Frank Aikmus shared parting words in what he described as the autumn of his political tenure with Union County. His second term with the Union County Board of Commissioners came to a close on Nov. 17.
“When I was approached in 2011 and asked to run for commissioner, I never thought it would be as fulfilling and rewarding as I have found it to be,” Aikmus said, thanking his wife, employer and others for their support over the years.
He said holding office in Union County is no different than it is elsewhere.
“Many good things are accomplished – some folks are satisfied, some are happy and yet others are completely disgusted by any action taken,” Aikmus said.”In every decision I made, there was one factor that weighed on every vote that I cast: what is in the best interest of Union County.”
N.C. Sen. Todd Johnson was among two residents thanking Aikmus for his leadership and friendship during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Aikmus credited the staff at Union County as professional. His time with them was productive while trying at times, though always focused on moving forward and ensuring every citizen was represented fairly, he said.
Commissioner Richard Helms commended Aikmus for his professionalism while County Manager Mark Watson and staff inducted him as a charter member of the Order of the Heelsplitter.
Commissioner Jerry Simpson evoked “Turn! Turn! Turn!” a song by the folk rock group The Byrds in emotional remarks.
“Tonight is a time for both sadness at the end of a board that has worked so well together but also a celebration for the service and commitment to Union County given by Commissioner Frank Aikmus over the last eight years,” Simpson said. “I can say without a doubt that Frank has had an honest devotion to the growth and prosperity of our county and has served unselfishly.”
Aikmus said he wouldn’t do anything different. He cast votes based on the facts as he knew them and after careful consideration.
“My votes were not political in nature but rather grounded in doing what I believe was best for this county,” he said.
Aikmus campaigned for a third term on the commission, but he was edged out by political newcomer David Williams in the Republican primary in March. Williams went on to get elected this month. He’ll likely join the board next month.
“I want to implore voters to learn about local candidates and be an informed voter,” Aikmus said. “As Plato said, ‘One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.’ I depart with a clean conscious knowing I served you well and in doing so was true to who I am.”