Former council member Lance Olive is the first person to officially announce his candidacy for Apex mayor, a seat that will be up for grabs in November.
Mayor Bill Sutton has said he doesn’t intend to run for the seat. Sutton, the former town manager, is finishing the four-year term he was appointed to in early 2014 after Keith Weatherly stepped down in 2013 to work as a lobbyist.
Filing officially for Apex and other Wake County municipalities opens in July. Olive announced his intent to run on Monday.
“There was no reason to wait,” Olive said, explaining why he announced his candidacy now.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
“When you know what you want to do, there’s no point like the present to start,” he said.
Olive served one term on the Town Council, from 2009 to 2013, but then chose not to seek reelection. Then, he said he had completed his master’s degree in business administration and wanted to devote more time to his wife, Cheryl.
They live in the Seagroves Farm neighborhood and are members of Apex Baptist Church. They have two adult children, Kerby and Shelby.
Olive said taking the past two years off from town government gave him a new perspective on issues facing Apex and the opinions of its citizens.
The 51-year-old has previously served on the town’s planning and zoning board. He said his government and business experience, combined with being a lifelong resident of Apex, make him the right fit for the job.
In Apex, the mayor does not vote on town matters but guides policy decisions and serves as the public face of the town.
Olive, a former engineer and manager at Cisco Systems, is now the business operations director for Better Boards, a small business in Cary that designs circuit boards.
He said he plans to make business growth a major emphasis of his campaign, and he wants the town to be more ambitious in encouraging development.
“One might be tempted to say, ‘Apex is good, don’t mess with it,’” Olive said.
But he disagrees, he said, and would advocate for change.
“I’ve seen the Town of Apex grow from a mere 3,000 people to now, we’re pushing 50,000 pretty soon,” Olive said. “And there’s a future for Apex I would like to help guide.”
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran