By Catharin Shepard
Lifelong Hoke County resident and Puppy Creek volunteer firefighter Michael Lindsay announced this week he intends to run for a seat on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners in the 2014 elections.
Three seats on the Board of Commissioners will be up for election next year. Commissioners Ellen McNeill, Tony Hunt and Jean Powell currently occupy the seats.
Lindsay graduated from Hoke High in 1986 before earning a degree from East Carolina University. He served in the National Guard while in college from 1985-1991 and has worked for Cumberland County Schools ever since. He began working as a teacher and coach and for the last four years has served as an assistant principal at Jack Britt High School. Lindsay and his wife Nanette married in 1992. They live in the Rockfish area with their two children, Amy and Jared. He has been a volunteer firefighter with the Puppy Creek Fire Department since 2004.
Lindsay said he decided to run for a seat on the county commission as a way to serve the community.
“I believe in service leadership. If you’re a leader, you give back to the area that you’re leading, so this is a way to do that, and also to ensure that Hoke County has good decision makers,” he said.
If elected, managing the growth in Hoke, especially in the eastern part of the county, would be one of his top priorities.
“I want to make sure what with the growth, the two hospitals coming, make sure that especially the eastern side of Hoke County grows in a responsible way,” he said.
Additionally, he would seek to address crime in the county if elected.
“Figuring out ways to get guns out of the irresponsible hands I believe in gun ownership if it’s somebody who’s legally entitled and has the desire to own a gun but we’ve got to get the guns out of the 14-year-old hands and the irresponsible hands,” he said. “The first thing I would do is meet with Sheriff (Hubert) Peterkin and the other department leaders and find out what their needs are to make sure that Hoke County has the citizens getting the best services.”
Lindsay said he is “all about keeping taxes low” but that it’s more important to provide the services that citizens need, “whether it be law enforcement, emergency services, parks and recreation, the utilities department, the government, education, the schools obviously…making sure the citizens get the best services for their money.”
The growth in the county is one of the biggest issues Hoke County is faced with, Lindsay said. The impact from the two hospitals one open, one under construction will continue to affect the county, he said. Additional housing development is another major concern for the candidate.
“I’ve seen the responsible side of growth where a developer comes in and follows the codes, develops a piece of land or neighborhood in a responsible way that is still going strong and thriving 20 years later. I’ve also seen developments thrown up quickly and shabbily, with shoddy workmanship and the driveways are collapsing and the houses are not safe,” he said. “I think it’s important that the county manages the growth responsibly, because there is a tremendous amount of growth, especially on the east side of the county.”
The county also needs to make sure its employees are paid, because they are the county’s greatest resource “whether they’re teachers, the county employees, in this case the building inspector. We need to make sure that we have quality people in the planning department and the building code department as well as law enforcement and many other areas, but we need to make sure they’re well compensated so that we get the best people in place to enforce the rules to make sure the growth is managed responsibly.”
Ultimately, Lindsay said he hopes to help get members of the military more involved locally, to make Hoke County more than just a bedroom community for Fayetteville.
“We are lucky, we are fortunate in that Fort Bragg is so close. We have a tremendous amount of soldiers that live in our county. One of my priorities would be to make them less of a suitcase community. A lot of our soldiers, Hoke County is where they live, but they don’t invest in the county, they don’t invest in the community,” he said. “I think it’s important that we reach out and let them know that they are citizens of Hoke County, just like anybody whose family has lived here for 100 years. The young soldier and his wife who just moved into the county, they’re just as much welcome to the resources and the community as anybody else.”
Filing for commission candidates will run from February 10 to February 28, 2014. The primary election, if enough candidates from each party file to run, will be held in May 2014. The election includes races for sheriff and three seats on the Hoke County Board of Education and will be held in November 2014.