Democrat candidates, pick three
Raymond L. Brooks, 59, owner of trucking company
Brooks has worked with citizens for more than 30 years as a preacher at Waynesville’s Bible Baptist Church. He wants to reduce the county debt and be more careful with spending. Brooks would also like to bring in more jobs and help the education system.
J.W. “Kirk” Kirkpatrick, 41, attorney, incumbent
Kirkpatrick has served as county commissioner since 2002, and became chairman of the board in 2008. He says his experience will be helpful in successfully managing county funds. Kirkpatrick would also like to continue work on the Wal-Mart renovation project and see good and reasonable use of the Haywood Community College’s quarter-cent sales tax.
John C. McCracken, 66, retired assistant superintendent and finance officer for Haywood County Schools
McCracken wants to hold the line on spending until the economy improves and keep the tax rate as low as possible. He said as a former Board of Education member, he’s already learned a lot about how the county budget operates.
Rhonda Schandevel, 45, dental hygienist
As a parent of a disabled son, Schandevel is a long-time advocate for children with special needs. She wants to work with the economic development commission, tourism development authority and local chambers of commerce to bring jobs with good wages and benefits to Haywood County.
Michael Sorrells, 53, owner of service station, convenience store and café
Sorrells has served on the Haywood County School Board for six years. He oversaw the construction of a new school in Bethel and flood repairs. No burning issues drove Sorrells to seek office, other than hopes to move Haywood County forward with better leadership.
Bill Upton, 65, retired superintendent of Haywood County Schools, incumbent
Upton is nearing the end of his first term as county commissioner. Education is his first priority, both in the public school system and at Haywood Community College. Upton vows to keep the tax rate as low as possible, pointing out that 83 of the state’s 100 counties have higher tax rates than Haywood County.
* Frank “Danny” James will appear on the ballot but dropped out from the election last week due to personal reasons.
Republican candidates, pick three
David Bradley, 44, sales
Bradley hopes to create a diverse economy with stable jobs, especially for younger generations. Bradley says Haywood should focus on more than just tourism and create policies that are friendly to entrepreneurs. He hopes to create a strategic plan for the county with specific goals and objectives for the next 15 years.
Tom Freeman, 52, building contractor
Freeman says his children and grandchildren have already been burdened with the commissioners’ out of control spending and the county’s high taxes. As commissioner, Freeman would like to work on getting the county debt-free by slowing down spending and putting an end to borrowing.
Jeanne Sturges Holbrook, 48, self-employed
Holbrook would like to stand up to state lawmakers who push state mandates on counties. She would also like to address the high percentage of the county population dependent on public assistance. Holbrook said she would be independent and objective if elected as commissioner.
Denny King, 52, engineer
King said he decided to run because he believes the commissioners are spending too much money. King is a strong advocate for property rights and running a smaller, constitutional government. He opposes the proposed health board rule, which carries a maximum penalty of a misdemeanor for creating a public health risk by improperly storing trash.
Michael “Hub” Scott, 45, maintenance supervisor for Canton paper mill out on disability
Scott plans to hold down taxes, spending and regulation. He hopes to provide incentives to keep established businesses running and attract new ones. Due to a brain tumor, Scott is now on disability. He promises to donate his salary as commissioner to the community kitchen in Canton.