Puckett challenges Swain for Huntersville seat

 

“New” isn’t a word Jim Puckett uses to describe his relationship with Huntersville or to politics.

Puckett is, however, a newcomer to running for mayor. His July 17 filing to compete with Jill Swain – who is seeking her fourth straight election to the position – was a surprise to many, including those close to him.

“I hadn’t decided to do it for sure until (the day I filed),” said Puckett, a 56-year-old Republican who served as a Mecklenburg County Commissioner from 2000 to 2006 and a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education member from 1997 to 2000.

“My wife persuaded me to do it. The people of North Mecklenburg afforded me a great opportunity to serve them for a decade and pile up a wealth of experience and skills,” he added. “I am more than happy to share that.”

Puckett, the owner of Electro Painters and Ceiling Pro of the Carolinas, hasn’t run for elected office since 2006. Puckett said voters should be able to see a difference in resumes between him and Swain.

“I realized I have a specific skill set (as a politician), and the citizens of Huntersville can decide whether those skills are needed or not needed,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of experience in working in politics and business.”

Swain said her campaign won’t be affected by Puckett’s candidacy. She’s never run unopposed in a mayoral election.

“I understand why somebody would want to represent Huntersville,” she said. “Our successes (as a town), I think, have been progressing so well that it was a surprise somebody would run in the midst of that.”

Some highlights of Swain’s work in her current term include courting Chinese businesses to relocate to Huntersville, promoting physical well-being with the Healthy Huntersville initiative and serving as vice chair for the N.C. Metro Mayors Coalition.

Puckett admitted his vision for what he wants the town to be might differ from his opponent.

“What I really want to see out of Huntersville is more of a connection with Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and other surrounding areas,” he said. “I see us being the next big suburb of Charlotte and not entirely in a good way. I would rather we keep some of the small-town things about us that made Huntersville great in the first place.”