Home builders host candidates

(L-R) Joe Speight, John Edwards, Anthony Graves, Joseph Burleson at the Yadkin Valley Homebuilders meeting | Jessica Furr Stanly County Journal

ALBEMARLE — The Yadkin Valley Home Builders Association held its regular meeting Monday night at the Rosebriar Restaurant in Albemarle with local candidates for office on the agenda. Following dinner and some association announcements, the program shifted to candidates for Stanly County Board of Commissioners and Stanly County Board of Education.

Joe Speight, running for a spot as a county commissioner in District 2, was the first candidate to address the group.

“We have to make Stanly County appealing for outsiders wanting to come here and start a business,” said Speight. If elected, he said he would “work to put more resources in place” to attract businesses “who want to be in Stanly County and who want to grow here.”

John Edwards — a Republican running in tandem with Anthony Graves for one of two open seats on the Stanly County School Board — followed Speight. Edwards told members of the association that “for the economy to grow, we need good school systems.” The schools need to “work on the equality and offerings of their classes.” One attendee in the crowd asked Edwards if saw any excitement on behalf of the schools regarding building and construction classes. Edwards responded, “No.”

He went on to say he wants to help remedy that if elected. He stated that he “would like to ask the school system, ‘What can we do to help prepare kids for the building and construction industry?’” He also suggested getting together area builders and those in the trade industry related to construction to put on a job fair for local high school students to introduce them to local business owners. Many members of the home builders said it is hard for them to find and retain good help.

Anthony Graves — also vying for a spot on the Stanly County School Board — said he hopes to make the Stanly County School Board more accountable.

“If we can get the schools turned around, it will benefit everybody,” said Graves.

Graves said the county should “treat public schools like charter schools. Trade classes need to be able to prepare students for work.” Referring to local students, he added, “If you don’t know what opportunities exist, you can’t get excited about them.”

Last up to speak was Stanly County Commission Chairman Joseph Burleson. He thanked members of the association for all of the hard work that they have done in the past year, saying that the county has seen real growth.

“Thank you for all that you guys do,” said Burleson. “You are the backbone of the county.”

The next meeting of the home builders association will be May 21 at the Rosebriar Restaurant at 6:30 p.m.