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Originally published: 2012-11-01 16:58:13
Last modified: 2012-11-01 16:58:13

2012 Avery County General Election candidates

Matthew Hundley / (

In the Nov. 6 general election, Avery County voters will help determine the course of Avery County’s future for years to come. To help voters get the most out of their ballots, many candidates have submitted their own profiles to The Avery Journal-Times for voters to peruse and compare in order to make the most informed possible decision. 

County Commissioners

Robert (Reo) Griffith
Political Affiliation: RepublicanCandidate for: County Commissioner
I respectfully ask for your support and vote for county commissioner in the November general election.  I am a lifelong resident of Avery County.  I have been a police officer for 26 years in addition to operating a family farm.  I am married to Nancy McIntosh Griffith, and we have two children who attend Avery County High School and Cranberry Middle School.  I am a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.  I am fiscally conservative and want more transparency in all county government offices.  I would be humbled and privileged to serve the citizens of Avery County as a commissioner.

Martha Jaynes HicksPolitical Affiliation: Republican Candidate for: County Commissioner

• Cleaning Board for courthouse and annex buildings• Avery Transportation Board• Avery Smart Start for Children Board• Avery Council of Aging Planning Board• Yellow Mountain Inc. Board• Advisory Board for N.C. Cooperative Extension Service• Board of Education (Health for Children)• Delivers meals every Tuesday to Fall Creek Baptist Church in Beech Mountain
• Married to Wade Hicks• One son, Phillip Lloyd Hicks• A granddaughter, Heather Blair, and two great granddaughters• Dad and Brother Albert started Jaynes Plumbing Service in 1950 in Newland• Lifelong Avery County resident• Worked for Martha Guy at Avery County Bank for 17 years• Member of Curtis Creek Freewill Baptist Church, where husband is deacon
Candidate Statement

“My goals are more Internet services to homes, more jobs, helping our veterans, helping seniors and making the right decisions for the people.“I have been your commissioner for the last four years. Re-elect Martha Jaynes Hicks on May 8 as your County Commissioner. Make sure to vote both sides of ballot.“As a candidate for the people, I will work hard to do the right thing for this county.”

Douglas Owen
Political Affiliation: Democrat Candidate for: County Commissioner

• Elected president of Avery County Chamber of Commerce• Appointed to High Country Council of Government Bike Plan Committee• Member of Woolly Worm committee • Member of Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce• Member of Newland Business Association• Member of Lees-McRae College Cycling Advisory Council• Member of Banner Elk Bike and Pedestrian Committee
Candidate Statement

“My family and I moved to Banner Elk in 2003 as I assumed the position of the director of the college bookstore at Lees-McRae College. I was asked to take over as head coach of the LMC cycling team in 2005, helping to lead the team to six team National titles. In August of 2009, my family opened Cycle 4 Life Bicycle Shop in Banner Elk. I am an active cyclist who enjoys the trails and roads all around our beautiful county. Since my knee replacement in 2009, I have been able to enjoy our wondrous mountains even more. My wife of 25 years is an RN. Both of our children attend local colleges.
“I am often asked, ‘why would I want to run for county commissioner?’ I know that no Democrat has ever been elected to a county office in Avery County. For me, what is needed in our county goes beyond political party lines. I see great opportunity for Avery County to grow and prosper, without having to tear down our beautiful environment. The county does not need to be the manager of businesses, but the supporter of growth. The county should not raise your property taxes to balance their budget. We need commissioners who are willing to stand up for the constitution they swear an oath to defend, not give in to special interests who would ask them to compromise our constitution. I want to help Avery County become a strong summer destination for families; people that are looking for that vacation spot where they can go for a hike, raft a river, ride a zipline and enjoy a bike ride, spending family time together exploring our amazing natural environment. “Unemployment in Avery County is way too high. It is time we try something different. We need to look past the same old ways, and look toward the future. We need leaders for our county that are willing to lead us into the future, not take us back to the past. It is time our commissioners move forward and make the decisions that will allow our county to grow; without sacrificing what makes this place our home. I ask for people from all areas of Avery County to consider electing someone as commissioner that is willing to offer bold, growth-oriented leadership, to help us to prosper in the future. It is time for a positive change for Avery County.”

Kenny R. Poteat
Political Affiliation: Republican
Candidate for: County Commissioner

• Retired educator from Avery County High School• Taught accounting, business law, banking and finance• 18 years experience as a county commissioner• Deacon and Sunday School teacher at Crossnore First Baptist• Father of three, grandfather of seven
Candidate Statement

“I am running again because I feel we need experienced leadership during these difficult and very challenging economic times.“During my 18 years, I have served alongside 14 other county commissioners, and I have gained tremendous insight into local government challenges while learning from others. In these past 18 years, Avery County has maintained an average statewide tax rate ranking of ninth (meaning, on average, 91 counties were higher).“If elected, I hope to continue being a part of the plans for a ‘new’ Avery County High School and the completion of the courthouse renovation. Also, with a new economic development director in place, I hope to see more chances for employment and see increased numbers of restaurants and shopping opportunities. Thank you very much for your support in the past. “Recently, I was selected to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners Board of Directors, Avery’s first director since 1988. I have also been appointed to the Mayland Community College Board of Trustee.”


Linda Webb
Political Affiliation: RepublicanCandidate for: Write in for Coroner
“I, Linda Webb, have announced my candidacy for the coroner’s position in Avery County. I live with my husband Robert Webb in the Crossnore area. My husband has been Mountain Manager at Beech Mountain Ski Resort for 29 years. I attend and am an active member of the Curtis Creek Free Will Baptist Church. I am currently employed with the clerk of court’s office, and have been a deputy clerk in the criminal court for 11 years. Before that, I delivered mail part time for the Newland and Banner Elk Post Offices. I was employed with the Avery County Bank in Bookkeeping for about seven years. I opened up my own business around 1994, had a battle with cancer and then decided to do something different. 
“I have always liked a new challenge in my life. I felt that the coroner’s position will be a new challenge for me. If I am elected coroner, I will strive to do the best job possible. I currently have a good working relationship with law enforcement and emergency services. I will continue to work diligently with them to provide the best service possible. If you cast a vote for me, you will have to write my name in under the coroner’s position. My name will not show on the ballot. There is only a line to write my name on. Make sure you color the circle in and write Webb on the line. I have been a lifetime Republican and enjoy working with the Republican committee. I am also precinct vice-chair of the Pyatte Community. Thank you for your vote and support.”