Election 2009: Aubrey Junker runs for Cleveland mayor

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 21, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
CLEVELAND ó There was a time when Aubrey H. Junker Jr. didn’t know Cleveland, N.C., existed.
Today, he loves it so much he’s running for mayor. “I had a couple of people to encourage me to run,” he said, “and I just decided it was a good time to get more involved in the community.”
In his first bid for public office, Junker, 50, of 120 Myers St. will face John I. Steele Jr., who is completing his eighth term on the Cleveland Board of Commissioners, in the November mayoral race. Jim Brown, who has served as mayor for the last 14 years, did not file for re-election.
An independent business consultant, Junker welcomes the opportunity to give back to the town. “There are a lot of really good people in the area that want to do the right thing,” he said.
Junker, his wife, Jo-Amber, and their children, 21-year-old Matthew and 17-year-old Catherine, have lived in Cleveland two separate times for a total of 10 years. “It’s a good place to raise a family,” he said. “That’s why we moved back.”
Matthew is a student at NASCAR Tech in Mooresville, and Catherine attends Clearview Christian Academy in Cleveland, where Jo-Amber Junker is a teacher.
Before the academy was expanded to include high school grades, the Junkers moved to Concord for three years so their children could attend Covenant Classical School, which Jo-Amber helped start and where she taught for 10 years.
A native of Concord, Aubrey Junker graduated from Concord High School and went on to earn degrees in business and economics from Pfeiffer College.
It wasn’t until he accepted a job with Lowe’s when its headquarters was in Wilkesboro that Junker heard about Cleveland. He and his wife didn’t want to move all the way to Wilkes County, so they started looking for a house in Statesville.
When they told a real estate agent what kind of house they were looking for, Junker said the agent said there was one in Cleveland they might like. “I said, ‘Where is that?’ ” he recalled.
The Junkers went to look at the house and ended up buying it. They attend Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cleveland, where Aubrey serves on the Budget and Finance Committee. “We love our church,” he said.
He also chairs the board for the Clearview Christian Academy, which is sponsored by the church.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.