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Early voting is open and an election will be held on Nov. 5 for three seats on Stoneville City Council and mayor. To better inform the public, RockinghamNow invited candidates to fill out a questionnaire detailing their backgrounds, eligibility for public office and goals.

Both mayoral candidates registered with the Rockingham County Board of Elections responded to the request.

Jerry Smith was the only council candidate to answer RockinghamNow’s questionnaire.

Chuck Hundley, Henry Camp Thornton and Sammy Rex Tuggle — the other candidates vying for Stoneville’s three open council seats — did not respond.

The following responses are unedited.

Kathy Stanley Galvan

Mayor106 Watford Drive

Age: 52

Occupation: Credit Analyst

Highest degree earned: Stoneville High School

Diploma RCC — Early Childhood Education

Leadership experience:

  • Past Board Member Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce
  • Past President (3 times) Stoneville Rotary Club
  • Current Co-Treasury Stoneville Rotary Club

Civic involvement:

  • Active Member Stoneville Core Group
  • Stoneville Rotary Club 12 ½ years
  • Past volunteer Homeless Shelter (Rockingham County)
  • Volunteer at local Food Pantry (First Baptist Church, Stoneville)
  • Member of Boys Scouts Board of Review to become Eagle Scout

Contact info:

Phone: 336 327 2537

Email: KathyStanleyGalvan@yahoo.com

What experience qualifies you to serve in this capacity?

  • I’m compassionate about Stoneville and serving the needs of our town
  • I have a common-sense approach
  • I will be fair to all concerned.
  • I’ve attended most town hall meeting the past 3 years. I understand the process and what is expected of the Mayor of Stoneville.

Why are you seeking this office and why should voters elect you?

  • I’m seeking the office of Mayor of Stoneville
  • I grew up in Stoneville and care for our town and all of the citizens.
  • I will listen to all concerns and will address them to the best of my ability.
  • I will commit myself the next 4 years to lead by example
  • My plan is to be a voice for all. Some folks find it difficult to express concern. I will be their voice and address those “difficult” concerns.

What are the three most pressing issues facing our community, and how do you propose to address those issues?

1. Growth: Strengthen the economy of our downtown and all of Stoneville while preserving our Historical Heritage.

2. Promote New/Established Businesses: Development a solution to support and involve all our downtown businesses/merchants in our community. Invite merchants to our town hall meetings. Spotlight a downtown business in our quarterly news letter from Lori Armstrong, our town manager. The newsletter will include:

Introduce the owner/s of the business. Provide info on what is sold, specials, or events they have during the year. Merchant to provide brief statement on how their business is going and what service is provided. If restaurant owner provide menu in newsletter.

3: Start a support group for all our merchants. Provide the tools and knowledge to promote growth. A wonderful volunteer has offered to start this group with me. Offer their knowledge and experience to help our merchants to continue to succeed and grow.

How do you propose to make Stoneville an even more standout community that is not overlooked in discussions about county and tourism?

A few weeks ago, the Rockingham County Arts Council hosted their very first event “The Arts of Us” at “The Bark” in our downtown Stoneville. The event was a great success with over 100 people attending. I volunteered at this event. I met so many folks that had never visited Stoneville or our downtown area. Events like this need to be continued in Stoneville.

Mayo State Park is right down the road. Hopefully the future holds trails that connect the Mayo Park to areas close to our downtown area. If this happens, we are hopeful our county will support and encourage folks to visit, shop, and eat at our downtown stores.

There are so many people of all ages who live in the “27048” area that volunteer countless hours to promote all of Stoneville. This may be at our parks, community events, churches, and so much more. We are the smallest town, but we are here to stay and will continue to grow for the better of all.

Jodi Lester

Mayor200 Lee Street

Age: 46

Occupation: Realtor with Keller Williams Realty

Highest degree earned: Associates Degree in Travel & Hospitality

Leadership experience:

  • Stoneville Mayor Pro Tem — 1 term
  • Stoneville Town Councilwoman — 2

1/2

  • terms
  • Past President, Rockingham County Association of REALTORS
  • Past President, Eden Chamber of Commerce
  • Past President, Western Rockingham Junior Service League
  • Past President, Stoneville Elementary School PTA
  • Past President, McMichael High School Football Booster Club
  • Past President, Salisbury Shag Club

Civic involvement:

  • Rockingham County Economic Development & Tourism Board — Past Member
  • Stoneville Core Group — Current Member
  • Chairman’s Star Award Recipient, Eden Chamber of Commerce
  • Founder, Stoneville Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration
  • TV Host, Stoneville Christmas Parade
  • Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce — Current Member
  • Co-Chaired Pack the Park
  • Where we raised enough money for the equipment to create a youth & adult volleyball program that drew players from across the county
  • Yoga Teacher Certified 200 hrs
  • SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) Instructor & SUP Yoga Certified
  • CPR, AED & First Aid Certified

Volunteer Youth Volleyball Coach, Stoneville Recreation Department

Volunteer Youth Softball Coach, Stoneville Recreation Department

Volunteer Youth Soccer Coach, Stoneville Recreation Department

  • Shag Instructor — having taught over 1,000 students

Contact info:

Phone: 336-432-3135

Email: jodilester@kw.com

What experience qualifies you to serve in this capacity?

Having served as Mayor Pro-Tem and Councilwoman for multiple terms gives me a great head start. Then let’s add the 20+ years of leadership experience I have by volunteering my time to multiple municipal, county and school organizations. I’ve been in the leader’s seat before. I know what it will take. I always believe you leave something better than you found it. And I know that statement will mean many different things to our citizens but that’s what is best! I’m open minded and want to hear what our citizens want and need. This office is not for just one person. It’s for all of us and together we will do great things for our town.

Why are you seeking this office and why should voters elect you?

I chose to make Stoneville, NC my home in 1998. No, I wasn’t born and raised here like most of our citizens, but I CHOSE Stoneville. I CHOSE to make this my home for the past 22 years. I CHOSE to marry a man that has lived his whole life in Stoneville. A man that loves me and his family so much. I CHOSE Stoneville to raise my family. I CHOSE Stoneville to work. I CHOSE Stoneville to attend church. I CHOSE Stoneville to educate my 3 children in our loving elementary school. I CHOSE Stoneville to serve our community. Time after time I CHOOSE Stoneville. A lot of people would say, “Why, it’s not your hometown?” But you see, it is my hometown. It’s a place I feel good in. It’s a place that is right out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. I often think about how great it is that I live my life everyday where someone longs to just come home to. I have served our town as councilwoman and mayor pro-tem. I stepped away from elected office for a few years while my children were teenagers. I felt like my family needed more of my time. My children are now grown up. My daughter, Carmen is a sophomore at UNCW, my son, Little Cliff is a senior at McMichael High School and my youngest daughter, Danni is a junior at McMichael. My leadership and volunteer experiences in this community have prepared me to become Mayor. Please be sure to read the leadership experience and civic involvement portion of this article. The drive and dedication I will bring to Stoneville will be unlike anything our town has seen.

What are the three most pressing issues facing our community, and how do you propose to address those issues?

1. Growing our town limits out to I-73 at both town exit ramps to position ourselves positively when commercial and residential development is prospering in our area. This will position us to capture industry and commercial taxes. It would also allow us to capture tourism dollars and taxes. Did you know that visitors spent over 75 million tourism dollars in Rockingham County in 2018, and the taxes those visitors pay actually reduces the tax burden of residents?

Stoneville has to be visible and marketed so that visitors will spend their money at our local businesses. I want all of our citizens and business owners to flourish. We can create an economic boom for our town while keeping our lovely small town feel.

2. Opening up all of our downtown buildings making them available to small business owners and entrepreneurs. I receive calls weekly from business owners wanting to know if there are any buildings that are open to lease or purchase. Usually, I must tell them there is nothing available. All the while, we have several shops that are closed or empty.

Having more businesses open in our downtown brings more people and offers more for our citizens. The benefit for Stoneville are more tax dollars coming in. The benefit for our citizens? It means we work towards reducing our tax rate. Our downtown area is lovely and charming. I hear this in my day-to-day work as a local Realtor. I take great

pride in driving clients around our town and giving them a tour. I tell stories and point out landmarks. I even stop in at some of the local businesses just to introduce them to some of our town’s wonderful citizens.

3. Clean and beautify our downtown area making it welcoming to our citizens and visitors. This can be accomplished by fostering a robust and diverse merchants and citizens organization- a group of local citizens that takes pride in our community and understands the value and perspective each of us contributes to our town and the area surrounding us. This organization would work alongside our town council and the Stoneville Core Group.

How do you propose to make Stoneville an even more standout community that is not overlooked in discussions about county and tourism?

1. I would like to develop and grow a communications master plan. This plan would be utilized daily. Not just put on a shelf. My communications plan would be a hybrid of what a public relations coordinator would do. Only done by our council and town office staff. It would be implemented to ensure that not only our citizens know about all the

good news and happenings in Stoneville but also our region. We are located in the perfect place for day trips and even overnights from the surrounding metropolitan cities. Our state needs to know who we are and why they have to visit us!

2. As mayor of our lovely town I would ensure that I am present at all local and regional events. In the past, our local government has not concerned themselves with attending our county’s Economic Development & Tourism meetings. We also do not have a presence at our local Chambers of Commerce. In order for our community and region to know who we are and what we have to offer, we must be visible and aware of what is happening in our county. It is important to have those connections within our county and state. I have many of those relationships in place and will continue to strengthen them if I become Mayor. County leadership knows who I am and what I stand for. They know if they need to know something about Stoneville, all they have to do is call me.

Jerry L. Smith

Council

Address: 600 East Main St.

Age: 66

Occupation: Independent Life and Health Insurance Agent

Highest degree earned: Bachelor of Science — Education — N. C. A & T State Univ.

Leadership experience: 8 Years Stoneville Town Council including Current Council Member

Civic involvement: Multiple Recreation Team Sponsors — Adult and Children- Both Madison & Mayodan and Stoneville Recreation Departments

Phone: 336.573.3853

Email: jsmith@town.stoneville.nc.us

What experience qualifies you to serve in this capacity?

My current town council experience of 8 years as of this coming December has been invaluable in qualifying me to to ask to continue to serve. My personal belief as an elected official is to be the voice of every citizen and I have demonstrated that. Many citizens can attest they have called me or spoken to me in person and have received answers to their questions and concerns. I also believe my job is to inquire what the needs and wants of our citizens are, as the job of councilperson isn’t about me but about the citizen, the taxpayers. My commitment is to be the voice of every resident and I welcome every call as many residents have personally stated I have responded to them with an answer regarding any issue.

Why are you seeking this office and why should voters elect you?

My number one reason in seeking re-election is to collaborate with the other council members and town staff in making sure we leave our community better than we found it. Our parent’s generation performed a great task in leaving a great Stoneville legacy so it is up to us to continue to strive to make sure our children and grandchildren know we did everything possible to make them proud of our work. Stoneville is undergoing changes just as every other community and we must be ready to adapt to those changes.

What are the three most pressing issues facing our community, and how do you propose to address those issues?

Personally, I consider public safety (police and fire), infrastructure (water and sewer) but not to relegate our town staff to third on my list but we, the council, must strive to solicit and hire the absolute most qualified candidates to work for Stoneville and manage the day to day operations of every department. We currently have a fantastic staff with each employee having the qualifications to manage and work here. It is a pleasure to work with qualified people, knowing that on a daily basis, there isn’t a doubt the right decisions will be made. A safe community with clean, sustainable water for generations to come comes at a cost though but managing the budget is the job of not only our town staff but every council person as well and I think we all do a good job. But, it’s my job to communicate to our citizens that quality of life isn’t cheap and I have implored to our citizens on a daily basis to tell me what you want and need and if you are willing to pay for it. If I don’t know, then it’s incumbent on me to make those decisions and appropriate the funds as judiciously as I possible can along with the rest of the board. Public safety needs as well as water and sewer are a must to be maintained and staffed as best we can and that, I promise to uphold.

How do you propose to make Stoneville an even more standout community that is not overlooked in discussions about county and tourism?

Stoneville is my home town, born and raised in the homeplace built by my grandfather in 1912, Albert Wade Smith, a foreman for the railroad. My parents were Jim and Nora Smith and at their passing I was bequeathed that very homeplace of which my wife, Kathryn Chiarolanzio, and I reside today. I have a very selfish reason to help create a more standout community as I believe we both need and want the very same things as our children and grandchildren do. We must address the needs and wants of our youth. Times have changed, the days I enjoyed, leaving on my bicycle with a glove and bat and returning sometime later that same day aren’t here today. Thus, we must ask our citizens what’s important and strive to meet those requests. I’ve heard a grocery store, more restaurants, more recreation opportunities. We have vacant buildings we must address as new potential business owners are looking to open shop here, we have many new residents moving here and we must provide what they want. Interstate 73 is here, just a mile away, we have a state park within a few miles, we have added curb appeal to our community. We have addressed the need for water system upgrades, we have continued to equip our police and fire departments with what they need to keep us safe. Stoneville is open for business, come visit. And, in conclusion, I am asking to return to the Town Council of my hometown. You will have my promise to fulfill my commitment to you, the citizens of Stoneville.

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