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County Commission candidates say they're ready to serve

David Hill, left, and Stephen Mace talk to voters at Republican Party meeting. David Hill, left, and Stephen Mace talk to voters at Republican Party meeting.

The election for the District 5 Henderson County Board of Elections seat pits two political newcomers who say they're ready to serve their community while working to keep taxes low.


David Hill and Stephen Mace meet in the March 3 Republican primary for the seat that Board of Commissioners Chairman Grady Hawkins will vacate. No Democrat filed for the seat.

Hill, of Zirconia, is a Henderson County native and surveyor who describes himself as socially and fiscally conservative.

A graduate of East Henderson High School and Wingate University, Hill owns his own surveying business.

"It would be an honor for me to serve on the commission," he told a Republican meeting at the Dixie Diner earlier this month. "I believe if we want to live here we need to give back. I don’t believe in wasting money in business or at the house and I don’t believe the county should. I’m not saying the county is but there’s always ways you can do better."

He's a longtime member of Green River Community Association, serving as president for about 10 years, serves on the Blue Ridge Fire & Rescue board and the county Cemetery Advisory Committee. He served on the  county's business regulation review committee and the committee that drafted the Green River small area land-use plan. He and his wife, who have grown twin daughters, attend Mountain Valley Baptist Church.

"I make no pretense that I know how to be a commissioner or run a government," he said. "I’ve never done it. I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can.”

Mace is a manufacturing consultant and father of two who grew up here. Like Hill, he says he has reached a time in his life where is willing and able to serve.

"Why me? I’ve lived over 35 years of my 48 years in Henderson County," he said. "My mom and dad raised their family here. I’m blessed to raise my family here. My wife and I are going to be empty nesters and the last few years both of us have been intentionally focused on what we’re going to do once we’re empty nesters. We’re going to have more time to serve and I’ve been much more intentional with God, asking, What do you want me to do?"

Hill and Mace have both been attending numerous local government meetings. Mace said he has been meeting with officials to ask about the state of the county.
“I’ve got good news and the good news is we’ve got a growing problem here in Henderson County, and that’s what I’ve learned," he said. "I’ve talked to commissioners, Partnership for Economic Development, Blue Ridge Community College, Board of Education, ag council, and what I hear is we’ve got a growing problem. We’ve got low taxes and we’ve got great infrastructure. The challenge is how to keep it there.

"I tell you how my brain is going to work. No. 1, will this decision help keep taxes low? How do you keep taxes low? Keep revenue up and cost down. Revenue up, the right way. Cost down, the right capital projects.”

He also pledges cooperation and a broad view of the county.
"It’s not just the county and the city anymore. It’s the county and five municipalities," he said. "That’s going to require collaboration. I’ve worked the last 10 years as a manufacturing consultant and the one skill that I have honed is listening." His goal, he said, would be "understanding what’s important to the people I would be elected to serve and understanding what each municipality and the county need to continue to have low, a great infrastructure and keep this great place to live.”