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Eight vying for 3 seats; Maiden candidates discuss qualifications, views
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TOWN OF MAIDEN

Eight vying for 3 seats; Maiden candidates discuss qualifications, views

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Early voting starts Thursday. On Monday, we took a look at the Conover city council elections. Today, Maiden candidates weigh in on their goals, hopes for the town.

The most crowded election in Catawba County this year is in the town of Maiden.

Eight candidates have filed for the three at-large seats on the town council.

The field includes incumbents Danny Hipps, Trina Michael and Ronnie Williams as well as challengers Holly Crafton-Lay, Richard Fox, Danny Lee Kiser, George McClellan and Cameron Ramseur.

Mayor Max Bumgarner is running for reelection unopposed.

All candidates except Ramseur responded to the questionnaire.

Here’s what the candidates had to say:

Danny Lee Kiser

Kiser

Danny Lee Kiser 

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

I have spent the majority of my life as a resident of Maiden.

I want our town to prosper and grow but only at a pace that retains what Maiden has always been: a good little place to raise a family and enjoy just a bit of what life was like a generation or two ago.

With the exception of Hardee’s, all of our other eating places are locally owned. Several are second generation.

That is not to say that I would not welcome other chain restaurants, but would certainly want establishments that are solid in their operations and would be welcome by those that call Maiden home.

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to that problem?

With completion of the U.S. 321 project nearly 30 years ago and the completion of the N.C. 16 project fast approaching, Maiden is within a reasonable daily commuting distance for those working in Charlotte. While we will welcome any and all who choose to become residents of Maiden, we must not allow development that does not contribute to the way of life that generations have enjoyed.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

We are very grateful that Apple came to town, as well as GKN and Southfork Industries. But we must constantly look for other revenue streams but only for those that fit in with what Maiden is and has been.

We must offer our residents second-to-none services and amenities.

Our recreation department has done just that and council must continue to provide the support and resources to be a leader in what we have to offer.

Another area of service that we must evaluate and improve is public safety. Maiden Fire Department currently has a Public Protection Classification of 3, which is excellent for a community of our size.

Even more important is how we deliver fire response on a daily basis. Two areas that must be monitored and evaluated are staffing and apparatus replacement, which represent the highest dollar amounts in the annual budget.

In the past, Maiden has experienced power outages due to ice storms. We must begin looking seriously at having power lines underground, as well as the telephone and cable TV lines. A project of this magnitude must be done in phases.

Another benefit would be not having the unsightly poles along the roadway, with many of them leaning.

We have nice stop, speed limit and street signs, but their appeal is overshadowed by the leaning polls and overhead lines.

Trina Michael

Michael

Trina Michael

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

I feel I am the right person to be the people’s representative for several reasons.

I am a lifelong resident of Maiden and a graduate of Maiden High School. My late husband was also a proud lifelong resident and a graduate of Maiden High School.

I have so many fond memories of times as a child and raising my own family in this town. My sense of pride for Maiden grows as I do. We raised our children in Maiden and most of our extended family still resides here.

I have served as councilwoman since 2014 and I take this role very seriously, spending much time in preparation for each meeting.

I desire to see Maiden and its beloved citizens succeed and shine. I am honest, extremely hard-working and strive to make the best decisions for our community.

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to that problem?

Challenges include community growth, economic development, retaining small businesses, workforce, technology and the ever-changing public health issues.

Also important is being able to maintain our small-town atmosphere while simultaneously fostering growth.

We must have the infrastructure to support/solve any of these challenges. I believe our employees are one of our most important assets and an extremely valuable resource.

We need to continue to provide professional development for our employees, develop programs that reach out to our community and work with our small businesses to ensure success.

We need planned community growth and industrial growth while also supporting and investing in the people, places and events that make Maiden such a special small town.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

It is imperative that we examine how we spend our tax dollars to ensure community growth and economic development. All growth must be well planned and continually evaluated to measure progress as well as problems.

With the ever increasing tech-savvy citizen, we must provide up-to-date technology that gives them the information they want. I believe we need to explore and implement smart meters to provide that technology and provide wi-fi capability to those who have the need.

We must also continue to provide excellent levels of service to our citizens and keep the tax rate as low as possible. Collaborating with other communities provides the opportunity to share ideas and resources.

Holly Crafton-Lay

Crafton-Lay

Holly Crafton-Lay

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

I have been a lifelong resident of Maiden. I love this town and the community. The citizens in Maiden are what makes this truly one of the best towns to live in.

I want to be the voice of the people of Maiden. Representing this town is in my blood. I watched and followed my father serving the town of Maiden as mayor pro tempore and council member in the 1990s.

I know what it takes to be a successful representative of this town: listening to its citizens, putting the town’s needs before my own and working to make Maiden the best town it can be.

I am a very data-driven person. I want to see all the facts and numbers before making any decisions that affect the town and its citizens.

I want to make sure the initiatives are truly in the best interest of this town and not just a limited few.

That is just it. I feel that if elected it will be my job, my duty to make sure that all citizens of Maiden are represented, taken care of and provided for.

It will be my job to stand up for everyone and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to experience everything that Maiden has to offer.

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to that problem?

Right now, the biggest challenge facing the community is the addition of the new development.

Maiden needs to start now planning for this growth. We have many wonderful restaurants and small businesses in Maiden now to support the residents.

That will not be enough. We need to work to bring more small business owners to the town of Maiden, be it through tax incentives or another form of incentives.

We need to make sure we have the resources for all current citizens, as well as new citizens through the development growth.

We cannot change the past so now it is about how we plan for the future.

I believe in the people of Maiden and their ability to welcome in the people of this new development but what we also need is the ability to sustain these new members which I believe will be best done by the growth of small business.

This provides opportunities to individuals to get to grow businesses within their community to make it a better and more sustainable environment for those who have lived here their whole life like me and those who are just moving to the wonderful town of Maiden.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

I will support initiatives that maintain the integrity of the town such as small business growth and businesses that bring employment opportunities to the community that make Maiden a desirable place to call home.

I support initiatives that improve our infrastructure. There is a balance between growth and maintaining a small-town-feel environment. I believe both can be achieved by common-sense decisions.

I am a solutions designer by trade, working with companies to build on what they do well and find solutions that make sense to improve their processes.

So my goal is to look deep into this town and our current practices and build on what we do well and look for opportunities to improve areas that need work to make this a place people are proud of for years to come.

With that means growth, which may be uncomfortable for some.

However, I believe in the ability of Maiden and its citizens to provide an environment that is welcoming to all, including young people, and future generations as without their backing, Maiden will not have the opportunity to grow into what I know it can be: a beautiful, desirable town where small business thrives and relationships flourish.

Ronnie Williams

Williams

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Ronnie Williams

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

I have the best interest of the town in mind.

My experience and voting record over the past eight years shows that the best for Maiden is my main goal.

Maiden must think about the future and do what is best for the stability and growth of Maiden. I have those objectives as my goals.

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to that problem?

Our most current challenges/problems that our town and community face now is the shortage in the workforce — 10,000 job openings — and the shortage of housing in our area.

There are several great manufacturing facilities located in Maiden that have current positions open. I want to see Maiden help provide housing and potential employees for them.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

What future residents look for in a place to live are:

• School system for their children — Maiden has three elementary schools, one middle school that feeds into one of the newest and most high-tech schools in the county.

• a safe community where our police and fire department provides.

• affordable housing, which is a main goal

• employment opportunities which are available

• affordable living - Maiden has the lowest tax rate in the area - 38 cents for every $100 in value.

Richard Fox

Fox

Richard Fox

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

My goal as an elected member of the town of Maiden: first and foremost to keep God first above all things.

Secondly to keep the citizens and businesses safe by having strong support for our first responders — police, fire, med and rescue.

Thirdly, to always vote to keep taxes low. I will never vote for a tax increase onto the citizens while also inviting new businesses to make Maiden their new place to call home.

Every vote I cast will be for the betterment of the citizens. If I don’t see that it will be, my vote will always be "nay."

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to the problem?

The main challenge today is what all towns and cities are facing today and that is this pandemic. I am vaccinated. However, being vaccinated should be left up to the individual. This should not be a governmental decision. This is still a free country.

Secondly, we as a council should not hurry decisions. Hurrying any decision could cause detrimental issues for the people we serve. And any council should back up their own planning board and if the planning board has overwhelming support not to back something, the council should follow suit.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

My actions would remain as I have stated before: If something does not seem suitable or viable for the citizens of Maiden, my vote will always be "nay."

Cause without you the citizens there wouldn’t be a town with a future that you have made a great place to call home.

Danny Hipps

Hipps

Danny Hipps

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

I am a lifelong resident of Maiden with a combined 47 years of experience to include:

• Parks & Recreation Director – 14 years

• Maiden Fire Department – 29 years,

• Fire chief -11 years, and

• Town council – 4 years.

I care about our community and work hard to serve our town in all facets.

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to the problem?

I think Maiden has to continue to grow in a manner that allows them to continue to modernize with current technologies, opportunities and quality of life for current and future generations while maintaining a small-town personality.

To do this we must maintain a strong tax base, be able to supply industry in our community with a vital workforce.

We must remain appealing to all generations by growing our retail options to include restaurants, entertainment, and recreational options.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

I would support advances in technology and expansion of businesses that add to the quality of life for our citizens. 

George McClellan

McClellan

George McClellan 

What makes you the right person to be the people’s representative on the town council?

I like to think I’m a successful businessman. I think the town is a business and it needs some input from a person that knows business.

What do you see as the important challenge/problem facing your community and what solution would you support to the problem?

We have a great fire department. I have always supported it. In fact, the first time I was on the council I gave my salary to the fire department.

Did you know that the better equipped our fire department is the lower your insurance rate is on your house or business?

During my last term on town council they were wanting to build a town hall. They had already spent $150,000 for an architect and other fees.

The first thing I found out was no one was going to make a motion to build it after spending that much money. I did some homework on my own. I knew at that time not much building was going on and so you could get a good bid on it and also the interest was low.

A couple meetings later I told everybody I was going to make a motion to build a new city hall finance it for seven years and not to refinance it.

We voted — four to build and one "no."

We were able to build the city hall eight years ago. This year the last payment will be made on it. I would like to build a new fire department if I get a seat on the town council.

What actions would you support as council member to ensure Maiden is a sustainable, viable community for future generations?

Over the past 10 years we have built a new sewer plant, city hall and police department.

Our infrastructure is good and over the past couple of years we have worked hard to keep the town of Maiden up for the community and we can build off of that to keep it up for future generations.

Maiden mayor (unopposed)

Max Bumgarner

Bumgarner

Max Bumgarner 

Why are you running for this office and what would you want to achieve in office?

The reason I wish to continue my role as mayor is to help influence in making my hometown even better with proper leadership, direction and development.

My 15 years in municipal government has allowed me the opportunity and experience as a proven leader, a good listener, a careful decision maker, a problem-solver and the ability to seize the right opportunity that is good and suitable for our town.

Progress and prosperity is an absolute necessity for any town to thrive and survive but its purpose should be in a positive and favorable direction that meets the needs and the will of its citizens.

I have seen and been involved with some significant changes during my tenure on the town board which involved many challenges and tough decisions that can affect the town’s future for many years.

Both my tenure and experience has awarded me a greater insight and understanding of what is necessary and needed for our town to develop and flourish.

The vision I have for the town of Maiden is to be that desirable safe place where people will continue and want to come and live, work, learn and play. As mayor, the citizen’s voice, desires and choices will always be my top-rated agenda.

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