MEET THE CANDIDATES: Huntersville Commissioner

  

Pictured above: (L-R, top row first) Melinda Bales, Dan Boone, Jenn Davis, Lance Munger, Derek Partee, Stacy Phillips, Joe Sailers, Nick Walsh – Pictures courtesy of the candidates

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (WSIC NEWS) – WSIC is surveying local candidates ahead of the 2019 municipal elections. All candidates were sent the same survey. Answers by candidates may have received light editing that does not impact the content of their answers. The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce and WSIC will host a candidate forum Tuesday, October 8 at Huntersville Town Hall at 7 p.m. The forum is open to the public and questions from the audience are encouraged.

Melinda Bales

What political party are you affiliated with?

This is a non-partisan election

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for re-election because I want a thriving community for my kids. A community that will provide an excellent quality of life now and for many decades to come.  I do not believe that a vibrant and strong community that provides its citizens with an excellent quality of life just happens. It takes leaders with vision, the ability to plan and a willingness to hold firm to what their citizens want in a community.

What qualifies you for this role?

I have been serving the Huntersville community for a number of years now. My ability to problem-solve as well as collaborate with others gives me a unique perspective. I currently use my skillset as I serve on various Boards and Commissions. I serve on the Lake Norman EDC, Visit Lake Norman, and the CPCC Paramedic Advisory Board. I am also currently the Co-Chair of the Lake Norman Education Collaborative, which is the educational arm of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce.

What changes would you make if elected?

I would like to see the Huntersville Town Board, as a whole, do a better job collaborating with their neighbors to the north and to the south.  It is important that Huntersville has representation in the room as decisions are being made for the region.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

Again, collaboration is very important. Huntersville needs to have a seat at the table as decisions are made that will impact our region. I will continue to work to ensure relationships are built to provide opportunities for Huntersville to thrive.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

Generally speaking, the Huntersville Town Board works fairly well together. I would like to improve upon this to so that everyone’s thoughts and ideas are respected. We don’t have to always agree but we should always provide a sound level of respect for one another.

Why should voters choose you?

I have a track record of listening to the citizens of Huntersville and with each decision that I make, I keep Huntersville in mind.  I work for the Huntersville resident.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

  1. Infrastructure: I would like to see the road projects that have been planned break ground.  These projects have been a long time in the making and they will be a great benefit to the entire town.
  2. 2030 Comprehensive Community Plan Update: I would like to see the completion of the 2030 Comprehensive Community Plan Update be complete.  Every decision the Town Board makes is based on this plan and this is why it is the most critical.
  3. Workforce Development: I will continue to work on this initiative. Being able to provide a skilled workforce for our businesses is paramount. Huntersville needs to continue supporting a diverse business sector. One of the ways we can do this is by partnering with area businesses and education organizations to ensure that Huntersville has a sound and skilled workforce.  This will help Huntersville keep the quality of life that we have all come to expect.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

Yes. I am currently serving as a Huntersville Town Commissioner.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

I enjoy walking in Rural Hill and Latta Plantation. I also enjoy all Huntersville Parks and Recreation has to offer. Great concerts and events like Hello Huntersville and Christmas in Huntersville just to name a few.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I would have a hard time comparing and contrasting myself with my opponents. We all bring a unique perspective and differing ideas and skillsets. I would bring my knowledge of Huntersville to the table along with my team-building, and organization skills.


Dan Boone

What political party are you affiliated with?

Republican

Why are you running for this position?

I first ran for Town Commissioner in 2015  because Huntersville is my home, and I love this town and its people. Working together with our Mayor, our new Town Manager and town staff, our Town Commission  has successfully changed, for the better, the way business is done and refocused our town government on solving the problems our citizens and businesses face daily. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. However, as our town and the Lake Norman region continue to grow, there is much more to be done and many challenges to tackle. This is why I’m running again.

What qualifies you for this role?

I believe what qualifies me for this role is my passion for our town, my business experience, my understanding of unique challenges and issues that face our town, my volunteer work in Huntersville and across the Lake Norman community, and my track record as a Town Commissioner.

What changes would you make if elected?

The biggest change I would make is to make the push for additional educational opportunities for Huntersville students and families a reality. We currently have some excellent public and charter schools, but the leadership at CMS has consistently ignored many of our needs leaving us with overcrowded schools lacking the resources our students need and deserve. This has to change.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

The biggest issues facing our community continue to be traffic and public safety. Over the last four years we’ve worked to ease the traffic headaches our town faces by adding over $550 million worth of road and infrastructure improvements. We must continue to proactively address our road needs, partner with the state to expedite road projects in our town, and work with our neighbors to address regional traffic and transportation needs. Also, we must continue to exert pressure on the state to come up with a real solution to I-77. As crime is rising in the City of Charlotte, we must ensure our police department has the resources and support they need to continue to keep us safe. I know they are doing an excellent job, but with crime increasing around us they are going to be under increasing pressure to stop it from spreading into Huntersville.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

One of the most positive things I have noticed is how much more citizen and business friendly our town has become over the last four years. I will continue to push for a town government that remembers that we work for the people of Huntersville, puts the people first, and treats all citizens with the respect they deserve. I will work to continue the good work the Huntersville Ordinances Advisory Board has done to eliminate unnecessary ordinances that overburden our citizens and small businesses, to change ordinances that aren’t work and/or are harming our town, and to ensure that any new ordinances enacted are carefully evaluated to ensure they are both necessary and not overly burdensome.

Why should voters choose you?

I will be the commissioner that stands between the citizen and any tax increases.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

Ensuring our town is citizen and business-friendly, improving public safety, addressing traffic concerns, increasing high quality educational opportunities for Huntersville families, and holding the line on taxes will continue to be my priorities on the Town Commission.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

Yes, Huntersville Town Commissioner (2015 – present)

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

I enjoy spending time with my children, working out, attending and volunteering at St. Mark’s Catholic Church, volunteering with North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers and serving on the board for Olde Huntersville Historic Society.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I believe that everyone running for this office cares deeply about our town, and I applaud everyone for stepping forward to run. I believe what differentiates me from my opponents is my unique combination of business experience, current and past volunteer service in our community with many organizations including the Rotary Club of Lake Norman – Huntersville, Huntersville Police Department, North Mecklenburg Crime Stoppers, and Angels and Sparrows, my passion for preserving our town’s history as evidenced by my work with the Olde Huntersville Historical Society, and town government experience as a Town Commissioner, as past vice-chair of the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustments, as the town’s representative on the Lake Norman Chamber’s Board of Directors, as the Town’s Public Safety Liaison to the Police and Fire Departments, and as a member and past chair of the Huntersville Ordinances Advisory Board.  I don’t believe anyone else running can match that variety of experience or the unique understanding of our town that I have gained from those experiences.


Jenn Davis

What political party are you affiliated with?

Unaffiliated/ Independent

Why are you running for this position?

To serve; what better way to give back to my community than to talk to the citizens and let their voice be heard.

What qualifies you for this role?

For the last three years I have been working for the citizens of Huntersville as Planning Board Chairman. As Commissioner, I can expand my experience to the public more directly. What this means to you, is I can hit the ground running.

What changes would you make if elected?

One change I would like to make is to revitalize downtown.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

Huntersville is missing an entrance into our town, like some of our neighbors, there is a distinct visual awareness of the town. I would like to see Huntersville, if only in our downtown area, have our own distinct attractive appearance.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

Our tree canopies are why many of us love driving home and I have been working on a sub-committee to update our ordinance to help save more trees. I plan to work with Development to make it easier to build, but to also save our precious nature.

Why should voters choose you?

After living in many cities, Huntersville became my home in 2002. I love Huntersville and will work diligently to improve our town without sacrificing what we love about it. I am connected to my community through committees, organizations, and volunteering.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

I’d start with improving how information is communicated to the citizens.  This will be important in the near future with 500 million dollars of infrastructure upgrades headed our way. I have been working on a sub-committee discussing this topic, and I hope to implement the recommendations as town commissioner.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

I was appointed to the Planning Board in May 2016 and spent the past year as Chairman, elected by my peers.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

Huntersville Greenways! It’s a great place to meet neighbors, enjoy nature, or walk to get an ice cream. I also enjoy Veterans Park in the evenings for events and I can’t forget our fun festivals put on by Parks and Rec.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I think all the candidates have qualities that would make them a good commissioner, some even great. I like to think that I have qualities that some of the candidates don’t that set me apart and make me the better choice.


Brian Hines

Did not respond to WSIC survey


Lance Munger

What political party are you affiliated with?

Democrat

Why are you running for this position?

To help revitalize downtown Huntersville, improve our roads and create prosperity for all Huntersville residents.

What qualifies you for this role?

I believe I am uniquely qualified as I have a wide breadth of experience and knowledge in dealing with governmental units and businesses and believe I can help bring them together to make a better Huntersville.

What changes would you make if elected?

I would look to work with our state legislators to bring back more power to municipalities, as I believe they are more in tune with the needs of their constituents.  I would like to see bike paths and sidewalks made accessible to all Huntersville residents and promote the preservation of our tree canopy and commercial land via the revisions to the 2030 plan.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

Excessive traffic and overcrowded schools, again I would work with our State Representatives to find solutions that work for Huntersville.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

We have outstanding Parks, I would work to continue to see them funded properly.  We also have great employees, I would continue to support them and ensure we retain the best.

Why should voters choose you?

I’m not developer hoping to cash in on being elected.  I’m not looking for what’s next on an electoral path.  I just want to do what is best for Huntersville.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

Revitalize downtown, expand sidewalks and bike paths, preserve tree canopy and commercial land for our future.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

No.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

Visit our parks, workout at HFFA, shop Birkdale Village and various other local businesses, attend events at Veterans Park.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I’ll leave that to the voters.


Derek Partee

What political party are you affiliated with?

Republican.

Why are you running for this position?

I am campaigning for this position because the ethnic cultural landscape in Huntersville is becoming a community that is increasingly diverse. My background and experience will bring a different perspective to the decision making process on the town board.

What qualifies you for this role?

I have over 40 years of combined private and public sector work experience with 30 years in the criminal justice field as an investigator. I have been the lead investigator on many high profile cases with the Nassau County Police Department in New York, resulting in the prosecution of criminals who have committed felony offenses ie. assaults, drug sales, homicides, rapes, sodomy’s and robberies. I am also a 9/11 responder and survivor, having been assigned to the elite FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force New York Office, where I managed top cases which requires the leadership ability to communicate with my fellow law enforcement peers and the citizens of the community in order to bring cases to closure.
I also have my Masters Degree in Public Administration from C.W.Post College at Long Island University.

What changes would you make if elected?

None. My objective will be to work with the other town commissioners and city manager to maintain the quality of life for all residents.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

Issues Education and Public Safety.
With the growth of technical and industrial manufacturing companies relocating to North Carolina, there is a need to educate a future workforce to meet their demands. Vocational education training designed to meet the job titles of these companies.
As a retired First Responder and 9/11 survivor, our Police and Fire Department are in this glorious occupation to save lives without fear of losing their own. I will support these departments to make sure they maintain the highest standard of excellence and have the staffing, equipment and personnel needed to provide the quality of service expected by the community.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

I will work with the Board of Commissioners and City Manager to maintain and improve the quality of life in our Township.

Why should voters choose you?

My thirty years as a First Responder interacting and forming relationships with the residents , families, businesses, hospitals, local elected officials and Federal Agencies within my geographical area of jurisdiction. I have served my country and state with dignity, dedication, commitment and integrity.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

My objective is to listen to the issues and problems the residents and citizens of Huntersville bring before the board. Work with the other to Commissioners to mediate a resolutions to address these issues.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

No.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

My favorite activities are golf, physical training, concerts in the park, enjoying the cafes, restaurants, breweries, food trucks and NASCAR.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

We are all different which gives this Board of Commissioners the balance needed to represent all the different communities.


Stacy Phillips

What political party are you affiliated with?

Neither; I’m unaffiliated.

Why are you running for this position?

Because I love my town. I grew up in Huntersville and I want to ensure that as the town grows it remains somewhere that all citizens can afford to live and thrive.

What qualifies you for this role?

I have the heart and dedication to be a public servant. I have spent my life serving others and championing for those who often feel like they don’t have a voice. Growing up in Huntersville and working here, has given me a firsthand look at the true day-to-day implications the decisions the board makes and how they impact our town, especially because I get to talk to citizens daily about their concerns and issues.

What changes would you make if elected?

I think we should do department audits. Though not a glamorous talking point, audits would help the town strengthen how we budget and give citizens a more transparent look at how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, which would build more trust over all in our town.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

There are few issues with the town that I would like to fix. We have got to ensure that we don’t raises taxes at the city level. If elected, I would encourage my fellow commissioners to sign an agreement for our term that we will not support any tax increases. I would work hard to make Huntersville a great place to work too. I have the luxury to work in Huntersville and I believe we need to be better at inviting small and large businesses to the town, which could be done so if we streamlined the planning process and made it easier and less confusing; while big businesses can afford a team of lawyers to get through such a grueling process, many small businesses can’t and often find it easier to do business elsewhere.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

Huntersville has done a good job working to get funding and resources to help find out the reason behind the Ocular Melanoma Cluster. I would continue this fight with passion, because my grandfather, Billy Gene Turbyfill, was the first person in the cluster AKA Patient Zero. I believe that it’s time that we start pushing to get more federal acknowledgement and even grants so we can find out why this awful cancer is terrorizing our community. Huntersville has started on the right path towards education, but I think there is more work to be done. The board should continuously engage with parents and do their best to meet the goals and expectations set; it’s not about the adults or the elected officials, it’s about what’s best for the children and what will help them thrive and that includes taking a serious look at educational choice options.

Why should voters choose you?

Being elected is about servitude first and foremost; my time serving our community in other aspects has shaped me to be someone that understands how important it is to listen to the people and work hard to achieve results. No one in Huntersville should ever feel like they’re not being heard, because each person matters and my fellow citizens have had my ear and will continue to have it. I’m sincerely invested in my town, because it’s not only where I live, but where I work; I am 100% devoted to our town’s well being.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

I would love to see a magistrate in Huntersville. I believe having a magistrate in our town would help keep our community safe and moving faster. Having a magistrate in Huntersville would reduce the time our officers must spend in downtown Charlotte getting warrants, help those going through domestic violence get restraining orders quicker, etc. I would like the town to have term limits as far as how long an elected official can serve on the board; as Huntersville changes the leadership should reflect that.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

I have not. However, I have been leading and serving my community in other ways through my philanthropy work and other issues that have arisen in our community like fighting the I-77 tolls.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

There are a lot of great things to do in Huntersville, but I most enjoy getting to interact with citizens one-on-one daily at my family business, Old Store Produce. It’s been such a great experience getting to know people not as “customers” but as friends. I also enjoy the eclectic events that take place at Rural Hill, which allow for our community (and people from all over the state) to have a great time in our own town.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I don’t really see anyone as my opponent, because in the end, if elected, we must work together and going into it as “opponents” doesn’t do anything positive for the town. The biggest difference between myself and the others running would be my age. I am 32 and though that seems “young,” Huntersville is becoming a landing spot for so many of my peers. I think that makes me relatable on issues that most of the others aren’t experiencing, because we are growing with our town. However, I have been involved with Huntersville politics since I was 18 years old; which gives me 14 years of experience being up-to-date on issues and monitoring how the town is performing.


Joe Sailers

What political party are you affiliated with?

I am a unaffiliated candidate

Why are you running for this position?

I am running because I feel both a few of the current and  past commissioners have not put the townspeople first .  They have put their own needs and desires ahead of the people of Huntersville.

What qualifies you for this role?

I have been a resident of Huntersville since 1979 , a past accountant 20 years ( City of Charlotte ) , Safety manager and fireman, Member and Chairman Mecklenburg County Recycling Committee , President of two ( 2 ) neighborhoods organizations , past president local Optimist club in Huntersville and Lt. Governor of Optimist International , President America Society Safety Engineers , planning board member Huntersville  12 years , been thru the Huntersville 101 program , active in Hopewell Presbyterian Church , elder  35 years , ( in Huntersville ).

What changes would you make if elected?

The changes I would make, I would ask for prioritize street intersections that need improvements and start the process of relieving our traffic  stress points. Start working more with the state. To many of our current and past commissioners have thought of Huntersville as an Island we are not, we need to work with the county, state, Board of Commisioners, School Board and federal government for support-and alliances to solve our problems.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

We have a great police and fire department and I would continue to support and enhance their programs.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

Why support me, I live, work, and grew up in Huntersville graduating from North Mecklenburg in 1967, I am not a realtor, developer, and I don’t own acreage that I would benefit from, like many of the current and past commissioners are / were.

Why should voters choose you?

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

My goals are that we try to bring Huntersville to the town people want to live and work and play in the future.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

I have not held a elected office  but as listed above many neighborhood offices.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

I enjoy playing golf , the lake , and our great parks….

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

I feel I am a candidate that cares for the community and have a compassion for Huntersville.  I am not in it for what I can gain but for what I can give to the community…. I know that sounds  “sappy “ but I would not have served 12 years on the planning board  or the Mecklenburg County Recycling Committee without carrying for my community…


Nick Walsh

What political party are you affiliated with?

Unaffiliated (aka Independent)

Why are you running for this position?

I am seeking a second term. I will continue to focus on the diversification of our tax base, downtown redevelopment, improved communications, and supporting our Police Department and Fire Department that help make Huntersville a safe place to live.

What qualifies you for this role?

For the past 26 years, my wife Sandi and I have proudly called Huntersville our home. We were residents of the “Wynfield” neighborhood for about 20 years where I was active in serving on the HOA for three years, the last two as President. Once our children went off to college and careers, we decided to make a move to the “Vermillion” community and now enjoy being on the east side of Huntersville within walking distance to the downtown area.

I attended the “Huntersville 101” course as well as the “Huntersville Citizens Police Academy” to educate myself on the history of Huntersville and how it operates. This helped me better understand how current events and issues affect the town. I served as the Vice-chairman of the Huntersville Ordinance Advisory Board. This board is focused on reviewing, evaluating, and recommending amendments to the Zoning & Subdivision Ordinances. I also served as a volunteer at the Huntersville Police Department.

I was elected in 2017 to my first term as a Huntersville Town Commissioner. As the only “Independent” on the current board, I have worked hard to represent and be a voice for our citizens.

What changes would you make if elected?

That’s a pretty broad question. No Commissioner make changes by themselves. It takes at least four members of the board to vote on an issue that results in change.

There continue to be challenges in transportation, education, public safety, and so many other issues. Those will continue to be addressed by the board and more will be added to the list.

There are a couple of items that are a little out of the box that I would like to work on during my next term. They include restructuring our town charter and building a new town hall.

What issues/problems do you notice and how are you going to address them?

Many of the issues/problems that face our town are identified but not limited to my platform. I will continue to work with my fellow commissioner on those issues and many more in the days ahead. Working together, we can make Huntersville an even better place to live, work, and visit.

What are some of the beneficial/positive things you notice and how are you going to maintain/improve them?

That could cover many subjects.

One area we are starting to make progress is in our Greenways, Trails, and Bikeways system. I helped champion $1M for greenways. There is discussion about a possible bond referendum for more money. We secured a NCDOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative to help connect and complete more miles for our cyclists.

Why should voters choose you?

I have been and will continue to be an “independent” voice devoid of ideology when it comes to my vote on issues that impact our town. I am not a landowner or developer. I have no hidden agenda, nor do I get any direct benefit from the many rezonings that come before the board.

I hope that voters will look at my record and know that I always made my decisions and votes based upon what was good for Huntersville.

What are some of your main goals/objectives you hope to accomplish if you’re elected to this position?

I will continue to promote business expansion, smart development, and diversifying our tax base. Communications with citizens needs improvement. Huntersville is a safe community to live in. I will always support efforts to enhance the personnel, equipment, and training of our first responders.

Have you ever held any position(s) before in public office? If so, what position(s) and when?

This is my first elected position to public office.

In the community where you are running, what are your favorite activities/things to enjoy?

We raised our children in Huntersville and enjoyed many of the amenities over the years it has to offer. Today, we enjoy walking, hiking, spending time with friends, and boating on the lake.

Compare and contrast yourself to your opponent(s).

There are nine people running for a total of six spots as commissioner. That would be a complicated matrix to put together considering the broad range of disparate issues. The voters will decide in November who they want to represent them through the next term.

Let everyone know about this