortunate to be able to do mission work here in the U.S. and Germany.
While in high school I was highly active in the Polk County FFA chapter. My junior year, I was treasurer, and I served as president my senior year. During my experience with PCHS FFA, I traveled the state with career development events and went to the 2007 National Land Judging CDE in Oklahoma City, Okla.
While a member of this excellent organization, I learned that my passion was agriculture and soil science. I applied and was accepted to North Carolina State University, where I attended with financial assistance from the state, Polk County Community Foundation, State Employees Credit Union, my church and community. I received my bachelor of science degree in agronomy – soil science from N.C. State on May 14, 2011.
I love my Wolfpack family, but knew that I wanted to return home to the foothills of western North Carolina and make a difference.
Currently, I live in Green Creek, as well as my mother, Paula. My grandma, Laura Bitter, lives in Tryon. A cousin, Melissa Snyder, her husband, Alan, and two school-aged children also live in Tryon.
Being raised in a single parent home, I feel I know the value and the importance of a dollar. I know that keeping finances in check is just as important when the kids are in school as when you are in retirement.