Political newcomers Margo Bills and Scott Lassiter made their candidacies official Monday by filing with the Wake County Board of Elections.
Incumbents Mike Jones and Gene Schulze both told The Apex Herald they will seek reelection. Incumbent Bill Sutton could not be reached for comment.
Candidates have until noon on Friday, July 17 to file for the Nov. 3 election.
Bills, who owns Taxes and More in Apex, has been involved in the community since moving here in 1996 but never considered entering politics until recently.
Interest in the town’s future led her into the political ring.
“If you asked me about running three years ago I would have said you were nuts,” said Bills. “Politics is so not me. But I love Apex and I’m concerned about the future of the town.”
Bills said she wants to make sure Apex leaders don’t make the same planning mistakes made by officials in the Binghamton, NY area where she grew up.
“Growth is coming and we have to plan for it,” said Bills. “I want smart growth that will be good for the future and not just now.
“I come from a dying area (in upstate New York) and I’ve seen the opposite side of growth and it’s not pretty. If we don’t plan correctly Apex will stagnate and die.”
Bills said her main issues of concern include the completion of the regional sewage plant, addressing traffic issues, and curtailing the amount of townhouses being built in Apex.
She also describes herself as being a detail-oriented person who is “business friendly.”
A founding member of the Apex Newcomers Club, Bills has held various positions with the Apex Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Apex Rotary Club. She is also involved with the Apex High School Academy of Information Technology Parent Team and Business Board and with various Charleston Village neighborhood committees.
Bills has been married to her high school sweetheart, Cliff, for 29 years. They have a daughter, Janelle, who lives in Kentucky and a son, Andrew, who is a senior at Apex High School.
Although just 22 years old, Lassiter already has three years of service on the Apex Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Commission.
The N.C. State University senior has been interested in politics for years and has kept informed on the many issues facing town leaders.
“Apex is my home and I’ve lived here my entire life,” said Lassiter. “I’ve always been committed to the community and (running for town council) just seems right.”
Lassiter said he doesn’t believe his youth should be an issue with voters.
“It’s really not an age thing,” said Lassiter. “I have plenty of experience. You really can’t question my experience or my commitment to Apex.”
Lassiter said his age might even prove beneficial since so many long-terms plans are being made for the town.
“Young people have just as much at stake as anyone else,” said Lassiter. “So many times you hear about something, such as the Veridea development, that won’t be completed for at least another 20 years.
“Well, I don’t plan on going anywhere and I should be here to see the results of that planning.”
Lassiter, who has been very involved in student politics at N.C. State, said he is interested in updating the town’s land use plan, improving Apex’s infrastructure, and maintaining the high quality of Apex schools.
Jones, an Apex native, is seeking his sixth term on council. He cited the massive Veridea development as one of the main reasons for running again.
“Veridea is a huge development with a lot of exciting potential,” said Jones. “But it also could have a lot of potential for negative consequences. I have 20 years invested (on council) and this development could change Apex. I would like to be involved in the planning of that development.”
A graduate of N.C. State University, Jones earned his MBA from Campbell University. He is the director of ambulatory facilities development at WakeMed.
Jones has been a member of the Apex Rotary Club since 1991 and was an 18-year member of the Apex Jaycees. The mayor pro tem has also been on the BB&T Local Advisory Board since 1991.
Jones and his wife, Celia, have two children and two grandchildren.
Schulze said he is seeking his third term on council because he feels so strongly about his town.
“It’s because of my love for Apex,” said Schulze. “It’s a wonderful town and a great place to live. The taxes are low and I think people are happy with the parks and recreation. I want to make sure it keeps moving in the right direction.”
Schulze, a native of upstate New York, graduated from State University of New York at Plattsburgh. He is a software development manager for FileONE, Inc.
A former volunteer firefighter and EMT, Schulze served on the town’s planning board, appearance commission and board of adjustment. He is also president of the Shepherd’s Vineyard Homeowner’s Association.
Schulze and his wife, Karen, have been married 20 years and have three daughters.