ELECTION 2017: Curtis Brown wants to watch taxpayers dollars closely
Murphy – Curtis Brown knows about leadership.
Brown moved here 41 years ago as manager of the Emerson Electric plant in Peachtree. His specialty with the company was turning around underperforming plants and making them successful.
In his retirement, the former Marine has his sights set on leading Murphy into the next decade as its mayor. Brown is the only Democratic candidate for mayor, and he will face Republican nominee Rick Ramsey on Nov. 7.
Brown’s three children went to school in Murphy, as his grandchildren do today. While he has worked around the world, he always has loved this community.
“Murphy has a strong sense of purpose, especially the people who have lived here their whole lives,” Brown said. “People here have a strong sense of family. They take care of each other.”
The former Cherokee County commission candidate stressed fiscal responsibility as part of his platform. When he ran for office previously, he was the only Democrat in North Carolina endorsed by the county’s conservative 9/12 Chapter.
“Some of our people are on a fixed income and barely getting by,” Brown said. “We should treat every taxpayer dollar as if it came out of our pocket. Don’t spend the taxpayers’ money unless it’s totally necessary.”
Brown said he supports infrastructure updates. He also would like to see a plan to upgrade the entire water and sewer system, since some of the lines are a century old.
Economic development has been a big topic in the race to succeed longtime Mayor Bill Hughes.
“The Art Walk was a good start, and we need to look for more things like that,” Brown said. “Blue Ridge, Ga., does a heck of a job, and I think we can learn from them. I think we need a strong merchants association that can come up with some good ideas to revitalize the town and bring more people in.”
Hughes has long fought for excursion trains to return to town, which would cost millions of dollars.
“The train in Blue Ridge brings a lot of people to town,” Brown said. “It would be a good thing for recreational purposes. Right now, it may have to be partial grant and partial private investors to make it happen. It would be a great part of economic development. If it happens, someone is going to have to see a way to make money on it.”
Brown stressed the importance of the next mayor fighting for local residents to be able to feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods.
“We have a major illegal drug problem, and I think our police are doing a great job, but the judicial system is not,” he said. “We need to keep our neighborhoods safe and drug free. A bunch of mayors may have to get together, and put pressure on the judges and prosecutors. There have been people caught a dozen times who are back on the street before the sun goes down.”