Hickory native Joe Brannock is running for Hickory City Council, Ward 5. Joe is a graduate of Hickory High School and Appalachian State University. After graduating, he worked for Congressman Cass Ballenger and later for Sen. Richard Burr as the Senator's Western Regional Director. Since then he’s taken on a role in the family-owned business with his brother.
"I've always been interested in politics, but more important is my dedication to public service. Whether as a Senate staffer, my role with the Catawba County School System or even as a sports official with Parks & Rec., working in the community and having a positive, direct interaction with the public has always been important to me."
"I served on the City's Airport and Rental Property Taskforces. I was an earlier advocate of the city taking a more hands-on management style regarding the airport. Today, by the City's own account, the airport is in the best financial shape ever because the City is now managing the airport FBO directly."
Brannock believes that Hickory is changing, but our leader's priorities and styles are not.
"We're losing the 24 to 44-year olds faster than anywhere in the state. We need younger leaders who understand the problems facing the next generation."
There are too many barriers-to-entry regarding public service.
“It seems the same people are appointed to advisory boards, while too many elected officials run unopposed. During the past decade, of the roughly 20 Council races only six were contested. Of those, only two new councilmen were elected.”
"We need fresh new ideas. Having incumbents serve 12, 18, even 30+ years prevents that. That’s why I support term limits for Hickory City Council and pledge to serve only two terms. I want to serve, but I don't want to create the same barrier for younger leaders who follow me."
"I believe in Hickory's neighborhoods. Sally Fox dedicated much of her service to improving neighborhoods. I want to take up that calling and reinvent the neighborhood associations for Hickory's future. I propose strengthening the existing neighborhood associations by assisting them to become individual non-profits."
Brannock believes this would provide more funding opportunities. Currently, associations are heavily dependent on the City to fund improvement plans. Through their own non-profit status, each association would be eligible to apply directly for federal and state grants, helping to alleviate their reliance on the City.
"Neighborhood non-profits would also create a way for local businesses to invest directly in communities they serve and enjoy a tax benefit. It's a win for the City, the neighborhood, and business."
Brannock believes with a renewed interest in the neighborhood associations would come a 'training ground' for new leaders to begin their path to elected office.
"I was born and raised here. I want my daughter to have the same opportunities I had growing up here. I love Hickory and the people. That's why I'm stepping forward with energy and ideas and asking for the voter's support in electing me to Hickory City Council."
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