Mike LaBrose to run for re-election to Caldwell Board of Commissioners

Jan. 26, 2014 @ 09:08 AM

Mike LaBrose has announced his intention to run for re-election to the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.

LaBrose, 50, is an insurance agent with the North Carolina Farm Bureau, was first elected to the board in 2010 and previously served 14 years on the Caldwell County Board of Education prior to his term on the board of commissioners, where he has served in the roles of chairman and vice-chairman.

A Republican for 32 years, LaBrose aims to bring his experience back to the board to help steer the county in the right direction, pointing to accomplishments including reducing the property tax rate from 65.99 cents for every $100 of value to 60 cents, reducing government spending, and improving services to education, emergency services and the sheriff’s office.

LaBrose also said he is encouraged by recent job growth in the county, but not satisfied. He cited new companies that have come to the county such as Bakers Waste Equipment, which brought more than 70 jobs, Randall Miller Trucking, which brought more than 30, Carolina Prime Pet, which brought more than 100, and Lubrimetal Corporation, which brought more than 12.

“The list could go on and on,” LaBrose said, adding that bringing jobs is a team effort between the board of commissioners, the Economic Development Commission, educational institutions and the community.

LaBrose said he wants to be a voice for the community, quoting the Bible, “Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger,” and adding, “Those are the types of virtues I want to have.”

He listed his core values as dedication to service, continued stability in county government and marked accomplishments, together with his beliefs that Caldwell County is a great place to work, live and raise a family, and that the county has the talent, ability and determination to attract new businesses and grow the economy.

LaBrose said he strives to be a good steward of the tax dollar. He disputed criticism by Ben Griffin, a former commissioner who is running again for the board of commissioners, that the commissioners cost taxpayers an extra $4.5 million on the cost of a new middle school by failing to secure the former Broyhill Furniture Industries headquarters. LaBrose said that the $10 million that Griffin cites as the cost of turning the Broyhill building into a school is not accurate. Caldwell County Superintendent Steve Stone said the $10 million estimate did not include the cost of the purchase of the building.

Buying the building would have been $2 million, and renovating it -- including the cost of installing an elevator and adding a gym -- would have been $11.5 million, LaBrose said. The total, $13.5 million, is not far below the $14.5 million estimated cost for the new school that is to be built adjacent to Hibriten High School, he said, but the new school will be useful longer and serve as a better economic development tool.