Volume 16, Number 2
Jim Thompson: Over the past 16 years, Wake Forest has experienced change in so many ways. New housing, new traffic, town employees retiring, new town amenities, new town manager and a renewed focus on economic development. The one thing that hasn’t changed is our mayor. That time for change is now.
So, why vote Jim Thompson your next mayor?
I am currently the Vice President of Association Management and Strategic Development for CHMS, a role I began in 2014. Prior to that, I served for nearly 10 years as the Executive Director for the Association Executives of North Carolina. Before working at AENC, I was the Director of Business Development for the NC Association of REALTORS®, a position I helped establish after my first year with NCAR. In 1994 I graduated from UNC-Greensboro and have a degree in English and political science. I grew up in the Raleigh area and graduated from Millbrook High School in 1990.
I am a trusted resource nationally on the association profession and have taught several programs on board and volunteer relationships, developing non-dues revenue, increasing membership growth and developing the association staff and leader. Within the association community, I have been very involved in the American Society of Association Executives as a committee member, speaker and writer. I am an active and founding member of Wakefield United Methodist Church, where I serve as a lay speaker and play in the worship band. I recently co-chaired our church’s stewardship committee.
My greatest treasures are my family. I am married to Hollyn Thompson, the art specialist at Jones Dairy Elementary and have a son, age 14, who attends Wake Forest High School and is a starter on the JV Soccer team and a daughter, 10, who attends Sanford Creek Elementary and cheers for the Wake Forest Bulldogs..
When I first moved back to the Triangle, our family choose to live in Wake Forest. One of the first things I did when I moved here was get involved in the town and began serving on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. A few years later, I ran for the board of commissioners and lost. I continued my involvement with the advisory board and decided to run for the board two years later and was elected.
My Vision for Wake Forest
In addition to my ideas about managing growth, being more transparent in our government, improving our infrastructure and technology and health and wellness, I have one other area I’d like to focus on.
Throughout the campaign, the current mayor has labeled herself as a “full-time” mayor. In the last two years, the town of Wake Forest conducted a national search for a town manager and hired an extremely competent person to lead our town. In our form of government, a full-time mayor isn’t necessary. The role of the mayor is to be informed, sign documents, appoint committees, preside over the board meetings, make recommendations to the board and supply the board with information they need to make decisions. I envision our mayor as being someone that works along with the board to set a vision and then turn that over to our highly professional and competent staff to let them do their jobs.
Our other role is to hold the town manager accountable. Having a full-time mayor in our current form of government can actually do more harm than good and opens the door to meddling and micro-management. I want it to be clear. I am neither a professional municipal employee nor am I a professional politician. My goal, much like I do in my professional life, is to work alongside the board to set our vision and work to inform the board of our progress and to make corrections as needed.
Another problem with having a mayor who treats the position as full-time is that you end up disenfranchising voters by making the board of commissioners all about you. Myself and current Commissioner Margaret Stinnett both have served in the role of mayor pro tem. And both of us recounted the fact that hardly ever did the mayor call on us to serve. Why, because she’s “full-time.” If elected mayor, I would work to involve the rest of the board in a way that shows our citizens that your elected officials are a team and work together to get the job done. In my years working with non-profit boards, that is always one clear message I send to board members. All of the board, from the president down to the director, are important members and that would be a message I’d bring to the role of mayor.
Wake Forest. This year you have a choice for your mayor and I hope you will choose to bring the future to Wake Forest and vote Jim Thompson on Nov. 7 for your next mayor. www.electjimthompson.com
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Vivian Jones: As your mayor, I have worked hard to build relationships and connections not only with citizens, but with elected officials and agencies throughout the region and state. As the primary advocate for our community, I feel an obligation to be available to make sure Wake Forest is at the table when issues are discussed and solutions are designed. Nothing happens without connections!
I am an experienced leader who has spent the past few years helping achieve a place of quality here in Wake Forest. We have The Renaissance Centre providing excellent cultural arts programming. We have a growing greenway system that is connecting all of our neighborhoods together. We have technology initiatives that are helping us meet the trends of the future. We have a bus system that provides a way to get around for those of us who have no other way. We have beautiful parks. We have hundreds of small businesses that are growing and thriving. All of these things, and more, are why you live in Wake Forest. Let’s all keep working together to keep Wake Forest this great place to live, work, play, and visit.
Bridget Wall-Lennon: I am running for the Wake Forest Board of Commissioner because I am Concerned, Committed and want to Connect our Community. I believe my 20 years of public sector experience and passion for servant leadership can be used to expound on the successes already accomplished in Wake Forest. I am about everyday issues that affect the lives of the citizens of Wake Forest – issues like strategic growth that balances the residential and commercial make up our community, infrastructure, affordable housing, transportation and diversity and inclusion. I am committed to working collaboratively to identify attainable solutions. I am committed to being innovative. As an industrial engineer, I am trained to find ways to eliminate wastefulness in processes – in complex systems, in businesses and also in organizations. I also know how to create systems and processes that make the best use of what’s already in place. I believe we should encourage and promote more Public-Private Partnerships and engage our faith-based organizations to work with our town to collaboratively meet the needs of our community. I am committed to being a change agent, who will work tirelessly to connect our community,
I am asking for your vote on November 7th.
For more information on my platform, I invite you to visit my website at www.BridgetForWakeForest.com. I will also participate in a Candidate Forum sponsored by the Greater Franklin Chamber of Commerce Candidate’s Forum on October 26th and Knightdale-Wake Forest Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Candidate’s Forum on October 28th.
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John Van Ness: When my wife Christy, my two sons, Trey and Cooper, and I moved to Wake Forest, one of the first things we did was join the YMCA. There were motivational posters hanging on the walls and one that spoke to me was of a quote from Rabindranath Tagore who is an Indian poet. It said, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service is joy.”
I want to be a commissioner to serve the citizens of Wake Forest. Christy and I have always been active volunteering. We have spent time at school events, church, youth sports, Triangle-Area Ministries Food Pantry, Backpack Buddies and I recently joined the Wake Forest Rotary Club. Now that our sons are older, I have more time to devote to other causes. I have thought about running for public office in the past and now was a great time for me to pursue this.
I will use my 25 years of business experience to work collaboratively with community and business leaders and other government agencies to represent the citizens of Wake Forest. Any challenge or problem that we encounter is solved by working together.
In about two weeks we will go to the polls to elect a mayor and two commissioners. It’s impossible to predict what issues we will face. We need to choose leaders we can trust and who know how to work together. If given the honor to represent Wake Forest, I promise that I will always act in the best interest of the community and make sure that all voices are heard. Please vote for me on November 7.
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Liz Simpers I am the Associate Branch Director at the Kerr Family YMCA. I have been working in community outreach since I was 18 years old and have always had a passion for seeing kids and families feel a sense of belonging. I volunteered for 15 years before ever working professionally for the YMCA.
We are blessed to live in Wake Forest and we have to nurture our growth and potential. I would be honored to serve our town by advocating for small businesses and those that feel disconnected to town decision and to each other. The decisions we make in the next 4 years will affect our next 40 years and I know my history of collaboration and community partnership will serve us well. I would be honored to have one of your two votes for town commissioner!
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Ned Jones: My wife and I enjoy living in Wake Forest and I wanted to be involved with the community. In Virginia my family has a long history of community service and leadership. With this impetus I decided to run for commissioner. I would be honored if the citizens of Wake Forest choose me to serve in the town’s leadership. Leading the town into the 21st century would be a great privilege.
My wife and I have lived in the area since 2002 and enjoyed visiting Wake Forest before moving to Heritage in 2012. Living in Heritage and learning more about Wake Forest has been fascinating. The more we learn about Wake Forest the more we love it. We have two adult children and three grandchildren.
I am a retired statistician that says a lot about what I have to offer Wake Forest. Since I am retired I have the time to dedicate to serving as commissioner. Also I am a statistician so I have a different prospective. I have experience working with data and the processes that create the data. Processes, systems and models all have weak links or limiting factors. Identifying these limitations and developing a strategy to deal with them is essential; however, keeping the big picture in focus is critical when dealing with any data processes, systems and models. Losing the big picture prospective is always a danger when dealing with a forest of data.
My focus as a Commissioner will be to:
- Update our Wake Forest Transportation (Traffic) Plan
- Save $$$, and
- Know how every issue that comes before the Commissioners affects the citizens of Wake Forest and do my best to protect the interest of those citizens.
Most of the roads where traffic is the worst in Wake Forest are controlled by the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The Wake Forest Transportation plan was last updated in 2010. My strategy is to have a professional engineering firm update the WF Transportation Plan then we will have a creditable document to present to the NCDOT which we can use as leverage to obtain Wake Forest’s needed road improvements. This does not guarantee all the results we want; however it is a logical approach. As an example, Heritage Lake one of the more important Wake Forest roads was not included in the 2010 study. A 4-way stop or traffic light is desperately needed at the intersection of Heritage Lake Road and Heritage Club Drive.
Growth is another concern of the citizens of Wake Forest. My position on growth is that it is inevitable; however, controlling growth to preserve the character of Wake Forest is essential.
I am endorsed by the Wake Forest Republican Club and The Honorable Chris Malone Representative to The NC General Assembly.
I grew up on a farm in Rappahannock County Virginia. We raised beef and apples. I was active in 4-H and Boy Scouts. In Scouts I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
I have a BS in Horticulture and an MS in Agricultural Economics from Va. Tech. I also did two years of graduate work at NC State in statistics.
I served in the U.S Army in Vietnam where I received a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.
After returning from Vietnam I worked as a land surveyor in Virginia for about two years.
I worked 35 years as an economist & statistician doing statistical work around the world. I worked for the USDA’s Nation Agricultural Statistics Service working my way up from field office to Headquarters Methods statistician responsible for several commodities. Then I moved to the US Postal Service where I designed, developed and implemented sampling and summary systems for inbound and outbound international mail. During this time I also worked with the Russians under the auspices of the United Nations’ Universal Postal Union designing, developing and implementing a worldwide mail flow survey. After this I moved on to the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service on the North Carolina State Centennial Campus where I worked with PhD scientist and Administrators providing statistical leadership on a wide verity statistical projects including but not limited to sample design development and implementation, design of experiments and data analysis. After retirement I still do some statistical consulting on a limited basis.
I am President of Triangle Fly Fishers a Trout Unlimited Chapter. I am a member of the State Council for Trout Unlimited. I have spoken before the North Carolina General Assembly Committees concerning Cold Water Conservation. I serve on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) North Carolina State Technical Advisory Committee and subcommittees for Forestry and Wildlife, and for Easements.
My hobbies are fly fishing, shooting and gardening, however I enjoy a good statistical challenge or just problem solving as much as any of these.
And most importantly I am a Christian and a member of the Wake Forest Baptist Church.
My website is ElectNedJones.com.
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Thad Jusczcak: To be an effective town commissioner, a person should
- Have the experience to understand how government works
- Prepare themselves for the specifics of the job
- Understand the character and background of the town’s residents
My entire professional life has been in government. I spent 34 years working for the federal government in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, DC and in five different agencies. After that, I joined a consulting firm and continued to work with federal, state, and nonprofit agencies on their budget and strategy issues. At the same time, I served many years on my HOA Board as a member, treasurer, and president. This required extensive interaction with our local government on development and traffic issues, leading to my service on a number of county land use committees. I was also active in the public school system, serving as a high school PTA president eight times (over an 18-year period) and advising the school board for three years. I have been teaching a graduate course in government budgeting for four years, helping to train the next generation of public administrators. In 2011, I received the Lifetime Achievement for Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Society for Public Administration.
I didn’t realize it when I started, but I’ve worked for the past 35 months to prepare myself to be an effective town commissioner. Since December 2014, I’ve attended just about every board of commissioner working session and regular meeting in person to get a full understanding of what governing the town entails – something you can’t do by watching the meetings on TV or just attending a few meetings. I’ve served on the planning board for over two years now, dealing first-hand with many of the issues facing town commissioners. I regularly volunteer for town functions like Lighting the Christmas Tree and Friday Night on White. I served on the steering committee for the revamp of the Renaissance Plan for downtown. I’ve been active with our chamber of commerce, an excellent way to understand the business community which is an integral part of our town.
Some of our town’s residents have lived here their whole life or most of it. They are responsible for Wake Forest being the unique town it is today. Over the past few years, I have met many of them through town and chamber of commerce activities, and they have shared with me their stories about the town. However, about 75 percent of the town’s population today did not live here ten years ago. I am one of those. Our character and background are different from those who spent their entire lives here. A town commissioner must understand these differences and know how to bring them together so that both groups can coexist while they raise their families and engage in their careers, keeping Wake Forest the unique place it is today and making it even better for those who will be coming here tomorrow. That’s why my campaign slogan is “Honoring our Heritage – Forging our Future.”
As I’ve campaigned door-to-door the last few months, I’ve had opportunities to meet many town residents, both those who have spent their lives making Wake Forest a desirable place to live and work and many others who are more recent arrivals. They have all helped me grasp their positions on issues, fine-tune my policy positions, and understand better how to be an effective town commissioner.