Buncombe County – For voters in Buncombe County District 3, the choices are clear for whom to vote for in the upcoming election.
Amanda Edwards, the current commissioner, is the clear choice for those voters who believe that the county is headed in the right direction and want the commissioners to continue with the status quo for the county.
Don Yelton, the challenger, represents to the voters a clear departure from the status quo and a voice for more questions and insight into how the commissioners operate. The question is, what are voters looking for?
Amanda Edwards represents continuing the course
In her interview with the Tribune, Edwards makes clear that the current commissions’ actions taken over the last four years have all been exemplary and for the betterment of the county.
When asked where the county commissioners may have made a misstep in the last four years, she could think of nothing. “In the last four years, I think we have made such big strides in… increasing transparency in Buncombe County and to really dig deep into issues that are brought forward. So I think we’ve done a great job of listening to our residents across Buncombe County and hearing what they have to say.” Adding, “I think we’ve done a great job. There is always room to continue working on improving those issues.”
When asked about the most significant action the commissioners have made in the last four years, she could not think of just one but said, “I think the last four years have been full of accomplishments. Being most significant is challenging to say because there’s so much good work that has been done across Buncombe County.”
One of the things she repeatedly said in her interview was that the county government is so much more transparent than before. Some residents of the Monticello Road area might disagree with this since they were pretty much blindsided by a county low-income housing project, which they only learned about when the project asked the Town of Weaverville to supply water to the project.
Don Yelton represents a change in business as usual
Yelton is no stranger to the county commissioners. As a vocal critic of the commissioners on his local cable access program he used to have and a regular speaker during public comment periods at their meetings, Yelton has not hidden his contempt for the direction and methods used by the commissioners.
He was also apparent in his interview when he said he didn’t believe the board was acting transparently. “You’ve got three minutes to speak to them. You can’t call anybody out by name. You can ask any questions because they won’t answer them. It’s a dog and pony show. We need some knockdown, drag-out discussions.”
He also believes the county is run by committees and not the commissioners. “This is a government run by committees, behind closed doors, and then they come out to the county commissioners’ meeting and act like they’ve done everything they’re supposed to do.”
What Yelton would bring to voters not happy with the status quo is “a lot of questions in commissioners’ meetings,” along with new ideas and an eye on making sure the county spends less than it takes in. He represents a difference in the commission for those voters who want to see a change.
What both candidates have going for them is their work and educational history. Both are well-educated and both have considerable work experience, which would help them in their elected office. The question for the voters is whether to keep going in the same current direction or chart a new course with a new commissioner.