Brinkley, Barnhardt face off on ballot for Granite Quarry mayor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 2, 2021

GRANITE QUARRY — Newcomer Brittany Barnhardt and former alderman Mike Brinkley are on the ballot in 2021 to be Granite Quarry’s next mayor and replace Bill Feather, who did not file for reelection.

Barnhardt, 35, was born in Salisbury, and her family owns Honeycutt Real Estate. Out of college, she worked as a paramedic with Rowan County EMS and for Novant Health. She volunteered with Rowan County Rescue Squad for several years and carried certifications with that organization.

Brinkley, 69, is a familiar face to long-time residents of the town. The Granite Quarry native owns and runs W.F. Brinkley and Son Construction Company. He served 14 years total on the town’s Board of Aldermen, most recently from 2013 to 2017.

He ran for a seat on that board in 2019 but did not secure one of the two seats, which went to incumbents Jim Constantino and Doug Shelton, respectively. Jim LaFevers also ran for a seat and was unsuccessful. He also served with the town’s fire department from 1975 to 2000, and as fire chief from 1988 to 1995.

This is Barnhardt’s first time running, but she has been interested in seeking public office for a few years. She decided to hold off and focus on her family while she had young kids at home. In the meantime she has been getting involved with local organizations throughout Rowan County. Currently she serves on Zoning Board of Adjustment and Revitalization committees with the town as well as the fire department’s auxiliary executive board.

Now her sons are in school full time and she feels it is the right time to jump in.

Barhardt said she is running because she wants to get more involved in the community and work for a bright future for its next generation.

“I would like to focus on parks improvement, infrastructure growth, downtown development and improved tourism,” Barnhardt said.

Brinkley said he is running to offer his experience in town government, hoping to continue work started by the Board of Aldermen. Specifically he credits Feather for leading the drive to acquire the land for the Granite Quarry Industrial Park and thinks there is more work to be done on the project by the town.

Barnhardt also credited the current Board of Aldermen for improving town policies and staffing, noting turnover is down and morale has improved.

“I want to see that to continue to grow and for just that overall positive morale to spread throughout the community as well,” Barnhardt said.

Barnhardt said she wants to see the town’s park master plan process prosper to give town staff and committees direction on improving the town’s parks. The parks were one of the factors that attracted her family to the town years ago and she wants to improve tourism to other areas of the town, including downtown improvements.

Brinkley said he is concerned about recent spending as the town grows.

He pointed to the recent additions to its town hall, saying the project should have been financed at historically low rates and there is still work to be done on the building. He thinks it is the job of the aldermen to watch money the town spends.

Brinkley said he wants to see the mayor and board move involved in running the town as well as improvements to town parks, more engagement with the concerns of local businesses and opening a dialogue with Faith about the joint police authority.

Outside of his professional life Brinkley enjoys playing golf and spending time at the coast. He is married with two sons and five grandchildren.

Barnhardt is married and has two sons. Her family enjoys traveling and camping.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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