Editor,

Last month, Business Today published an article where anonymous sources were cited stating the Lake Norman Chamber will work to defeat a current elected official  this November. This article was referenced by Molly Patton in a letter to the editor.

The chamber promotes good government and encourages our local membership and our area citizens to get engaged in the political debate of our region. However, we do such as a nonpartisan organization, neither supporting nor working against any candidates for any office. We have never supported or endorsed any candidate in the 24-year history of our organization.

My “no comment” was on ranking our mayors. As spokesman for the chamber, I would never partake in an exercise of grading elected officials. Upon further reflection, I did feel it would be appropriate to share my perspective regarding our elected officials. My email to Business Today follows:

Beginning with my community, I have always been impressed with Mayor (Jill) Swain’s commitment to the arts and community resources such as the United Way. We served together on the board of the Ada Jenkins Center in 2003-2004, and I had the chance to see firsthand her enthusiasm for helping those in need. I know her time is stretched, but I would like to see her more engaged with the chamber of commerce. The chamber conducts a great many programs events in Huntersville, and we could benefit with more interaction by the mayor. And I think it would serve her as well, giving her insight into our diverse and growing business community.

Mayor (Jeff) Tarte is a visionary who sees his community as it could and should be. I have always been impressed by his knowledge on a variety of subjects and his openness to new ideas. He is extremely approachable and cares very much about the community he serves. If there were a criticism of Mayor Tarte, it may be that he sees the bloom of the flower and not the thorn on the rose. As the CEO of his company, he is accustomed to being the decision maker, and in the role of mayor, that task falls to the board rather than its chief elected official. A difficult adjustment for any engaged CEO, allowing the decision to be made by others. His task is to influence that decision with outstanding leadership and reason.

Mayor (John) Woods, as a professional banker, is always looking for the return on investment. He understands that the investment may take some time to show a return and the market itself will have many up and down cycles, but if you stick to the plan, it will yield your return. The question is how much time are the investors willing to wait? There is no question he and his board look at business development as a blueprint for the future. They look to create a town that their children will be thankful to inherit.

– Bill Russell, President and CEO
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce