Chamber recognizes elected officials

Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer

January 19, 2013

Refusing to be intimidated by inclement weather, the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce held its ‘Elected Officials Reception’ on Thursday, January 17 at the Cedarbrook Country Club.

Laurette Leagon, President/CEO of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce. thanked the members for attending and honoring the newly elected officials for the North Carolina Senate, House of Representatives, Surry County Register of Deeds, Surry County and Yadkin County Board of Commissioners.

However, absent were N.C. Senator Shirley Randleman, N.C. Senator Pete Brunstetter, N.C. Representative Sarah Stevens, N.C. Representative Mark Hollo, Surry County Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer, and Yadkin County Commissioners Kevin Austin and David Moxley.

Throughout the day, Leagon toyed with the possibility of rescheduling the venue, but stated to The Tribune that getting all of these important elected officials to clear a future date is “not easy.”

The plan for Leagon was to modify the program to begin a bit earlier, thus providing those visiting a chance to depart earlier in the evening with ample time to get home to avoid the weather-related issues, she told The Tribune.

Honorees in attendance were Surry County Commissioner Paul Johnson who proudly boasted he drove in from Westfield. Newcomer Commissioner Larry Phillips provided remarks thanking residents for giving him a shot at serving. Yadkin County Commissioner Marion Welborn was present.

Other notables who made the meeting included Becky Brendle, Surry County Clerk of Court, Mayor of Ronda Victor Varela, Town of Dobson Commissions Wayne Atkins, Lana Brendle, Odd Dockery, John Lawson and Robin Testerman.

Leagon credited the 2013 Chamber Champions for making this event possible; Yadkin Valley Bank, CenturyLink, G&B Energy, Weyerhaeuser, Duke Energy, Bayada Home Health, Wells Fargo, Frontier Natural Gas, Workforce Carolina, BB&T, Basin Creek Realty, LifeStore Insurance, Mountain Valley Hospice, Century 21 Hudspeth Properties, Mazzini’s Family Italian Restaurant, CMS Insurance, Garanco General Contractors, Yadtel Group and Sedgewick Homes. Let’s also give a round of applause for Zim Zimmerman and his staff here at Cedarbrook Country Club.

The highlight of the evening was a keynote-like speech from the chamber’s chairman, Dr. Randy Bledsoe who’s also the superintendent of Elkin City Schools.

“Our Chamber recognizes its role to serve as the ‘voice of the business community’ in matters of public policy, and providing a forum for dialogue on current issues affecting local businesses,” said Dr. Bledsoe. “The Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce is committed to continuing cooperation between the public sector and the private sector.”

Dr. Bledsoe reminded attendees that the state legislators have some hard decisions to make in the coming session, especially in regard to the state budget. He encouraged them to maintain the various State-level reimbursements to local towns.

“Surry County, Yadkin County, Dobson, Elkin, Jonesville and Ronda’s elected and appointed officials are good stewards of the monies they received from the state,” said Dr. Bledsoe. “The Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce supports the preservation of these funds to the towns and counties. It would be unfair to our local businesses and residents for the State to balance its budget on the backs of our local governments. If they were to lose any of these funds, they would have to find a way locally to make up the gap, and in today’s economy, that would prove extremely difficult.”

Bledsoe said that North Carolina tourism generates $18 billion in direct visitor spending, keeps nearly 200,000 people employed, and generates $1 billon in state taxes that go to the general fund.

“There’s excitement and renewed energy in Surry and Yadkin Counties as we see new business come into our region, and this is of great benefit to our business community and local economy,” continued Bledsoe. “Surry County and Yadkin County have a Tier 2 designation, as provided by the N.C. Department of Commerce on the county’s economic well-being. And the County Commissioners of Yadkin and Surry Counties have done a tremendous job supporting business and job growth, and we, the Chamber of Commerce are here to assist and support the Yadkin Valley business community in any way possible to continue financial growth and economic stability.”

Bledsoe urged funding for the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor Program, just under $450,000 from the N.C. Rural Center, the Golden LEAF Foundation, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, The National Park Service Overmountain Victory Trail and NC Scenic Byways Grant have been invested in this program.

“And I’d like to highlight the program, which we now like to refer to as ‘GO Yadkin Valley’ as it has received $64,000 from our partners; Wilkes County, Wilkesboro, Tourism Partnership of Surry County, Yadkin County Tourism Development Authority, the Yadkin County Chamber, the Caldwell County Chamber, Caldwell County Pathways, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir.,” said Bledsoe. “I mention this because ongoing funding is needed for the implementation of a signage program, which will better inform local residents, travelers and visitors to the Yadkin Valley.”

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or email at agonzalez@civitasmedia.com.