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The Nov. 6 election marked Kenny Poteat’s sixth time on a General Election ballot and his
sixth consecutive victory as a commissioner on Avery County Board of County
Commissioners. The election ensures that Poteat will reach the landmark of 20 consecutive
years in service as a commissioner.
Photo by Matthew Hundley

Originally published: 2012-11-29 10:09:35
Last modified: 2012-11-29 10:09:35

Poteat approaches milestone thanks to most recent election

Matthew Hundley / (

In the most recent General Election, Avery residents voted for a sixth time for Kenny Poteat to sit on the Avery County Board of Commissioners. With 18 years as a county commissioner, this most recent election will mean that Poteat will hit a milestone that few elected officials ever accomplish: 20 consecutive years in the same elected seat. First elected in 1994, Poteat has served as the board of commissioners’ chairman since 2000. 

Looking back, Poteat commented on some of the ups and downs of the last 18 years. As a retired teacher, it is not surprising that county contributions to education ranked highly among the accomplishments Poteat remembers most.

“One thing is what we accomplished with our education; the new schools,” Poteat said. “That is what I am most proud of; education, especially in capital projects.”

Poteat noted that he had presided over the establishment of four new schools, beginning with the final stages of construction on Cranberry/Freedom Trail, followed by Newland Elementary, Crossnore Elementary and Banner Elk Elementary. Not finished yet, Poteat is currently on the planning board that is working on preparations for a new Avery County High School in years to come.

Another key issue in which Poteat took pride was in his and his fellow commissioners’ efforts to keep county taxes low.

“On average, Avery County has had the 10th lowest tax rate in the state for the past 20 years,” Poteat said.

When asked if there was anything he would have liked to have accomplished as a commissioner that had not come to pass, Poteat acknowledged that such disappointments had taken place, but none came immediately to mind.

“There have certainly been things and moments,” Poteat said. “But most things have come to fruition.”

Like most commissioners, Poteat found himself not only on the board of commissioners, but also on many other boards in the community. Among his many appointments, Poteat said he took particular pride in his participation on the Mayland Community College Board of Trustees, High Country Council of Governments Board of Directors and particularly his most recent addition to the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners board of directors, a first for Avery County since 1988 when Charles Von Canon held a seat on the NCACC Board of Directors.

According to Poteat, this term will likely be his last as a county commissioner.

“My goal was 20 years, so more than likely, this will do it,” Poteat said, noting that his 20-year stint as a commissioner is unprecedented in Avery County history. The 20-year mark will likely earn him and Avery County recognition at the state level. 

Poteat said that he hopes that after he leaves the board of commissioners he will still play an active role in the community, contributing to other boards as well as community organizations.