Gene Houpe announced Sunday that he was withdrawing his name for consideration for the open Register of Deeds position in Iredell County.
"The outpouring of people calling me elected officials and citizens from the county asking me to stay, I just feel like that the people trusted me and elected me to do this county commission job and look out for their families," Houpe said. "And with all the important issues we're facing in the county with COVID, economic development, and the massive growth that we're experiencing, I just feel obligated to continue in this role as a county commissioner right now.
"I feel like that the voters will decide that position (Register of Deeds) in two years permanently, but I really appreciated and I was humbled by the outpouring of support and people asking me to stay in my role as a county of commission. They felt like my experience on that board mattered."
That leaves five names, Joyce R. Bess, the assistant Register of Deeds currently holds the position in an interim capacity, Martin Gotholm, Doug Holland, Pressley Mattox, and Maureen Purcell.
Houpe was re-elected to the Iredell County Commission in November. He had submitted his name for consideration to the Iredell Republican Party for the Register of Deeds office which was left vacant when Ron Wyatt left to take over as the town manager of Troutman. Wyatt, who is also the head of the local Republican Party, will also take part in the Iredell GOP executive committee as they select his replacement.
The internal discussion of the local Republican Party focused on experience in the Register of Deeds office versus political experience and being able to hold the position in the 2022 election.
In essence, it was a battle of running the actual office versus running for the political office.
For Wyatt, the experience running the office was one of his top concerns.
"I realize Commissioner Houpe was approached early on by one other commissioner and a few other political pundits about filling the vacancy at Register of Deeds," Wyatt said. "When Joyce Bess, who with more than 25 years of service to the office, said she was willing to not only serve as interim but to continue as Register and was also willing to run for the office in 2022 election. That changed things. I personally believe that puts emphasis on who has the abilities to perform the duties of the job without interruption. 'Kudos' to Commissioner Houpe and all those that reached out to him to explain he is needed in his current role.
"The Republican Party should take his example that experience in the profession does matter! I do realize all the other candidates are friends and acquaintances of mine and they do bring several great qualities in their own right to the table to be considered. But that being said, none of them have over 25 years on the job. It is that simple. I loved my mother dearly, but if she were alive today, that does not mean I would vote for her if she wanted to be Register. She simply would not have the experience as much as I know she would be able to learn the job and as trustworthy as she would be."
The Republican Party meets today to decide who will be their selection for the Register of Deeds. As the state statute dictates, the party can submit their selection to the county commissioners within 30 days of the vacancy and then the county commissioners will vote to approve.
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