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10 to Watch: Jim Sides

Rowan County Commissioner Jim Sides is back with a New Year’s resolution to get things done for the county — and to keep it, he’s willing to change his approach.
“I’m not going to be Commissioner ‘No’ like I was known in the ’80s as being,” Sides said. “I hope to have a very fruitful term over the next four years and that we can do some really positive things for the county.”
When Sides was on the Board of Commissioners from 1980-84 and from 2004-08, he expressed his opinions strongly and often cast dissenting votes on issues like budget increases and incentives.
In an interview Wednesday, though, he said the way he promoted his ideas through “sensationalized” media coverage has kept him from getting enough votes for them. He said he’ll always stay true to his principles and beliefs, but he wants to try a different approach to find common ground with other commissioners.
“Don’t get me wrong, I won’t run from a fight,” he said. “I’m just not going to look for one, either.”
Sides said he isn’t having any trouble adjusting to being back in county government.
“In the last two years, when I was off the board, I attended more meetings than some of the commissioners did,” he said.
Commissioner Chad Mitchell, newly named chairman of the board, said he and Sides know how to work alongside each other after serving together for four years.
“When he believes something should happen a certain way, he goes after that,” Mitchell said. “Certainly, I think that he will be a force in the county as far as trying to accomplish conservative ideals.”
— Karissa Minn
Name: Jim Sides
Age: 62
Occupation: Rowan County Commissioner and owner of Todays Trading Company.
Reason to watch: Known for his strong opinions and dissenting votes, Sides is back on the Board of Commissioners after a two-year hiatus and ready to pick up where he left off.
Favorite book: “Right now, I’m reading books by Glenn Beck and Michael Savage, but my favorite book is the Bible.”
Most surprising song or artist in your music collection:
“I don’t have one. I?listen to Christian music. … I?love good gospel music.”
Who you will watch in 2011 and why: “The first one I’d like to see gone is (President Barack) Obama. I guess we’re all watching him.”
Reaction to making the list: “You gotta be desperate. It will be real interesting to see if you’ve wasted your time.”

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