Q&A with County Commission Candidates – Part 3

Published 11:02 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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Editor’s Note: For coverage of the primary election, The Stanly News & Press sent questions to each group of candidates. We limited their responses to 200 words per answer. Answers appear as is, with the exception of editing for grammatical/ spelling errors or length. This allows potential voters to see the candidates through their own words and gives equal opportunity for the candidates to respond. We gave candidates two weeks to email their answers back.

County Commission

Patty Crump
Lane Furr
Leon Warren

District 1
Levi Greene
Mike Haigler
Mike Barbee

District 2
Bill Lawhon
Jon Ledbetter
Thomas Townsend

District 3
Tommy Jordan
Brandon King

3. What is your stance regarding the county’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of how county officials should mandate standards for the public with regards to masking, vaccinations and other related topics?

Patty Crump

Crump: County, state or federal officials should never mandate standards for the public with regards to masking, vaccinations and other related topics. Government and the private sector have no authority to make medical decisions for any citizen.

Fundamentally, I believe individual bodily autonomy is an unalienable right given to us by God.

Additionally, parents have the right to determine which medical devices their children will or won’t wear, and if the child will receive a medical procedure or therapy.

Furthermore, I do not believe it is good practice to accept federal funding for these unconstitutional and tyrannical mandates.

Coercion in the form of incentivizing children and adults with gifts and prizes for acquiescing to the pressure to get vaccinated, in my opinion, is immoral at the very least.

I would go as far as to support a resolution that disqualifies businesses with mandatory Covid-19 vaccine mandates from being awarded future county contracts.

Furr: I am relieved to report that our COVID-19 cases are the lowest since the start of the pandemic. As a commissioner, we faced many difficult situations during this crisis.

Let me make this clear, I do not think masks or shots should be mandated.

Lane Furr

I believe this is a personal choice.

That being said, I swore an oath to follow the law, even if I didn’t agree with that law. COVID-19 challenged many of us, asked us to consider the greater good. I took that to heart.

I chose to wear a mask, I chose to get vaccinated. Preserving one person’s rights without taking another’s is a slippery slope. We are not a “one size fits all” society. The flu shot is a good example. Heated debate continues today over the flu vaccination.

I chose and continue to choose to take the flu shot. My choice was made by me and my physician.

For me, benefits outweighed the risks.

Public health policy should be determined by public health experts and physicians. I am neither.

As a commissioner, I must rely on other’s expertise and base my decisions on that information.

It’s what I did and what I would do again.

Warren: Stanly County no longer has a Covid-19 pandemic. Looked at information from the Stanly County Health Department posted on their Facebook page. For the work week ending March 11 there were 17 new cases of Covid, the work week finishing March 18 had five new cases of Covid, the work week concluding March 25 saw nine new cases of Covid, and the work week ending April 1 recorded nine new cases of Covid.

Leon Warren

Those are the facts. They are the documented, certified, actual new cases of Covid. Not someone’s opinion, guess or hearsay. Stanly County does not now have a Covic-19 pandemic.

Should we have a pandemic or health crisis of some kind in the future, according to some sources, it will likely be different from the one we have recently gone through. Hopefully we will not have a pandemic or health crisis in the future due to, in part, by learning from what we have recently experienced, accepting new research and information, and being more diligent about our individual and group health situations and practices.

Greene: Early on, it became apparent the measures meant to “protect” us were doing irreparable damage to children, businesses and churches. Our children were locked down with masks (child abuse), contact tracing and quarantine yet suicide is, and has always been, a greater threat to our children than COVID.

In 2019, 36 NC children ended their own lives (nearly three times more than COVID throughout the entire pandemic).

What did our local leaders do? Our school board continued to double down on Cooper’s recommendations until nearly the end of 2021 (even though the Toolkit was merely a strongly worded suggestion). Our commissioners voted down mask mandates in the county but refused to work with the school board to do the same for our kids, while other counties were leading the way in fighting tyranny.

Leaders owe it to their constituents to be a thorn in the side of oppressors. We need strong, outspoken, leaders in this county who are willing to stand up and fight tyranny on all levels. I believe in medical freedom and an individual’s right to choose for themselves and their family.
I’m allowed 200 words to answer this question so please visit my Facebook page for more.

Mike Haigler

Haigler: It’s my opinion that the current county commissioners have been conservative with the federal and state Covid funds and spent them on much needed improvements.

I do not think the county needs to mandate personal, private actions involving any current medical incident.

The state already has recommendations and certain business and institutional guidelines involving covid response. I believe public input is of the utmost importance and is absolutely necessary when dealing with public issues of mandates and directives.

Mike Barbee

Barbee: Our government has no place in mandates of any kind. No vaccine mandates! No mask mandates and we should not stand in way of anyone’s freedom of choice.

It’s each individual’s own personal right to make that decision for themselves, their family and for their children. I think if a person wants the vaccine that’s their right and If you don’t want the vaccine that’s something that effects the others belief. Doing so would take freedom of choice away. When we speak of taking away freedom some don’t realize that’s a fine line to walk.

Bill Lawhon

Lawhon: Commissioners are not elected to approve mandates for citizens.

You should make medical decisions with advice from your medical professional.

It is not the board of commissioners who make these type of decisions.

Ledbetter: Let me first say that I have a mother that passed from Covid-19.

So, I am no stranger to the devastating effects of this virus.

Jon Ledbetter

With that being said, I think most of the mandates are an overreach of power on the people of Stanly County. I personally think that a lot of the information that has been spread about the virus is not as accurate and informative as it could have been.

Based on the research that I have done, I do not believe we should be implementing any types of mandates. This great nation was founded on freedom and that is the way it should always be.

If an individual wants to wear a mask or get a vaccine, then that is their choice and who am I to tell them different. That also stands to reason, that if I or anyone else does not want to wear a mask or get a vaccine, then we should not be forced to.

Officials should leave the decision of an individual’s health up to that individual.

There are many other areas that our county needs to direct their focus towards.

Townsend: I am a Christian Constitutional Conservative, and as such I am for individual rights and freedoms and less government control. As stated earlier, accepting federal funds brings with it conditions and restrictions imposed on our local departments from the federal government.

Thomas Townsend

The data has proven that government’s solutions (e.g., lockdowns, mask, vaccines, etc.) imposed via unconstitutional mandates were far worse than the virus itself.

Therefore, I am for allowing parents to make choices for themselves as to what is best for their children when it comes to wearing masks or taking an experimental shot.

In addition, the people should be given all current and relevant information enabling them to make fully informed decisions about the health of their family.

As for shutting down businesses and destroying people’s livelihoods, it was quite apparent this was politically motivated as noted by which businesses could stay open and which ones had to shut their doors.

Commissioners take an oath to uphold constitution, and thus are entrusted with protecting the constitutional rights of their citizens. When these rights are violated, they should refuse to approve funding, pass resolutions to promote action, and use their platform to speak the truth to the community.

Tommy Jordan

Jordan: At every opportunity given to me, I voted “No” any time a mask mandate was brought up and I worked to quash other votes on the matter before they even got to our agenda. I’ve done similarly with vaccine mandate discussions. If it were up to me, I’d have had us out from under emergency powers back in 2021. I have a very strong belief in personal responsibility and in letting businesses and individuals do what is right for themselves as long as it’s within the limits of what is legal. I’m not going to force a mandate on a business owner or individual or do anything to stifle business and personal freedoms; not regarding masks and not regarding vaccines either!

Stanly County elects commissioners to protect their tax revenues and grow the county economically and provide for the future of the county with respect to infrastructure. They never envisioned giving us control over medical decisions, and I’ve never thought we as a board have any business being involved in how they live their lives day to day. Ultimately – my position is that we need to vote better the next time the president and governor come up for re-election.

Brandon King

King: I feel like the county should take a neutral stance on such issues and that we as free Americans should have the right to choose how we protect ourselves in such situations. I’m all for choice on this; if you feel like you need a mask – wear a mask. If you feel like you need the vaccine – take the vaccine. These are decisions that should be made between an individual and their physician.

Local county government should provide services to anyone that seeks them but should not in any way force them upon anyone who doesn’t seek them. The county should offer the opportunity for education on these subjects and it should be an education that is unbiased and without prejudice or discrimination to anyone seeking such information. I believe in our Constitutional rights as Americans and I will never waiver from those rights.

These rights should not be taken lightly because so many men and women have fought to protect these rights for us. I believe this is another issue that a common- sense approach would be very beneficial.