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2 seek Oakboro’s mayoral seat

Oakboro voters will have to decide between new or experienced leadership when choosing their next mayor.

Oakboro’s mayoral race is the only contested election on this year’s ballot for the municipality. The race pits a political upstart, who first ran for the post unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate in 2015, against a former mayor who spent 14 years in the seat.

Lisa Cratty and Joyce H. Little are vying for the seat, a non-paying position that only votes in the event of a deadlocked council. The mayor primary serves as a figurehead of the town.

“Oakboro needs a little bit of change,” Cratty said. “My goal as mayor is to become the face of the town, attend public functions and fundraisers, to listen to the concerns of the town citizens, and make sure no one feels intimidated coming into town meetings.

“I would love to see more community involvement in our town,” she continued. “I think it’s important to keep the unique small town feel, but at the same time not let our town go stagnant and die out.”

In recent years, Cratty has made her presence known by attending Town Council meetings while also keeping the pulse of the community. She now wants more skin in the game as she seeks to be a part of the town’s government.

Cratty suggests Oakboro residents have become disenfranchised with the town’s leadership, which hurts citizen involvement and attendance at council meetings.

Cratty has lived in Oakboro since 1993. She works for a small software company while volunteering for 15 years as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Oakboro Volunteer Fire Department.

“I’m dedicated in serving our community,” Cratty said. “I raised my children here and they all went through eighth grade at Oakboro Elementary. I fully support our school staying open and functional. I also believe in supporting small businesses and shopping local.”

Cratty previously tried to break through against incumbent Doug Burgess, who has chose not to seek re-election, during a time when the town was experiencing political strife.

She is married to Tim. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Little previously served as Oakboro’s mayor from 1993-2003 and again in 2007-2011. She presently sits on the Oakboro Town Council, having replaced T.J. Smith who surrendered the seat to become police chief.

Little did not respond to repeated telephone messages seeking comment for this story.

Three other seats on the Town Council are up for election. None of them are contested.

Commissioner Mike Efird is the only incumbent seeking re-election.

Two political newcomers are seeking election. They include Bud Smith and Bobby Watkins.

Smith, a former principal at West Stanly High School who has been retired for 10 years, said he wants to lend his time toward serving the town.

“Oakboro has always been good to me and my family and I want to give back,” Smith said.

Smith added that he possesses a perspective that’s consistent with the town’s interests.

“It’s a town that places a value on quality of life,” he said.