Former Macon County leaders talk past and present issues

(L-R) Penland, Gregory; Background: Susan Ervin with LWV

A group of former Macon County Commissioners from the past 44 years shared stories from the past as well current concerns at Thursday’s League of Women Voters Program.

The idea was inspired by local historian Barbara McCrae who also helped to keep the discussion going. The county’s first County Manager, Ronald Winecoff (1969) as well as past commissioners Jerry Sutton (1986), Sonny Burrell (1974), Jerry Stewart (1988), Pete Penland (1974) and Miles Gregory (1978) attended the event.

The commissioners recalled how Macon County has grown and the many improvements that Macon County has seen such as the landfill, the recreation park and the emergency services.

The one change that Sonny Burrell expressed his concern was in the political climate that commissioners are now elected. In the past, the county commissioners worked well together despite what party they belonged to. Burrell stated that the county may see a time when citizens will not want to run for political office because of what they have to endure during the election process.

The league of women voters sponsors a monthly informational meeting on topics of interest to the community on the second Thursday of each month at noon at Tartan Hall.

The next meeting will feature Opt In, Opportunity Initiative for Southwestern North Carolina, a year-long ambitious study of economic development, transportation and environmental research efforts for North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties, the 16 municipalities within and the Sovereign Nation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.