What Tom Blanton likes most about Caldwell County is his wife, who is a native of Sawmills. But he also admires how warm-hearted and hard-working the folks around here are.
For Blanton, 2018 marks his 22nd year of calling Caldwell County home. It is also the year he runs for County Commissioner. To Blanton’s way of thinking, “It has been too many years since a Democrat ran for County Commissioner here. I felt it was time to step up.”
Gail Ramsdell, Blanton’s campaign manager and a retired Caldwell County school teacher, said Blanton is interested in fixing a number of issues that face our local community.
“Tom is a very thoughtful person who seems to look at all sides of issues,” added Ramsdell. “Tom has a vision, and his is a better quality of life with well-paying jobs for now and the future.”
Ramsdell’s sentiments are echoed by Teena McRary, a retiree of Caldwell County Community College and Technical Institute, who attends the First United Methodist Church in Granite Falls with Blanton. “I have know Tom for many years. He is an honest, trustworthy, caring man,” she said.
“Being truthful and sincere are such important qualities for a politician in these times of lies and self-serving behavior. He has my vote because I trust him to do what is best for the people.”
Blanton grew up on a dairy farm in Rutherford County, North Carolina. He was raised in a Democratic home and as a teenager followed both the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy and the gubernatorial campaign of Terry Sanford. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Blanton studied political science with an eye toward law school but ultimately felt led to attend Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary instead.
Blanton’s interest in politics has never fallen by the wayside, though. Neither has his love for learning: along the way he also picked up a second master’s from Appalachian State in library and media studies, specializing in audio-visual production.
In addition to his current roles as an adjunct professor of religion at Gardner-Webb University and a teacher of his Sunday School class, Blanton wants to work as a commissioner on bringing better jobs to the county, training students for 21st century jobs, and pushing jobs in clean energy. “We need more jobs in those higher paying categories,” he said. “I believe our citizens want better jobs, too. Jobs that will utilize the skills they already have.”
Blanton is also interested in getting Caldwell County involved in a number of Governor Cooper’s initiatives, turning the remains of the hazardous waste incinerator into a Superfund site, and ending the opioid crisis in our region.
Ending strife between the County Commissioners and the Department of Social Services is one more priority for Blanton, who feels strongly about giving DSS the support it needs.
“I think voters are looking for a candidate who will listen to them and pay attention to their concerns,” Blanton said.
“I care what our people want from their county government, and I want to stay flexible as the county’s needs change in the future.”
To learn more about Tom Blanton and his campaign for County Commissioner, visit his Facebook page, Thomas Blanton for County Commissioner (https://www.facebook.com/blanton4caldwell/).