8 candidates seek seats on Davidson Town Board
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013

8 candidates seek seats on Davidson Town Board

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/XaJPF.Em.138.jpeg|395
    Courtesy of John Woods -
    John Woods
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/17G5v6.Em.138.jpeg|442
    Courtesy of Jim Fuller -
    Jim Fuller
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/mf6cN.Em.138.jpeg|421
    Courtesy of Rodney Graham -
    Rodney Graham
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/YNXJE.Em.138.jpeg|425
    Courtesy of Connie Wessner -
    Connie Wessner
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/1j4azy.Em.138.jpeg|473
    Courtesy of Beth Cashion -
    Beth Cashion
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/KhR91.Em.138.jpeg|454
    - Courtesy of Vince Winegardner
    Vince Winegardner
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/11/Y3uaY.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Courtesy of Stacey Anderson -
    Stacey Anderson
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2013/10/23/13/12/yM2VJ.Em.138.jpeg|450
    Courtesy of Rick Short -
    Rick Short

Davidson residents will vote in the Nov. 5 general election to fill the position of town mayor and five town commissioner seats.

Mayor John Woods is unopposed. Commissioner seats will be filled by the five candidates who receive the most votes.

All Mecklenburg County polling places will be open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Details and information: 704-336-2133, bit.ly/1eEOdxo.

Here are snapshots of the candidates and their positions on some of the issues:

Stacey Anderson

Age: 53

Family: Husband, Keith Anderson, director managed care, Iredell Memorial Hospital; daughter, Samantha Anderson, sophomore at Hough High School.

Occupation: Senior vice president, strategic planning manager, Wells Fargo

Education: MBA, University of Houston; bachelor of science degree, accounting, University of Illinois

Previous public office: None

Related experience: A variety of nonprofit experiences, including Hough High PTSA board member and scholarship chair; strategic planning process leader, 2007-12; Davidson Comprehensive Plan, sense of place/housing-community development study group participant; Davidson Elementary School Leadership Team

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if elected?

“The most important issue facing Davidson is fiscal stability. I will look for ways to increase Davidson's tax base. We need to improve the process used to approve new development and make it quicker for developers to build structures that fit our planning ordinance and preserve the small town feel of Davidson.

“I will look for ways to improve the revenue side of Davidson's budget and encourage responsible spending. I will think strategically and look at the long-term impact of decisions.”

Beth Cashion

Age: 48

Family: Husband, Bobby Cashion; son, Spencer Cashion, 11; daughter, Folger Cashion, 10.

Occupation: Sales and facilitator, Fitness Worldwide Inc.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, Hollins University

Previous public office: None

Related experience: Davidson Town Planning Board, member, 2013;

PTA president, Davidson Elementary, 2009-10; student leadership team, Davidson Elementary.

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if elected?

“Our greatest challenge is managing growth. In 2010 Davidson adopted a comprehensive plan in which over a 100 Davidson residents were involved. This plan addressed our future and our growth. Every candidate here has stated it at some point.

“We must actively, thoughtfully and openly manage our growth. People know of Davidson, they visit and come back, they find it charming – we promote our town at every turn. So growth is inevitable.

“With growth comes great things. We as a community broaden our circles, our knowledge, our financial situations and understanding of what life is about. With growth come challenges. Simply –where do we put people? How do they travel? Where will they work? How can we maintain solid levels of public service? Where will they park? Where will they go to school? How will we all stay healthy? How do we include everyone and their needs in “our town?”

“We must continue to invest our time and energy into visionary thinking about every step we take. How does affect us in the short term – the long term and the longer term? What we all must remember is that the future of Davidson is not a 5- or 10-year window – it is much longer than we can foresee.

Jim Fuller

Age: 71

Education: Graduate, Davidson College and UNC Chapel Hill School of Law

Occupation: Attorney, McIntosh Law Firm; adjunct professor, UNC and Duke law schools and Davidson College

Family: Wife, Jean Fuller; three daughters; three grandchildren

Previous Public Office: Elected to Davidson Town Board in 2011; Appointed to N.C. Court of Appeals in 2000.

Related Experience: Davidson Planning Board, member; Davidson Lands Conservancy, past president.

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if re-elected?

“The town of Davidson is a special place, built over the years by visionary leaders and active citizen volunteers. Our town did not ‘just happen,’ and, going forward, our town won't ‘just happen.’ We need a balanced approach to protecting our neighborhood, conserving our small-town values, and bringing in excellent companies to provide jobs, increased tax base, and civic participation.

“I've done this for the last two years, and, with my colleagues, professional staff, and citizen volunteers, we have achieved significant successes. There is more to be done, and I pledge to work hard to build an even better Davidson. Right now, a Google survey ranks Davidson No. 3 in N.C. as the best place to live. Google missed it by two, and I'm committed to proving Google wrong.”

Rodney Graham

Age: 50

Family: Wife, Melissa; son Marshall, 11; daughter, Emma Claire, 9.

Occupation: Owner of John Marshall Custom Homes Inc.

Education: MBA, Vanderbilt; bachelor’s degree in political science, West Virginia University

Previous political experience: Current member of Davidson Town Board

Related Experience: President, Davidson Lands Conservancy

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if re-elected?

Our most pressing challenge is maintaining the qualities of a small town in the face of the significant growth that is project over the next 10-20 years. I believe we do that by taking a long view, and not compromising our long-term values for the sake of short-term gains.”

Brian Jenest

Did not respond to requests for information.

Rick Short

Age: 42

Family: Wife, Andrea Short; daughter, 6, and a son, 18 months.

Occupation: Consultant in telecommunications industry, working for Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and a small (at that time) start-up – Acumen Solutions. Nine years at Bank of America working in information technology.

Related experience: Serves as president of the Bradford Neighborhood HOA and founding volunteer with the Davidson Community Garden. “Last year at my suggestion the garden set a goal of donating 1 ton of food to Loaves and Fishes at Ada Jenkins. We met that goal.”

Education: Bachelor of science degree in commerce, University of Virginia; master of science in management of information systems, U.Va.

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if re-elected?

“In the coming years, Davidson faces numerous decisions – many of them potentially very costly and with far reaching impacts on our quality of life. These include how to keep MI-Connection on its positive trajectory and when to sell the company once it is feasible; how much of town resources to commit to the Red Line Commuter Rail if/when that project resurfaces; and multiple decisions on other transportation and development efforts.

“The Board of Commissioners will need someone willing and able to ask the appropriate and difficult questions to ensure we minimize the downside of these decisions for town residents now and in the future.”

He also wants to maintain support for MI-Connection until it can be sold or privatized. Encourage budgetary discipline to allow for lower taxes and fees. “Davidson’s solid waste fee is particularly high compared to our neighbors in Mecklenburg County,” he says. And he wants to achieve broader and more meaningful community input regarding large decisions impacting the town’s quality of life.

Connie Wessner

Age: 50 05/04/1963

Family: Husband, David Wessner; son, Ian

Occupation: Director, Academic Advising and Community-Based Learning at Community School of Davidson.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in government and English, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pa.; Masters degree in politics and public policy, Rutgers University.

Previous public office: Serving second term on Davidson Town Board

Related experience member: Davidson Planning Board, 2007-09; member, Future of the Library Task Force, 2009-10; board member and officer, Davidson Housing Coalition, 1998-present; board member, Davidson Lands Conservancy, 2000-01

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if re-elected?

“Our well-honed planning approach must be the springboard to a more intentional and broadly sustainable economic development strategy. As we pursue that goal, it is imperative that we recognize the role our strong sense of community can play.

“Our Town will enhance its vitality if we leverage its strengths as a community to attract businesses and retailers whose core missions reflect and advance our values as a community.”

Vince Winegardner

Age: 58

Family: Wife, Linda, and three grown children

Occupation: Co-owns and manages a doctors’ office.

Education: Bachelor of science in industrial management, master of science in aviation safety from Central Missouri State University, numerous aviation related licenses.

Previous public office: None

Related experience: Current Northcross Master Association president in Huntersville, past president of River Run Property Owners Association, Davidson Planning Board, numerous previous boards related to property associations.

What do you think are the most important issues facing Davidson/is there a particular goal you would work to accomplish if re-elected?

“The number one issue in Davidson and Lake Norman is the widening of I-77. The current plan is to use tolls. This is the most unfair way to fund road infrastructure. It also places a long term burden on our local economy and citizens. We need to put a moratorium on the tolling ‘nonsolution’ and find a fair funding model for our roads. Lake Norman voters need to make a clear statement this election and vote incumbents out of office for supporting the tolls. By voting incumbents out and new leaders in, Raleigh and our local representatives may be more willing to stand up and find a fairer funding solution.”

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more