Here are responses of Republican candidates for Iredell County commissioner to three of the questions posed at the April 21 candidates' forum at Little Joe's Chapel in Barium Springs. Responses are edited for brevity and clarity and are in order of candidate responses at the forum.
Q. How would your presence on the board positively affect our county?
Marvin Norman: "My presence on the board has to do with my positive attitude and being prepared for each meeting."
Steve Johnson: "I speak to my experience. I know the county budget, the process. I'm a problem solver.... I know how to make things happen, folks."
Gene Houpe: "My attitude. My work ethic. I've run for county commissioner before. No one will outwork me.... I'll be a good servant of your money."
Renee' Griffith: "One thing I'm good at is listening to those around me." She said she also could put her school administration skills to work as a commissioner. Her school, for instance, found a way to trim 15percent of its budget without laying off personnel, by converting to a four-day work week, she said.
Alice Stewart: "I really believe people trust me implicitly.... They know I'm going to give them straight answers and get the information they need."
Fred Coggins: "If you're elected county commissioner, you need to have your butt at the meetings. County management needs to clean house. Give the tax breaks to you, not the big companies."
Dennis Moody: "I do my homework and pay attention to the budget." He said he would ensure that people are held accountable and that there's "better stewardship of money."
Jay White: He would be continually "building consensus, getting things moving and getting things done," he said.
Q. What is Iredell's role in Charlotte-region growth, and should Iredell raise its profile?
Dennis Moody: Avoid getting involved in "Mecklenburg County's messes" and make sure Iredell gets its fair share of state incentives.
Jay White: Find ways to get more people from surrounding counties to spend money here.
Marvin Norman: Continue to promote the county's assets, such as motorsports in the southern end of the county.
Steve Johnson: "I think you could be too preoccupied with what the folks in Charlotte are doing," he said. "We've been the No. 1 micropolitan (Statesville-Mooresville) in the country to do business. We need to be developing our local economy, and we'll do fine."
Gene Houpe: Iredell County helps lift the region's image. Iredell should "continue to be a partner in the region. However, this county has to take advantage of the assets we have."
Renee' Griffith: "We are conveniently located (near) Winston-Salem and Charlotte. We have low taxes, low crime rates, great schools.... This is just a great place to live."
Alice Stewart: "I'm all for anything that will bring more money into the county."
Fred Coggins: "The profile is big enough, and Charlotte would love to get this area." Widen Interstate 77 to eight lanes but don't bring commuter rail here. "Commuter rail is the biggest rip-off this side of the Mississippi."
Q. Where is recreation on your priority list? Would you support more?
Jay White: Consider user fees to fund such projects.
Marvin Norman: Given the economy, the county doesn't have much money to put into more recreation, but needs to when possible.
Steve Johnson: "In the current economy, I will not vote to increase the recreation budget. We're not funding all the things we need to take care of. That's just the financial reality."
Gene Houpe: "Recreation would have to be a lower priority in these economic times, not that recreation isn't a priority."
Renee' Griffith: "Recreation is a low priority on the list. Safety of citizens, (improving) roads take higher priority. We cannot ask to make cuts in education for recreation."
Alice Stewart: "Recreation is pretty low on my priority list. When I was growing up, recreation was the responsibility of each family and how they want to recreate.... There are lots of places you can enjoy recreation, including the lake (Lake Norman)."
Fred Coggins: "Recreation should be on the bottom of the list. Reading, writing and arithmetic should be the priority."
Dennis Moody: "No. I'm not in favor of expansion of recreation." That's best left to the private sector, he said, noting how hundreds of volunteers built Hope Park outside Lowe's YMCA in Mooresville in March.