Election ’09: Steele runs for Cleveland mayor
By Kathy Chaffin
CLEVELAND ó After serving eight years on this town’s Board of Commissioners, John I. Steele Jr. is running for mayor.
Jim Brown, who has served as mayor for the last 14 years, did not file for re-election. Also running for mayor of Cleveland is Aubrey H. Junker Jr.
Steele, 66, of 204 Maple St. is retired, having served as a lieutenant colonel with the Air Force for 22 years and teaching at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro for six years.
He currently teaches masters level social work courses at Appalachian State University’s Hickory campus on a part-time basis and provides clinical social work consultation on a monthly basis to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Readjustment Clinic in Charlotte.
“As an individual born and raised in Cleveland,” Steele said, “I feel that I am in the best position to help the town and its citizens to continue to be a viable municipality. I know that I can successfully serve as a catalyst between town government and the citizens of Cleveland in such a way that would encourage citizen participation and governmental transparency and accountability.”
If elected mayor, Steele said his priorities would be “to maintain Cleveland’s sound financial status, to promote greater communication between the town board and citizens of Cleveland, to stress continued revitalization of Cleveland’s business community and overall improvement in the town’s infrastructure and to uphold Cleveland’s status as a progressive small town that adheres to traditional values while competently addressing current social, business and municipal issues.”
As a town commissioner, he is responsible for supervising Cleveland’s police and maintenance departments and serves on the board’s personnel committee and the town’s Park Committee. In addition, Steele served as coordinator for Cleveland’s twinning with the northern Ireland town of Killyleagh in March 2008.
A graduate of West Rowan High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn.; a master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.; and a doctorate of social work from the National Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Steele is a member of Third Creek Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, where he is active in congregational activities and has served for 13 years as elder.
He and his wife, Joy, have five children and four grandchildren.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.