Editor’s note: The Macon County News has historically provided its readers with profiles of candidates running for local offices. Part I was featured in last week's edition of the newspaper and includes biographical information for the mayoral candidates and four of the 10 candidates for alderman. Click here to read Part I of the candidate profiles.
Franklin residents have a full slate of candidates from which to choose in November's municipal election as 10 residents have filed for alderman and two have filed for mayor.
Only residents who live within Franklin city limits are able to vote in the election, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 5. For mayor, residents will be permitted to vote for one candidate, and the candidate with the most votes will win. For alderman, there are three open seats on the board, so voters will be able to vote for three candidates and the top three vote getters will be appointed to the board.
After attending many town meetings and keeping up with town politics, W.H. Derrick, originally from Atlanta, Ga., has decided to take matters into his own hands by filing for Franklin Town Alderman.
"We need a change," said Derrick of his reason for running. "I don't believe in people sitting on the board forever and ever. We need new blood and fresh ideas. The lack of change just does't gel with the growth of infrastructure that Franklin needs. When I say infrastructure, I don't just mean roads on Main Street. But we have torn up sidewalks all over the town, and no ditches for run-off. There is more to Franklin than just Main Street and back street."
After attending law school for a year, Derrick discovered that he was more of a working man. He worked for Atlanta Gas Company for 39 years before retiring. "In Atlanta I had working friends, but here I have great friends," said Derrick. "I love it up here, I love the people and how everyone is friendly to everyone."
Derrick has tried his luck running for town office twice in the past and hopes that this election he will be able to secure a seat and put the communication skills he has gained in his life to work for the Town of Franklin.
"The people of Franklin make it so great," said Derrick of his favorite thing about Franklin. "Everyone is so friendly here, it is unlike any other place I have ever been. Everyone waves at you and says hello, it is wonderful.
If elected to office, Derrick plans to go to work immediately improving Franklin's infrastructure.
"Just look at Depot Street, it needs to change. I would change the scenery if elected. I would put up some trees on Depot Street. That road is three quarters of a mile and has a large tax base and it could be improved. I know it is a state road, but it’s still in Franklin and there are things the town could do to Depot Street and other roads to build on the scenery of Franklin. Plant some trees and flowers and get the town looking great."
Derrick said another focus if elected would be ensuring that taxes remain low. "I would keep taxes down as best as I can. Politicians can't say that they won't raise taxes and anyone who does is just going backwards, but I would monitor town spending to only spend money on things we need in order to keep taxes as low as possible.”
After attending 95 percent of the meetings he said, Derrick has gotten the impression that the town board does not want open communication with residents, something he plans to change if elected to office.
"It seems like the current board members have their own agenda. I want to make sure every resident has a voice and a chance to be heard."
Having called Franklin home since he was two years old, Emmanuel Carrion, 37, has decided to run for Franklin Town Alderman.
"I am running for the Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen because I am invested in this town and I want to be a part of making it the best it can be," said Carrion. "I am a small business owner and my wife and I are raising four small children here. I want to see our children grow up in a strong community. For those reasons, I feel that it is time for me to step up and become involved in the decision-making process."
"I want a better direction for Franklin," said Carrion. "I grew up here, and now I'm raising my family here. I'm going to work hard today so our kids have a stronger Franklin tomorrow."
Carrion's family came to Franklin to find a better place to raise their young family. "I remembered my childhood in this fabulous community and I wanted to have that with my young family," he said. Carrion and his wife Jill have four children, Chase, Morgan, Taylor, and Price. After graduating from Franklin High School in 1997, Carrion entered the business world. "I own Carrion's Tree Service," he said. "I feel my hard work ethic, paired with my leadership skills, will benefit me greatly when making decisions as a town alderman. I am not the type of person to put things on the back burner, instead I will study and research the particular issue very progressively and make the best decision I can. I plan on working hard for the good people of this community."
Although he has no political background, Carrion believes he has a unique advantage. "I have proven leadership skills, whether it's teaching Sunday School at Life Church or coaching young kids in the community. I plan on putting those skills to work as a town representative.
Carrion is active in the Franklin community especially in youth sports. "I coach co-ed soccer, girls T-ball, boys baseball and pee wee football," he said. "I also enjoy sponsoring and supporting the community in any way I can. A few things I enjoy sponsoring include FHS football camp four years running, FHS baseball, Macon County Little League, and the Little Tennessee Land Trust."
The sense of community Carrion first felt as a child, which he continues to enjoy today, is his favorite thing about Franklin. "When you have a child walk up to you and tug on your pants to say, ‘hey coach,’ that means a lot to me. Having the chance to run into family and friends at a downtown event or festival, and stopping to chat with them about their day or issues that face the town … that’s what I love about Franklin."
As a business owner, one thing Carrion wants to see changed in Franklin is the business atmosphere.
"Something I would like to see improved in Franklin is the health and viability of our small business community," he said. "A lot of our small WNC mountain towns were hit hard by the recession. When times are tough, it is even more important for our community to work together for the common good. I'm looking forward to the chance to give our small business owners a platform to express their concerns and listen to their needs. If there is a way that the Town of Franklin can make their lives easier, I am interested in being a part of that."
Franklin native Mack Brogden hopes to have the opportunity to bring his real world working experience to improve economic conditions in Franklin.
"I have decided to run for alderman because I am fully retired and have plenty of time to devote to the job," he said. "I will approach the job with an open mind and I would be able to work well with the other aldermen."
Brogden, 62, comes from a long line of Maconians. Raised in the Cowee Community, Brogden is the son of Ed and Zena Pearl Brogden, and the grandson of Tom and Fannie Rickman, the original owners of the Rickman Store. Brogden and his wife have three grown children and three grandchildren.
After graduating from Franklin High School, Brogden when on to attend Southwestern Community College and Lake City Junior College in Florida. "I worked for Electric Supply Company for 20-plus years as a salesman and branch store manager in Franklin," he said. "After retiring, I worked for Lowe's for about eight years and have been fully retired since 2011."
Brogden does not have any direct political experience, but has extensive experience in building relationships with members of the community. "Although I have no prior political experience, I have worked closely with local businesses and met many people from different walks of life," he said. "Now that I am retired, I would devote my time and energies to supporting town residents and businesses."
After living in Franklin for decades, Brogden has seen businesses come and go. If elected, one thing he would like to see change is job availability.
"As far as changes for Franklin are concerned, I would strive to bring in more businesses and industries that would help create jobs. I would also strive to maintain the beauty and integrity of our town when bringing in new business and industry."
Franklin's natural beauty stands as Brogden's favorite aspect of the area. "I have always loved Franklin because of its scenic beauty and its location in North Carolina," said Brogden. I enjoy our small town atmosphere that has attracted other people wanting to make Franklin their home. I enjoy being able to drive through town and recognize friends and neighbors on the street."
As one of the youngest candidates in the race, Angela Hubbs Moore, 32, hopes to bring a fresh face to Franklin's town board.
"The Town of Franklin is taking our money and our private property rights," said Moore. "Every year there is talk of cutting taxes, but instead they stay the same. Our taxes can be cut. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on charities and events. Millions were spent on new buildings when the old ones were adequate. In the last 10 years, there has been a hiring frenzy. There is minimal debate and even less dissension about these financial decisions. We don't need another Yes Man. That is why I am here to say No. No more wasteful spending. No more hiring unneeded positions. And no more hiding in unanimous, uncontested board votes."
Moore is proud to have four generations of her family currently living in Macon County. A strong believer in fiscal responsibility, personal rights, and minimal government interference, she is an advocate for reducing government spending and increasing the transparency of government.
"I began work as a GIS Analyst for the Town of Franklin after completing an MS in Natural Resources at NC State University and spending a year as a missionary teacher in Tanzania," said Moore. "At the end of 2008, I resigned my position with the Town of Franklin to be a stay-athome mom. My experience working for the Town of Franklin has given me extensive knowledge of our town's finances, ordinances, and inner workings. Both when I was an employee, and afterwards as a citizen, I have seen wasteful spending and unacceptably poor communication between town officials and citizens. It is my passion to change these shortfalls that compelled me to run for alderman. My work experience also includes the Yellowstone National Park Thermal Inventory and NC State's Center for Earth Observation."
This is the second time Moore has sought a seat on the board.
"Four years ago, I ran for alderman against three incumbents and lost by a mere 16 votes," she said. "As a candidate, I was able to highlight some of the spending habits of our elected officials. I plan to bring light to our government's irresponsible use of public funds both during the election and during the following term."
Before moving home to Franklin, Moore also gained political experience. "I served as both a graduate senator and senate officer for the NC State University Student Senate serving 30,000+ students," she said. "My time with the student senate gave me a solid foundation in understanding local governments and a motivation to effect change in my community."
With the best interests of her fellow Franklin residents in mind, Moore wants to run for office because she believes the town residents are the best amenity there is. "The best part of Franklin is the people: The lady who lets you and your crying baby cut in line at the grocery store, the neighbor who mows your lawn the first week in your new house, the teacher that pulls you aside and says she'll be praying for you this school year, the guy whose truck you accidentally rear ended that offers you a ride when your car won't start. The mountains are beautiful and the town is charming, but it is the people that make me love this place," said Moore.
Moore hopes to cut town taxes if elected to office. "First and foremost, I will strive to see our taxes cut. This is my number one priority," she said. I believe it is a matter of principle to minimize the tax rates for the residents of Franklin, and not spend what is taken on endeavors that should be handled by private citizens and businesses. Secondly, I would like to open up our local government to the public. All board decisions should take place before the public, and the public should be fully informed of the decisions being made. We can do this through more explicit agenda and budget items, through the internet, by working with local press, and by soliciting more public input."