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Voters turn out incumbents in Mills River

MILLS RIVER — Two incumbent council members lost their seats in Mills River Tuesday night when Sandra Goode unseated Mayor Pro Tem Brian Caskey in the District 1 seat and James Cantrell narrowly defeated Brian S. Kimball in District 2 seat, according to unofficial election returns Tuesday night.

Dennis Grass, who was on the ballot in District 2 but had decided not to campaign, finished third.
Goode earned 53. 46 percent of the vote with 479 votes to Caskey’s 46.43 percent with 416 votes.
Cantrell won 49.02 percent of the vote with 425 votes to Kimball’s 47.87 percent, or 415 votes. Grass received 26 votes or 3 percent.
The District 3 seat will be filled by former council member Shanon Gonce, who chose not to seek re-election four years ago after serving three terms. Gonce received 96.60 percent of the vote with 682 votes. Write in candidates received 24 votes or 3.40 percent.
It’s noteworthy that Mills River will have a new mayor come December. The Town Council, not voters, elects a mayor from among the five council members. Chae Davis, who represented District 2, did not file for re-election.
Cantrell, a 32-year-old range manager at Van Wingerden International, credited high turnout with his win.
“It was very, very close. I’m pretty sure it’s the most people who voted in an off year,” he said.
Cantrell said no one issue seemed to stand out to voters during his campaign. But he acknowledged that growth in the community will require the attention of council.
“Mills River is exploding,” he said. “Growth and zoning are hot issues that must be dealt with.”
Cantrell said he was looking forward to serving Mills River once he is sworn in.
Goode, a 58-year-old surgery desk tech, certified medical assistant and certified nursing assistant at Advent Health, .on Wednesday said she is lookig forward to serving the citizens of Mills River.

In addition to balancing the town's growth with the desire of many residents to limit high density development, Goode said she also wants to address concerns about the lighting at a greenhouse in the area.

The greenhouse on Ladson Road is located in the county, but many residents in Mills River say the lights are a nuisance to them.

"You can see the lights everywhere," she said. "We're gonna see what we can do."

Goode credited her win with listening to voters.

"I want to hear from the people. I want people to get involved with their town," she said. "I love Mills River and want to see Mills River keep its identity."