Meet Your Weaverville Candidates: Part 2 - TribPapers
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Meet Your Weaverville Candidates: Part 2

Michele Wood.

Weaverville – This week, we are publishing part two of the responses to our questionnaire from the candidates for the Weaverville Town Council and for Weaverville Mayor. Current Mayor Patrick Fitzsimmons did not have an official challenger, but Randy Cox has become a write-in candidate for the office. All candidates are listed with the office they are running for in alphabetical order. 

Michele Wood – Town Council

How long have you lived in your election district? Five years ago, my husband John and I moved to Weaverville from Dallas, Texas. We could’ve gone anywhere, and this friendly little mountain town was an easy choice. We fell in love with the charm and the people of Weaverville right from the start.

Tell readers a little about yourself? As a working professional for 25 years, I trained managers at one of the largest insurance companies in America. I raised two kids as a single mom and know how important the support of friends and community can be.  I’ve been a volunteer counselor with the Dallas Crisis Center, and I’ve helped refugees prepare for citizenship exams. These experiences taught me about empathy, connection, and the importance of civic engagement.

I’ve completed graduate coursework at SMU Dallas in Dispute Resolution & Mediation, which means I was certified to be appointed by the Texas courts to mediate family disputes.

Recently I’ve been active with the Dry Ridge Museum here in Weaverville, helping to lay the groundwork for community outreach programs and developing orientation training for the many new volunteers we are adding as we move into our new home in the Community Center. 

All of these experiences reinforce my belief that government exists to serve the citizens, that human values are the most important, and the strength of a community is in its people. 

Why are you running? I’ve attended many Council meetings over the past four years and have become interested in how our Town is governed. I respect our Town staff and they need the support of an effective Town Council. And with Dottie Sherrill stepping down, maintaining diversity on the Council is important. I know I can help make a difference.

What do you see as the most important issue facing your office? One important issue is growth and development. It is essential to balance development pressure with citizens’ desires to maintain our small-town feel and livability.

If elected, is there anything you would change about recent actions by the current board? I am disappointed Council did not approve a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for our Town employees this year. COLA helps make sure that salaries keep up with the rising cost of living and without it, Town employees are effectively paid less. I want my Weaverville tax dollars to support those who provide us with high-quality, reliable services every day. 

Would you participate in a public debate for the seat if one was held? I will participate in a public forum if one is held in a covid-safe environment and with an impartial moderator who is acceptable to all parties.

Is the current board doing a good job of communicating with its constituents? Issues sometimes come up for a decision at Council with little advance public notice, such as the recent mask mandate and the revised gun restriction ordinance. Not everyone knows that meeting agendas are published three or four days before Town Council meets, and residents’ voices should be heard on important issues. As a councilperson, I will encourage citizen input when matters like these arise.

Any other comments you’d like to make? While I cannot promise voters that we will agree on every issue, I can promise to listen to their concerns and respectfully consider their opinions, as well as keep them apprised of Council deliberations. Together we can keep Weaverville a great place to live and build toward an even greater future.

Thomas P Veasey II. Photo submitted.

Thomas P Veasey II – Town Council

How long have you lived in your election district? I moved to the Asheville area in late 1989. Met my wife, Sara Williams, 27 yrs ago and 2 yrs later was married in 1995. Ten years ago, we moved from Asheville back to Weaverville to take care of Sara’s mother. Sara, is a third-generation resident of Weaverville, owning a house overlooking Lake Louise. 

Tell readers a little about yourself? I grew up in the little country farming town of Georgetown, Delaware. Upon graduation from high school, I entered the US Coast Guard, where I served as a crew chief on several aircraft involved in search and rescue and law enforcement—retired after 22 years of service, four years active duty and 18 years reserves. I also had a 23-year career in aviation maintenance management, with an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate from the Federal Aviation Authority. Over the last 20 plus years, I have been self-employed and a business entrepreneur in direct sales. 

Why are you running? To bring more open, clear, and collaborative communication between town hall and Weaverville residents. I will ensure your town leaders take actions that reflect your values and beliefs. 

What do you see as the most important issue facing your office? Most Important Issues: As our town grows over in the next five to 20 years, we need a very precise and expansion plan in place that is committed to working with the downtown business owners to maintain our wonderful historical downtown look that we have all come to enjoy over the years. Furthermore, combing our new growth that will best fit our needs and ensure the successful growth that best coincides with our residents and businesses of Weaverville—not just adding hotels and fast-food restaurants, but recruiting higher-end restaurants to our town. Have responsible development while ensuring our infrastructures support growth and expansion, e.g., water resources, sewer system and etc. One other important issue that ways heavy on my heart is having adequate parks and recreational areas for our youth, with ball/soccer fields and a skateboard park.

If elected, is there anything you would change about recent actions by the current board? Be more open and transparent with the residents of the town concerning matters. 

A. Returning our property tax collections to the town of Weaverville, withdrawing that task back for Buncombe County, preserving our sovereignty and autonomy from Buncombe County and Asheville. Some of our town residents believe the Town of Weaverville raised our property taxes. When in fact, the town lowered them. The county raised them. 

B. No more of this handpicking of council members without having any of the town’s residents’ input or being involved in any sort of discussions or proper vetting process. This has happened twice in the last 4years and could, very well, happen again in the next four years if this election results don’t have a different outcome as in the past. 

Is the current board doing a good job of communicating with its constituents? There needs to be a process of communicating the needs of town and what is on the agenda for the monthly town council meeting. Like posting it on the Monday before, giving its residents more time to plan for the meeting and get the word out on pressing issues coming up. Having the agenda mass emailed to it participating residents and possibly having it posted in the Tribune Paper the Thursday before the meeting. 

Would you participate in a public debate for the seat if one was held? Yes

Any other comments you’d like to make? As a councilperson, I will serve the residents and local businesses of Weaverville, with the utmost integrity and leadership that has been instilled and ingrained into my DNA since my early childhood—being involved in Cub Scouts and on to Boy Scouts, achieving the highest rank of Eagle Scout and earning a bronze and silver palm. As an adult, I have always been in leadership roles throughout my career. Served and retired with 22 years of service in the US Coast Guard. Over a 23-year span, had a career in aviation maintenance management. Coordinating and supervising the work scope of required inspections and maintenance repairs needed to return an aircraft to public service for safe flight. From single Piper aircraft to the largest DC-10 jetliners. 

Also, being a successful business entrepreneur involve in direct sales and achieving top sales recognition in worldwide has given me the skills to implement a game plan and work through the processes in a timely manner and achieve success. There is no doubt, in my mind, that these traits will be a big asset to the upcoming growth to the Town of Weaverville, making our town a very successful and upcoming town in Western North Carolina.

Don’t let Buncombe County and Asheville control our destiny. Together WE are Weaverville! Vote, Thomas P Veasey II, Town Council, November 2nd!s

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