First Posted: 7/2/2009
Thursdays announcement by Mount Airy Mayor Jack Loftis that he will not seek re-election means two of three seats on the board of commissioners will be vacant in the fall elections.
Commissioner David Beal said earlier this week he would not be seeking re-election after serving a decade on the board, while relative newcomer Jon Cawley, who has served ten months, will seek re-election. Commissioners Todd Harris, Deborah Cochran, and Dean Brown each have more than two years left on their terms.
The filing period for candidates opens Monday, and will continue for two weeks. According to City Manager Don Brookshire, any of the city commissioners are free to run for the office of mayor while maintaining their present position on the board.
Most said on Thursday that is not something they are considering.
Harris, reached for comment while attending a softball event with his daughter in Colorado, said he was concerned with just two things working through the next two years of his term as a commissioner, and trying to make sure I can get home without trying to hitch hike, he said with a laugh.
I never considered it, Brown said. I need to learn a lot more about city government before I do that. I think the person who is the mayor needs to have a lot of knowledge about whats going on.
Cawley was even more direct in answering that question, with an emphatic No sir, his reply.
Cochran said her time, at the present, is focused on fulfilling her duties as a commissioner and on helping her brother, who learned in May he is suffering from leukemia.
Campaigning, if you do it right, its a tremendous amount of work. It takes a lot out of you. If you do it right, it takes a tremendous amount of time and personal energy.
In addition, she said the effect a mayor has on constituents is different than that of a commissioner.
As a commissioner, you get to vote on issues, and that has a direct effect on people, I think, she said. The mayor, by contrast, does not vote unless the commission is deadlocked on any given issue.
Beal, who had announced he would not seek re-election to his commissioners seat, was non-committal on whether he would be interested in running for the mayoral post.
I dont believe I want to comment on that one way or another on that, he said. At this point, I wont comment.