• Huntersville Mayor

Mayor Jill Swain will be running against challenger Jim Puckett.

Jim Puckett

• Age: 56

• Family: Wife Jo Ellen and children Elizabeth and Katherine.

• Political Experience: Mecklenburg County Board of Education, 1997-2000; and Mecklenburg County Commissioner, 2000-2006.

• Education: Business degree from UNC Charlotte.  

• Job: Owner of Electro Painters

• Reason for running: I think Huntersville is in need of someone with more political experience and greater governmental management skill sets. I also see Huntersville looking more like Charlotte, and I don’t know if that’s the path we want to take.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? The biggest issue is really how we can maintain a solid budget as we grow to have 50,000 people in town. We need people with more government experience and business experience to help manage Huntersville’s future.


Jill Swain

• Age: 52

• Family: Husband Dan and two children.

• Political Experience: Huntersville commissioner, 1999-2007; Huntersville mayor, 2007-present, and vice chairwoman of the Metro Mayors Coalition

• Education: Journalism and mass communications degree from Kansas State University.

• Job: Marketing consultant.

• Reason for running: I love my job. I love being mayor. I believe in public service. There are some initiatives that I’ve been part of, like building relationships with businesses in China and other countries, Huntersville Connection, Community of Huntersville Education Collaborative, and Healthy Huntersville, that I’d like to see progress.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? Restoring faith in elected officials. I’ve been the proud mayor of a non-partisan board. I firmly believe in that concept, and I hope this town board can continue to show people why their interest in voting is so important that no matter what the party is, we can get things done.”

Huntersville Board of Commissioners

Residents will choose among 10 candidates for six available seats. Candidates Melinda Bales and Charles Guignard could not be reached for comment.

Lawrence Brinson

• Age: 43

• Family: Wife Patricia and children Kai, Deity and Kiera.

• Political Experience: None.

• Education: Economics and education, Johnson C. Smith University.

• Job: Social studies teacher at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

• Reason for running: Having worked as an educator and involved in numerous civic activities, my family and I now feel that the time has come for me to seek elected office.

• What’s the biggest issue you’d like to tackle? I want to bring fresh ideas and positive solutions to the town of Huntersville.


Franklin Freeman

• Age: 44

• Family: Wife Lissette and children, Joshua, Danielle, Alexis, Darius, Sebastien.

• Political Experience: Huntersville Planning Board, Mecklenburg County Small Business and Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, Republican National Hispanic Assembly-North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

• Education: Management Information Systems, University of Maryland.

• Job: Owner and co-founder of Synergie Professional Solutions.

• Reason for running: I believe in the economic development of Huntersville and its impact on the larger Charlotte region. It is estimated that over 2 million people will be coming to our region over the next 20 years or so, and Huntersville has the kind of quality of life that many folks will be looking for. As a disabled veteran, I understand public service very well and have over 20 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience with strategic planning, organizational development and management and professional services that could be utilized in making sure that Huntersville can sustain this coming growth.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? I believe that transportation is going to be a major issue in bringing new businesses to our town and in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs in thriving with the growth of Huntersville.  With the I-77 HOT lane issue looming, we have taken focus off of our east-west connectors that would alleviate some of that traffic, but would help drive customers to small businesses and bring larger companies looking for skilled workers who have moved their families to our beautiful town.

Ron Julian

• Age: 52

• Family: Wife Teresa and children Shane and Melissa.

• Political Experience: Huntersville commissioner, 2007-present; and Huntersville Board of Adjustments, 2002-2007.

• Education: Nuclear engineering technology, University of the State of New York.

• Job: Property manager, developer and entrepreneur.

• Reason for running: I have a vision for Huntersville to make it one of the best places to live in the Southeast. That includes good tax rates, amenities and roads. I want to keep Huntersville strong.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? The state and federal governments don’t have the money to fix Huntersville’s roads. It’s imperative we come up with ways to fix our roads. The methods I have in mind are holding new developers accountable for adding traffic but also working on infrastructure to hold traffic, as well as through grants and making sure the Department of Transportation does its fair share for our area.

Rob Kidwell

• Age: 38

• Family: Wife Kristin.

• Political Experience: Campaign manager, appointed to Mecklenburg County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Authority.

• Education: Psychology, Pittsburg State University.

• Job: Production manager for SATO America.

• Reason for running: I think it’s time we get some new people running. I love Huntersville, and I’d like to see it continue to have that small-town feel while still growing.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? I would like to see more small businesses attracted to our area. There are some open storefronts in Huntersville. I’ll work with the town and businesses to get them established so they can bring revenue to our area. The current board and Mayor Jill Swain have done a great job bringing manufacturing to our area. We should also keep a focus on those small businesses.


Sarah McAulay

• Age: 73

• Family: Single.

• Political Experience: Huntersville mayor, 1979-1989 and 1989-1991; and Huntersville commissioner, 2001-present.

• Education: Economics, UNC Greensboro.

• Job: Retired after working in finance.

• Reason for running: I like to represent the people, and I have the experience with Huntersville government and the region. I’m interested in continuing the overall growth of Huntersville, growth being continuing to have the kind of community people want to live in.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? The big issue, I think, is transportation. I’d like to see the rail line, and I’d like to see roads in and around our residential communities improved. As far as economic growth, I’d like to see the kind of residential and economic development that the citizens deserve.

Jeff Neely

• Age: 65

• Family: Wife Ginny and daughters Angela and Kristina

• Political Experience: Huntersville commissioner, 2013; and Huntersville Planning Board, 2008-2012.

• Education: Education, Miami Dade College.

• Job: Retail management consultant.

• Reason for running: When I look at the population growth of Huntersville over the last 10 years, and the 10 before that, it amazes me and I want to help continue it. My goal is to make sure we adhere to the 2030 Community Plan, which I worked on, and to make sure we continue to bring businesses to the town.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? It’s about infrastructure, roads and transportation. People who live here know that at the heart of every decision that is made, the thought is, ‘What effect does this have on our roads and infrastructure?’ We have tough decisions to make in the next 10 years. We’ve still got to follow the 2030 plan. It’s our roadmap.

Danny Phillips

• Age: 51

• Family: Wife Madeline and children Stacy and Jonathan.

• Political Experience: Huntersville commissioner, 2011-present.

• Education: North Mecklenburg High graduate.

• Job: Owner of Old Store Produce and Hubbard Farm.

• Reason for running: I feel like there are several small issues in Huntersville that I can help solve in another term. I’m still the most fiscally conservative person on the board. I bring a common-sense type of background. I look at things realistically.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? It’s got to be our road system. We seem to have plenty of north-south connectors in town, but not as many east-west connectors. I’ve lobbied in Raleigh for us to get better roads, and now we’re starting to see some repaves and some work being done.

Nick Walsh

• Age: 55

• Family: Wife Sandi and children Erin and Nick III.

• Political Experience: President of the Wynfield Homeowners Association Board of Directors.

• Education: St. Petersburg College.

• Job: Major account executive for Ricoh.

• Reason for running: I am a 20-year resident of Huntersville. This is an opportunity to use my empirical perspective from these past years to help provide future direction as part of a team with the other elected officials and staff. I believe my contributions will continue to infuse vitality and new ideas into our community. This is also a chance for me to give something back to a community that I have been so blessed to be a part of.

• Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? Huntersville is a magnificent community which continues to attract those from outside our area. Traffic has been and will continue to be a major challenge for Huntersville and the surrounding areas. I would like to carry on a controlled pro-growth agenda, which provides ongoing multifaceted opportunities for all segments of our community. This should be done while integrating creative traffic solutions to offset the ever-increasing loads on our roads and infrastructure.

Melinda Bales

• Age: 43

• Family: Husband John, and children Joshua and Jonathan.

• Political Experience: Town commissioner, 2011-present.

• Education: Business management, East Tennessee State University.

• Job: Stay-at-home mom.

• Reason for running: I want to continue to look at the same issues we’ve focused on: Economic development, continuing growth, keeping our tax base diverse and addressing roads and our local schools.

Biggest issue you’d like to tackle? Our road infrastructure is important. As Huntersville grows, we have to continue to address our infrastructure and keep up our roads.