Hudson candidates on the issues
The News-Topic sent questions on a variety of local issues to candidates for local office in each of Caldwell County's municipalities. Below are answers from mayoral and board of commissioners candidates in Hudson.
What makes you a qualified candidate? What can you offer that no other candidate can?
Janet Winkler, 66, town commissioner unopposed for mayor: I have served the town for the past 14 years as a Commissioner. I understand the strengths and challenges of the town.
Tony Colvard, 62, retired, incumbent: Academic history: Graduated from Hudson High School; obtained an associate’s from CCC&TI; my bachelor’s degree (B.S., cum laude) is from Gardner Webb College; and I did master’s work at The University of Virginia and Appalachian State University. I am also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Military Service: Served in the Army from 1969-1972 with one tour of duty in Vietnam. Received two Purple Hearts for Wounds Received in Combat, two Bronze Stars for Valor in Ground Combat, and a Silver Star for Gallantry in Combat, along with many other medals and awards.
Work History: Hudson Police Department for 20 years, serving as Chief of Police for 10 years.
Civic Involvement: I have served with many clubs and boards doing volunteer work for Hudson and the county. Those include County Commissioner 1994-97, director of the Economic Development Commission 97-2002, Lenoir Rotary Club, Hibriten Masonic Lodge, Hudson Optimist, Hudson Methodist Church Board of Directors, Shelter Home for Battered Women Board of Directors, American Cancer Society Board, Hudson Community Development President, Hudson Fire Department, President of the North Carolina Police Executives Association, Commissioner on the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and others.
David Irvin, 65, retired, not an incumbent: I have over 30 years of experience in manufacturing and engineering management. I believe I can apply the organizational and management skills I learned in the private sector to the challenges facing the Town of Hudson as we move forward.
Carl Wagner, 82, retired, incumbent: I’ve lived in Hudson for nearly 60 years and have served on the government for over 20 years. I’m sure there are others in Hudson who could do an equally good job.
What is the number-one issue facing the town – the issue that would be your number-one focus while in office?
Winkler: Our number-one issue has been and continues to be lack of funds to operate efficiently. We have been good stewards of resources and will continue to be. We are proud of our services to the residents of Hudson.
Colvard: Revenue reductions and loss of tax base due to the Great Recession. We must continue to be frugal with the town’s money and keep taxes low.
Irvin: Balancing the need for the town to provide the necessary services for its citizens with the need to maintain taxes as low as possible especially during the current economic situation.
Wagner: I think economic development is the number one focus for Hudson as well as all of Caldwell County.
What do you see as the town’s greatest underutilized asset and how would you make use of it?
Winkler: One of the Town of Hudson’s greatest underutilized assets is our portion of the U.S. 321 Corridor. We have a tremendous opportunity to develop vacant land on 321. Hudson needs to work closely with our Caldwell Economic Development Commission to market this undeveloped land for Commercial Retail Growth. Hudson also has the railroad running through our town. The rail serves two industries in Hudson at present and we could market this opportunity to future industries. We need to focus on Industrial and Commercial growth to compliment our existing businesses. We could generate additional resources for Hudson.
Colvard: Perhaps our greatest underutilized asset is now being put to good use, and that is the Hudson Uptown Building or HUB. Perhaps you know that the Dinner Theater is presenting three weeks of “The Sound of Music.” This is the combined effort of many volunteers from the town, renowned professionals, directed by Keith Smith.
In addition, Redwood Park and McCreary Recreation Center are a wonderful attraction in the town. Also there is the Depot Museum, “Picking in the Park,” the Butterfly Festival and the wonderful job the town staff does in conjunction with Hudson Community Development on landscaping and beautifying the town.
Many of our businesses and corporations contribute generously to town functions and projects; without their support the town would be a lesser place.
Many exciting things are happening in Hudson now, all of which draw people to the town, which in turn benefits businesses and citizens alike. Hudson is a wonderful place to live and raise a family in our friendly, hometown atmosphere. These things do not just happen, but are the combined effort of the governing board, town manager, staff, Hudson Community Development and a wealth of volunteers.
Irvin: The town has a number of available spaces for small businesses. I would like for the town to do everything it can to help our current small businesses succeed along with attracting new businesses to our community.
Wagner: The people of Hudson are the best in the world and if given an opportunity will certainly perform to the best of their ability. We need to develop businesses that can utilize these people.
How should the town cope with potential revenue reductions, whether from the state legislature, from sales tax revenue, or from other sources?
Winkler: This issue has been answered in questions 3 and 4. We have to continue to be good stewards of revenue and expenses. We also have to continue to look for ways to market our town to future growth. We also have to continue to support our business and industry currently in Hudson.
Colvard: This past June, a delegation of three Hudson Commissioners and the town manager went to Raleigh to meet with a number of members of both the House and Senate to lobby for increased funding to towns. We communicate often with our elected officials in Raleigh in conjunction with the N.C. League of Municipalities to keep abreast of upcoming changes and endeavor to work on behalf of the cities and towns to protect programs and funding which is vital to running our towns. Without this effort, elected officials in Raleigh would not know our needs. Efforts like this must continue and we must always be vigilant of what is stirring in the legislature.
Irvin: It would be necessary to carefully review the budget in order to prioritize spending based on what services are most important to the community.
Wagner: Improvements in the current employment picture will do much to offset any loss of state revenue.