China Grove’s Lee Withers files for county commissioner

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2019

SALISBURY — Former China Grove Mayor Lee Withers has announced his candidacy for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

Filing ends at noon today. So, far, Withers is the only challenger to file against Republican incumbents Craig Pierce and Mike Caskey. And other than Withers, no local candidate has filed for office since early December

Withers, a 43-year-old Republican, served as China Grove mayor from 2015 until this year, when he was upset by Charles Seaford. Prior to mayor, Withers was a China Grove town councilman for eight years. Professionally, he’s owner and founder of the firm 3C’s Consulting, which he started in 2018 after 11 years as regional sales manager for Husqvarna.

In announcing his candidacy, Withers said he plans to focus on commissioners’ influence on the location of new schools, economic development projects and where plants are located, parks and recreation needs as well as quality of life issues in Rowan County. Withers said he’s not running to unseat an incumbent.

“My municipal experience gives me a wealth of knowledge of what is best for communities, such as whether economic development projects should, or shouldn’t be, inside city limits or whether a new school should be located inside or outside a municipality,” Withers said in a news release. “I am a county person and a municipal person as well. I am not just representing Southern Rowan. I want to represent all the towns and communities in Rowan County.”

Elaborating on schools, Withers said he plans to look at “what is best for the communities and towns as it relates to the community school.”

“The towns are built around the school. The school is an economic driver and hub to the town,” he said. “What’s best for the town? If the move decimates the town or community, that factor should be part of the conversation.”

In a news release about his candidacy, Withers said he led efforts in China Grove for construction of a pavilion at Hanna Park and helped create the town’s popular event Christmas in the Grove. Withers said he started a Mayor’s Youth Council and formed the China Grove Economic Development Commission for the town to shape and control growth.

He called the town’s addition of an events coordinator to the town’s staff “a defining moment” in his service to town. Withers said the events coordinator, Patti Price, “has put this town on the map.”

He’s a member of the Rowan Tourism Authority’s Live Original Marketing Committee. He has served as chair and vice chair of the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization, which prioritizes local transportation projects for state funding.

Withers and his wife Kelly, principal of South Rowan High School, have three children — Carson, 16, a junior at South Rowan High School, and twins Cailynn and Campbell, who are 12 and students at China Grove Middle School.

Withers is an Eagle Scout and attends First United Methodist Church in China Grove. He’s president-elect of the China Grove Rotary Club, a member of the Crosby Scholars Board of Directors and the Rowan County Young Life Committee.

His father is Roger Withers, who served three terms on the China Grove Board of Aldermen in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.