Aikmus and Helms address Republican Women’s Club
In preparation for the North Carolina primary election, May 8, the Sweet Union Republican Women’s Club hosted an evening featuring both candidates for Union County commission. Frank Aikmus and Richard Helms addressed a crowd of several dozen Tuesday evening, Feb. 28, at the club’s monthly meeting at Golden Corral in Monroe.
Aikmus was the first candidate to speak, describing himself as a “strong fiscal and social conservative” that has been active in the Republican Party for the past several years. He serves on the planning boards for Waxhaw and Union County. He also was appointed by the N.C. Senate to serve on the North Carolina Debt Affordability and Advisory Committee.
After joking about politicians having strong campaigns but poorly serving the people after being elected, Aikmus vowed to make his walk match his talk.
“I will be the same person today campaigning that I will be if I’m elected,” he said. “It’s not gonna change.”
Aikmus mentioned four main issues he would work to fix if in office: lowering taxes, reducing the size of the government, protecting personal property rights and promoting the idea of personal responsibility. He criticized the government for its wasteful spending and vowed to eliminate such spending if elected.
He referenced a comment in a budget workshop study presentation, which said the human services budget needed to be increased by more than $3 million to reduce the 40-minute wait times for those receiving these services.
“I understand the economy’s been brutal,” Aikmus said. “It’s been tough. But I don’t quite understand why in the world we would spend $3 million to reduce the wait times for folks waiting on a helping hand. They need the help. We’re offering the help. I don’t think it’s too far fetched to expect somebody to wait.”
Aikmus also chastised the same budget workshop for stating the county needs to spend $64 million to expand its jail because of overcrowding.
“Before I’ll lose any sleep over a prisoner sleeping on the floor, I’m probably going to look and see if we can’t take some of that money and hire (district attorney Trey) Robison an additional assistant district attorney to get some of these people processed and out the door,” he said.
Candidate Richard Helms followed Aikmus. Helms, a Union County native whose family has lived in the county since the late 1700s. He has been in management positions since 1980, most recently serving as a representative on Carolina’s Medical Center’s trustee council.
One of Helms’ main positions was supporting the CMC Union hospital, and he was proud to have participated in the hospital’s lease renewal.
“The previous majority on the board was hell-bent on selling the hospital,” Helms said. “I can tell you, as one of your county commissioners, I will not support selling that hospital. The new Waxhaw clinic has opened because we’ve got a new lease.”
Helms elaborated on his support for CMC Union by explaining the hospital has been recognized nationally as one of the top hospitals in the country, receiving a 5-star rating for emergency care. “That’s important to us, and we need to keep our hospital,” he said.
Helms also took a strong stance on education, stating it is one of the most important responsibilities of the government. He was passionate about shifting the focus away from administration and bureaucracy so teachers and students can be better served.
“We need to funnel these savings that we can generate back into the classroom,” Helms said. “That’s important that we focus and give these children what they need because they are our future.”
He also criticized the recent budgeting changes that raised the salaries of two assistant superintendents.
“You hear about teachers having to go out and by their supplies,” he said. “Kind of a touchy subject, but we all saw the papers recently where a couple of superintendents got nice raises. They already made six-figure salaries. That $23,000 would have provided a lot of supplies for our students and teachers.”
Helms promised, if elected as commissioner, he would spend time in the school system to learn what the needs are and understand those needs. “As your county commissioner, I want to practice what I preach,” he said.
For more information on the candidates, visit www.electaikmus.com or www.electrichardhelms.com.