Linda Hunt Williams said her primary goal as a Town Council member and residents has been to create opportunities for civic engagement.
As the first Holly Springs council member to win statewide legislative office, Williams leaves her colleagues with the task of appointing her replacement.
Williams resigned her seat at Holly Springs’ Dec. 20 meeting before she heads to Raleigh to begin serving District 37 as a member of the Republican caucus. She replaces Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam of Apex, a long-serving Republican who is stepping away from the General Assembly Jan. 1.
Fourteen residents have asked to be considered for Williams’ old seat, Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said. He said the applicants include current planning board members and residents who have made bids for a council seat in the past. Former council member Chet VanFossen also is on the list. He retired from the council in 2013, having served 12 years on the board during the town’s explosive growth.
Council members received the list of names in early December, Sears said.
On Jan. 3, each of the four remaining council members will nominated someone from the list. A runoff vote will be taken until at least three of the council members – ideally all four, Sears said – can agree on someone to replace Williams.
“Traditionally, it’s been someone from the planning board, but it doesn’t have to be,” Sears said. “There are just a lot of good people who are interested.”
Three of the 14 people interested in the seat are women, Sears said.
“That’s not important, the gender of a person that’s up there,” Williams said about whether she would like to see another woman replace her on the council.
“It would be nice if there was another woman, simply because women don’t run as often as men do,” she said. “But I think they need to choose the person with the qualifications to do the job, the one person who will blend well with the council.”
Before she was elected to the council, Williams said she had been involved “behind the scenes” in Holly Springs since arriving in town in 2001. Recalling how Holly Springs used to be a “crossroads of mostly poor people,” she said she plans to make economic opportunity and affordable housing priorities during her time in the state legislature.
“An economy is not truly successful unless the least in our community are also prospering,” Williams said. “It’s important to ensure that the economy is diverse and that the jobs are close to home.”
Sears said Williams would be missed in Town Hall.
“Linda Hunt Williams has done a very credible job in representing us in the council,” Sears said. “She did her homework. She voted how she felt and did so in the interests of the entire town.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan
These are the names of the 14 people under consideration for Linda Hunt Williams’ now-vacant seat. Next to each name is the candidate’s current or past affiliation with Holly Springs’ town government, if any. The council will select a new council member from this list in a Jan. 3 vote.
Ernie Carpico (a member of the Holly Springs Planning Board)
Rev. LaVerne Cofield
Thomas Hughes (a member of the Holly Springs Planning Board)
Matt Johnson (a member of the Holly Springs Planning Board)
Jay Marinko (a member of the Holly Springs Board of Adjustment)
Teshor Oates (previously ran for a seat on the Holly Springs Town Council)
Larry O’Neal (a member of the Holly Springs Board of Adjustment)
Peter Utley (previously ran for a seat on the Holly Springs Town Council)
Chet VanFossen (former Holly Springs councilman)
Peter Villadsen (a member of the Holly Springs Planning Board)
Baxter Walker (member of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors)