ELECTION: Newton mayor hopefuls discuss qualifications

Newton's current mayor pro-tem and a business entrepreneur face off to become the city's next mayor.

Voters will choose either Anne Stedman, the mayor pro-tem and owner of the Trot House Inn, or Wes Weaver, the entrepreneur, retiree and Newton Merchants Association president.

Both candidates say job growth is essential to the city's future. Read more about Stedman and Weaver on page 2.

Voters will also choose members of Newton City Council this election. Current council members Wayne Dellinger, Tom Rowe and Mary Bess Lawing face challenger Mae Lutz McLean in the race for three seats.

Early voting continues at Newton Main Library and Highland Recreation Center in Hickory from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday. Early voting at those sites concludes Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. All standing in line at closing time will be allowed to vote.

On Nov. 8, polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

Wes Weaver

1) What is your line of work?
I am retired and am a stay-at-home dad with my two youngest children, CJ and Wesley. I am the president of the Newton Merchants Inc. and very active in our community with volunteer work. I work hard with many other philanthropic individuals orchestrating and hosting many festivals and events in downtown Newton. I work diligently and spend so much volunteered time helping because I want to be a part of bringing thousands of people downtown and exposing them to the businesses that are there as well as providing them with fun and family entertainment in hopes of promoting and growing local commerce.
2) Why are you running for this office for the next term?
We need jobs and if myself or someone else doesn't do something about our unemployment problems in this area, my children and your children or grandchildren could possibly have to search for opportunities in other cities and even other states. Something has to be done now. Also, I am very aware that jobs are a well-sought-after commodity in this country. When jobs do become available they will go somewhere and we need to be hyper aggressive about going after them. We need to make our area as attractive as possible for companies to want to manufacture their products here. You will hear other politicians at all levels trying to distract the public with confusing rhetoric and pandering their accomplishments when in reality they are not focused on the real problems. They are focused on their own agendas. Our problems are very simple to identify.
3) Why should you win?
I should win this election because I have the ideas, experience and dedication to lead Newton into the future. It is time to put a fresh set of eyes and new ideas to work in this city. I am constantly being told by the citizens of Newton that they want change. I  am that candidate. I don't have any agendas other than I want to make opportunities for my children and I am tired of seeing my friends, family and neighbors lose their jobs or have their homes foreclosed on. For anyone that is having trouble deciding how to vote keep this in mind, if you are happy with the way things are then don't vote for me. However, if you think we need a change and we need jobs then you should definately vote for me, Wes Weaver. What ever you decide, you need to vote. The voter turnout for this election has been historically low and our next mayor will be decided by very few votes. Your vote does matter! This may be one of the most important elections where you can make a significant difference.

Anne Stedmann

1. What is your line of work?
I am the owner/innkeeper of the Trott House Inn Bed & Breakfast, since 1999.

2. Why are you running for this office for the next term?
I was born and raised here in Newton and have always been passionate about this small town. After marriage, I left Newton only to return 20 years later with new eyes. I’ve lived all over the country and have seen how different towns have combated the exodus of business from the once-thriving downtowns of America to the shopping centers and malls. It is my wish that we bring business back to downtown. With the creation of the Business Advisory Committee, attention to small business development will be given serious attention and action. I also know that we’re facing many challenges with the economy and will work hard to maintain a fiscally sound budget without reducing services to our citizens. So, too, in these challenging times, I’ll continue to focus on restoring jobs. In my tenure on the council, we’ve created approximately 1,000 jobs with the recruitment of Flowers Bakery, ZF Lemforder and the Target Distribution Center, and we’ve seen business expansion, as well, with Sarstedt’s new addition creating 20 jobs. In cooperation with the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), I plan to use this experience to attract other corporations to our business-friendly city.

3. Why should you win?
I learned at an early age that service to community matters. My grandfather, Clacy Nuzum, served as a Newton alderman and later as a Catawba County commissioner. He instilled in me a lesson that I’ve carried with me all my life. Since returning in 1999, I’ve been actively involved in Newton by serving on several boards and committees before filling a city council seat in 2003.  I’ve served on Newton’s Festival & Events committee since 2000, the Downtown Newton Development Association (DNDA) for the last 10 years, the Newton Area Council board, the Depot Authority, and the North Carolina League of Municipalities Legislative Action Committee board. In addition, I’ve also served on several other boards:  the Parenting Network, Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Green Room. Serving on these boards has given me a perspective of our culture and its needs. With this experience, I’m ready to lead our city.