Republican Davie County Commissioner Candidate: Brent Shoaf
Published 2:18 pm Thursday, April 28, 2022
The following is information on one of five candidates for Davie County Board of Commissioners. Voters will elected two. Early voting started April 28 and the primary election will be May 17.
M. Brent Shoaf
US 158, Advance
Carolyn H Shoaf (wife), Katie Shoaf (daughter)
1983 graduate of Davie County High School; 1987 bachelor’s degree in secondary education from High Point University; 1991 master’s degree in school counseling from Appalachian State University
NC Public Schools Teacher, School Counselor & Coach, 11.5 years (Forbush H.S., Alleghany H.S. and Davie County H.S.); Davie County Register of Deeds, 20 years ( elected 5 terms), Retired. Currently employed at Clemmons Mill
In The Community
• Member, Advance United Methodist Church, current Finance Chair
• NC Association of Register of Deeds, Parliamentarian, Executive Committee Member, and Land Records Committee Co-chair
• Davie Civitan Club, past President
• NCSECU Advisory Board, past Chair
• NCGOP State Credentials Committee
• DC GOP, past Treasurer
• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Davie, past Chair
• Davie County Hospital Advisory Board
• Davie County Hospital Board of Trustees
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Shoaf: I have decided to seek public office because I believe that I can make a positive difference for the citizens of Davie County. My background as a public servant provides me experiences that should help me to better serve the citizens of Davie County. I grew up in Davie County and benefited from a loving, supportive, and safe tight-knit community. I received a quality education from Davie County Schools and observed that there is a sense of pride unique to Davie County.
I have thought about running for county commissioner since I was in elementary school. I have always enjoyed politics, realizing that through political office I can do much to benefit our community and society as a whole.
As for timing, I am retired; I work part time at Clemmons Mill, and my daughter graduated in 2021 from college. I finally have time to dedicate to a job such as county commissioner. I am a task oriented coach at heart, and I like rebuilding things that need rebuilding, and improving things that can become even better. After being away from the professional world, I have had time to reflect and make the decision that now is the time to get involved, contribute, and make a difference.
What do you think the most significant challenges facing the county, and how do you intend to address those challenges?
Shoaf: The most significant challenges facing Davie County are directly related to the vision statement found on the county website: “Davie County is a prosperous and dynamic organization committed to building a sustainable future for generations, while celebrating the County’s rural heritage and enhancing its quality of life.” Davie County’s most significant challenges are handling current and future residential growth and continuing to increase economic development.
Residential growth adds pressure to the existing infrastructure and impacts professional (paid) and volunteer services, which are vital to the citizens of our county. There is a direct relationship between residential growth and the demand for services. Residential growth also affects our quality of life and the rural heritage we celebrate. Without proper planning, how will Davie County, as we know it, be sustainable for future generations?
Economic Development can assist with job growth, a higher standard of living, and an increased tax base. Commercial and industrial development can fuel our economy by providing jobs where our citizens live while simultaneously providing revenues to pay for infrastructure enhancements and services provided to our citizens.
To address residential growth, policies must be put in place and adhered to. We can’t stop growth, nor should we. However, we simply need to be smarter, more deliberate, and more consistent as we grow. High density growth needs to be limited to the town centers and should not encroach on traditionally rural segments just because they are located on US or NC highway corridors where water and sewer may be accessible. Encouraging high density growth will certainly have serious consequences.
As a board, we need to work closely with Economic Development, to seek and recruit businesses and industries that provide jobs that pay at and above the median income levels of the county. Businesses that have a track record of being good corporate citizens, who are driven and invested in making their new community a better place to live. We can achieve this goal by finding sites with adequate acreage and ensuring that ample infrastructure is in place. Both residential growth and economic development should be well-planned so that there is a definite balance in the growth patterns of our county.
What are the top qualities that should be considered for a county manager? What salary range should Davie County pay its manager?
Shoaf: The top qualities necessary in a county manager are experience, leadership abilities, communication and diplomacy skills, and possession of a true servant’s heart. A candidate needs to have experience dealing with economic development and strategic planning, along with experience dealing with both regional and state entities.
Proven demonstrated leadership abilities must also be apparent when considering a candidate for county manager. Resumes are telling, but a candidate that is truly a good leader should exude this trait with leadership charisma. Communication skills have become such a cliche; however, a candidate must be able to effectively communicate a vision and objective clearly. The candidate needs to have a track record of demonstrating fairness, consistency and transparency.
Diplomacy is a necessary skill when dealing with the board, the staff, and the community. There must be a proper balance on how to successfully handle issues amongst these dynamic groups. The candidate needs to know when to lead the board and when to be led by the board; when to lead the staff and when to listen and yield to the staff; when to take input from the community and when to move forward for the greater good.
Finally, the candidate needs to possess a servant’s heart. County employees are vital to achieving the best county services possible. County government is essentially a service provider. A candidate who can
demonstrate leadership with a servant’s heart will be passionate about inspiring and advocating for all county employees. This will lead to a higher degree of employee satisfaction, which will lead to higher morale and ultimately better service for the citizens of Davie County.
When determining proper compensation, the salary for a county manager needs to be commensurate with past work experience and achievement, rather than getting caught up in a salary range.
Shoaf: I grew up in the small community of Bixby in a typical Davie County family during the 1960s through the early 1980s. I attended Shady Grove Elementary, which was such an idyllic experience for those of us growing up during that time. I graduated from Davie County High School and four years later graduated from college and embarked on my career.
My entire career has been as a public servant. I was blessed to have spent 11.5 years as a public school educator. Being a teacher, school counselor, and coach taught me how to communicate with people from all backgrounds of life. It taught me how to work together as a team for a common goal; taught me the importance of every individual, and taught me that much happiness and pride can be gained from intangible success.
After my career in education, I was elected to five consecutive terms as your Register of Deeds. While Register of Deeds, my staff and I faced unprecedented technological challenges as we took our office from a completely paper based office with only a computer to create a paper index, to an office that was filing documents electronically in 2017. This transition was made easier because of the fine care given to your records by all of my predecessors and their respective staff. My staff and I digitized all land records and indexes back to 1836; digitized all vital records and vita land indexes back to 1913. We also added computer search capability within the office as well as on the internet. Furthermore, technology improvements allowed for our data to be shared directly with other county departments. Through the use of technology, the Register of Deeds Office delivers essentially the same statutory services it has always offered. It has done so with the same size staff, which is currently four that it had in 1979. Given the growth of our county, this is an accomplishment of which I am very proud. Furthermore, during my tenure as Register of Deeds our office provided approximately 2 million dollars of net revenue to the county after all office expenditures. Finally, our office always prided itself on giving impeccable customer service; we knew that we were there to serve all the citizens of Davie County as well as any other customer requiring services from our office.
My platform is fairly simple. I want to be a servant for Davie County; I have no hidden agenda. I care about the county and want to make it a better place. I want to be a conservative independent ear and voice for the citizens of Davie County. I will support Davie County Schools in a pursuit of excellence. I will support policies which allow Davie County to grow while maintaining its rural character. I will support the recruitment of industry and business which positively affects the standard of living in Davie County. I will support county employees so that Davie County maintains/retains the most professional workforce possible.
I will be an advocate for all citizens of Davie County.