ELECTION 2020: Sims spot on Locust council
Four incumbents are vying for four seats available on the Locust City Council in the November election, but one newcomer looks to make his mark by joining the council.
Barry Sims, born and raised in Charlotte, is running against incumbents Larry Baucom, Rusty Efird, Harry Fletcher and Mike Haigler.
A graduate of Garinger High School in 1965, Sims and his family were looking for somewhere to move to after he said they had enough of living in Charlotte. The family sold their house in the bigger city and moved about a year ago to Locust.
Previously, Sims had run for office in Mecklenburg County, both for the town’s council and the county’s school board.
“I’ve always been interested in politics,” Sims said. “I said to myself I would like to be part of this because I’m moving here and I want to take part in how it grows.”
Sims said he has gotten involved in the town’s affairs by attending meetings of the Locust City Council, saying he favors a balanced rate of growth for the city “so it doesn’t get like Charlotte, which is uncontrolled.”
Sims worked for AT&T for 34 years before retiring to Locust, primarily working in Yellow Pages advertising sales before transferring to larger account management with the company.
Being raised by a single mom after his parents’ divorce, Sims said his mother impressed upon him and his two younger siblings the principle of “treating everybody like you want to be treated. You’re no better than anybody else and nobody is better than you, so help whenever you can.”
In terms of growth, Sims said Locust only has so many acres.
“You don’t want to put something on every acre,” he said.
He said the city needs a certain amount of residential and open space “otherwise you lose the flavor of the city.”
Visiting Morrow Mountain as a child coming up from Charlotte, Sims said he recalled going through Locust when it was a two-lane road. He said he wanted balanced growth so “it doesn’t get to be a Ballantyne, a Mint Hill or a Matthews.”
Sims said Locust residents “are extremely friendly,” adding the community “has a hometown feel I’ve really enjoyed.”
His experiences over his lifetime along with his ability to work through things he learned with AT&T, he said, are reasons why he is qualified to serve on the council. He said he does not have an agenda except “anything coming into Locust, I want to know how is it good for the city and its citizens.”
If new businesses look to move into the city and take advantage of Locust’s smaller tax rate as compared to towns in Mecklenburg, Sims said he would want to know how many jobs would be created.
“There’s got to be a trade-off,” he added.
Sims said he wants to keep taxes low and maintain the city’s services, making sure growth is reasonable and controlled while taking care of first responders, police and fire departments “to make sure life is safe and secure.”
He wants the council to maintain its good relations with the citizens, saying anyone with a problem needs to bring it to the council’s attention.
“Let us investigate it and then go from there to make a reasonable solution for both parties, for the city and the citizens,” Sims said. “Politicians love to tell you what they think you want to hear. I’m one who wants to hear what you think, what’s on your mind…so you can live in a city you are satisfied with, you are happy being here and proud of.”