Michael Hewett is seeking his first term in office, challenging incumbent Paul Johnson for the East District seat on the Surry Count Board of County Commissioners in Tuesday’s primary.
He is on the eve of his 24th wedding anniversary with Lowell Abeyta Hewett, and they have three children.
Hewett serves as pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Pinnacle, a position he has held for 11 years.
In addition to his duties as pastor, Hewett works at Mock Tire in Winston-Salem.
Why did you choose to run for office?
“I honestly don’t really know why I’m running, except that it was laid on my heart that I should run.
“Even though I know how people talk about politicians, and the fact that I’ve always been skeptical of politics, it kept weighing on my heart.
“I ended up calling the board of elections and they said a seat was open and I was qualified. I went down and signed up.”
If elected, what are your goals in office?
“I want to find a way to lower taxes. Surry County has a tax rate in the top 10 percent of all counties in North Carolina.
“I’d like to try to cut taxes and bring jobs into Surry County.
“All the textile jobs have left the county, and I’m very concerned. I want to be in a position to get out there and bring jobs back to Surry County.”
What do you consider the biggest issue facing the county?
“I really haven’t given it that much thought, but like I said, I think the biggest concern for voters is the loss of jobs in the county. I want to work to do something about it.”
How would you go about bringing the jobs back?
“I would have to try to get out there, look around and try to recruit companies to come to the county.
“I want to make the county more business-friendly and get people excited about coming here. I would still promote the area as the home of Mayberry because I think it’s important and a good thing.
“We have a lot of history in this county, we have wonderful and beautiful areas.
“I would promote that and try to bring people and jobs into the county.”
Would you change anything about the board of county commissioners?
“I haven’t seen any negatives, having not been involved in politics over the years, so I don’t know that I’d to any better or worse.
“But I would try to make common sense decisions that help the people.
“To say that I could do better? I don’t know.
“I’m not trying to cut the existing commissioners down, but I want to be privy to the information they have and make common sense decisions to see whether I can help.”
What traits do you bring to the table?
“Being a family man and a husband. I’ve been a pastor of a church and feel like these are important attributes that I can bring to the county.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the voters before the primary?
“I’m not one for big words, but I simply want to help the people of this county. My heart has always wanted to see people grow and achieve great things.
“I hope we can do that in the county with a board of county commissioners who listen and have the best interests of the county at heart.
“I’m not a politician. I’m learning the ropes and I got into this to try to help the people. That’s the biggest thing I want to do.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.