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Some aspects of growth in Johnston County make Mike Powell uneasy.
“I have seen a lot of subdivisions take the place of what once was family farmland,” says Powell, one of three Republicans seeking that party’s nomination for the District 6 seat on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “I know growth is imminent, but I don’t like to see the congestion some of this building has created.”
That’s why Powell is running for commissioner. “I want to be an advocate for responsible growth and development and be fiscally conservative with taxpayers’ money,” he said in an email response to questions for the Johnstonians News.
“I want to keep Johnston County a place where people want to live and work,” Powell added, “but I want to make sure to keep congestion to a minimum.”
Powell is the sixth generation of his family to live in rural Johnston County. “I want to be the voice of the community families, like mine, that have lived here for generations,” he said.
County commissioners spent much of 2019 debating how best to manage Johnston’s growth. To Powell, planning is paramount. “As Johnston County continues to grow, I want to ensure forward thinking and planning is in place for the proper infrastructure necessary for schools and businesses within our community to sustain positive growth,” he said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “By working collectively with elected officials, residents and business owners, I feel this can be accomplished, and we can continue to make Johnston County a great place to live for future generations.”
“Infrastructure is an important aspect of growth, as well as planning so as to not overcrowd our schools,” Powell said in his email. “I think teachers do a better job when they don’t have overcrowded classrooms. Education of our children is paramount, because they are the future leaders to take our place.”
If elected, Powell said he would try to anticipate the consequences of board actions before voting on them. “I try to be forward thinking in decisions that I make and try to envision what the results of those decisions may lead to going forward,” he said.
“I am not a politician,” Powell said in the statement announcing his candidacy, “but I believe in honesty and integrity, transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility when it comes to spend your hard-earned tax dollars.”
Powell gives generally high marks to the current crop of commissioners. “I think some things could have been done differently here and there, but that goes with any job,” he said in his email. “You do what you think is best for everyone, but at the same time, you can’t always please everyone.”
But Powell does wonder if it’s time for commissioners to be more hands-on with the county’s public schools. “I think recent issues that have arisen concerning the school board could have benefited with some oversight from our commissioners,” he said.
Along with growth, commissioners talked a lot in 2019 about how best to pay for the county’s solid waste convenience centers. Powell has ideas about that.
“All trash generated in Johnston ends up in the landfill,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it comes from towns or rural areas. I think a flat rate for everyone in Johnston County would help pay for these centers, but I welcome any and all ideas on this or any issue residents have to offer.”
In his statement, Powell said he hoped voters would give him a chance to serve. “I would like to have the opportunity to take part in this process,” he said. “I feel it is very important that the voice of the people is heard in the community in which they live.”
About Mike Powell
Born Jan. 22, 1972, Powell grew up on Cleveland Road in rural Johnston County. A graduate of Smithfield-Selma High School, he recently graduated with honors from the University of Mount Olive with a bachelor’s degree in human resources management.
Powell has worked for Caterpillar in Clayton for 23 years, starting on the production floor and working his way up to management.
He and his wife, Kim Stanton Powell, were married in 1999. They have a daughter, Carson Alexis Powell.
Powell is a fourth-generation member of Pisgah Baptist Church, where he is chairman of the deacon board.