The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

April 24, 2014

County Commission candidates express views on issues

(Continued)

Thursday, April 24, 2014 — Heather Boles Couick (Republican)

Personal: 43-year-old Stanly County native who grew up in Norwood and attended South Stanly High School, married to Ronny Couick, five children and three grandchildren.

Occupation:  Own Charley’s Dairy Bar & Restaurant in Albemarle and partner with  husband to run Yard Works Power Equipment in Norwood,  a realtor for CENTURY 21 in Albemarle;

Background: BS in Human Services, member of the National Association of Realtors, North Carolina Association of Realtors and the Central Carolina Association of Realtors, previously ran for county commissioner in 2012;

Civic activities: Member of North Albemarle Baptist Church.

1. Since I have taken an interest in politics I’ve repeatedly heard citizens’ voice concern about a lack of jobs. I agree. Industry has dried up in our county. I also believe that in order for things to change they have to be looked at from a different perspective, with new eyes. New people bring new ideas, new networks and new hope. This is why I chose to run again in this year’s election.

With my experience in small business, real estate, grants and human services I feel I can not only reach out to the people of our county but relate to their issues as well as value their ideas and opinions and offer creative solutions to the problems that face us.

2. The slow economy and lack of jobs, industry/manufacturing jobs primarily. We desperately need companies that can fill the multitude of empty buildings across our county and return to us the many jobs we’ve lost over the past so that we can slowly but surely resurrect this county.

3. By putting the infrastructure (water, sewers, broadband, etc) in place that industries need, offering the incentives they need to make their return on investment here worthwhile and bolstering our educational offerings to better prepare our labor force to compete in this advancing technological market so when the industries do come they’re not hiring outside the county.

4. No one wants an increase in taxes of any kind, once raised they rarely if ever come back down, but if we have exhausted absolutely all other avenues, in order to properly fund our schools and emergency services it may our only choice. When attracting more industry to the county, jump starting our economy and generating cash flow, increased taxes wouldn’t be needed in order to take up the slack.

Many companies have looked to settle here in the past and for whatever reason decided to go to neighboring counties. My question is if other counties are willing to work with them why couldn’t we? We must make it easier for small businesses to find and get what they need to become established and grow here in Stanly County.

We also have to look at how to monopolize on our income producing resources to see how we can expand our reach and increase our returns and find creative/alternative ways to use those same resources to create even more revenue. Another avenue that needs to be explored is making the best use of our many tourist attractions to increase revenue producing traffic.

5. Again, no one wants their taxes raised, especially when so many are on limited incomes or no incomes at all. In order to not raise taxes you must question every expenditure and cut all waste. Look closely to make sure two or more service programs don’t overlap by providing similar services and if so devise a plan to shift them if possible to fall under one program so resources can then be better directed to other areas.

When large expenditures come up, see if other departments have the needed resource and if it can be shared before purchasing. If we have a resource that’s not being used, can it be rented out in a way to provide additional income? I have raised a family of five on less than $25,000 a year, I’ve had to become creative running two small businesses when we needed something and cash flow was low in order to not put ourselves in a bad position and still get what we needed. Sometimes you just have to think outside the box.

6. My main concern is jobs. My second is the education of our children and grandchildren. Everyday our teachers instruct and provide guidance to our future generations, all without proper resources and many of which eventually come out of their own pockets. Our children are who will sustain us, protect us and lead us in the future, we must do everything we can to make sure their foundation is as strong as possible while making sure that when they are ready for us to hand over the reins it will be to an environment in which they can flourish and grow, that they will have the resources to propel them further and allow them to collaborate and build an even more prosperous society for their children.

We must all do our part in an effort to make the future better and if my husband and I are both elected to office in 2014 we pledge to give half of our commissioner salaries for four years to the students of Stanly County, each school receiving an equal amount to go toward whatever academic resource they are in most need of. We believe in this county, we believe in its people.

7. Yes and No. I don’t like the fact that it’s another cost our citizens will have to absorb, a cost we were not asked if we wanted or needed. I saw nothing wrong with the old voting format to suggest there was a problem. The only thing I see as a benefit is it brings more perspectives and ideas to the table to help formulate a plan to make our county better.

8. I’m not truly sure … I guess it depends on which lifestyle we’re talking about, a song reflecting the lifestyle of those living on the lake with sufficient income will be entirely different from the song being sung by those living in government housing and receiving food stamps.

 

Jann Lowder (Republican)

Personal: Married to Gary Lowder, three adult children, five grandchildren;

Occupation: Retired as president and co-owner TKG Transport, Inc. (1995 winner of the Chamber of Commerce, Small Business of the Year Award); 

Background: Served as a county commissioner for the 2008-2012 term.

Civic activities: Served on the Stanly County Board of Elections, Hospice of Stanly County, Stanly Community College Board of Trustees, and presently serve on the State Board of Community Colleges.

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