MINT HILL – Richard “Fig’’ Newton is ready to take the next step up the local government ladder.
Shortly after moving to Mint Hill almost three decades ago, Newton has served a variety of roles for the town, including town commissioners since 2015. Newton now has his sights set on the mayor’s seat as the retired business executive said he will run for the town’s top elected position.
Local business people Brad Simmons and Karen Trauner have also announced their intentions to run for the seat. Mayor Ted Biggers has not publicly announced whether he will seek an 11th term. The filing deadline is in July, and the election will be held in November.
Newton first got involved in local government by serving on the Mint Hill 10-year plan committee in 2000 and then again served on the same committee beginning in 2011. Newton also served on the planning board for four years before being elected commissioner in 2015.
“I am the most experienced candidate in the race so far, by far,” Newton said. “When I got to town here, I started talking to people and started getting involved. I figure this is the progression to move on up to mayor. I think after four years (on the planning board), you should either move up or move out. I have been fortunate enough to be elected twice to the board of commissioners. Now, I figure it is time for me to step up.’’
Newton said one of his goals is to keep taxes as low as possible while providing the citizens of the town with the necessary services needed to keep Mint Hill a great place to live.
“One of the top issues is keeping up with the growth and manage it properly for the best use for the town,” Newton said. “We have a lot of houses on the slate right now, and we have to keep our eye on that. We don’t want to get a bunch of houses and then nobody buys them. We keep opening the door for everybody, and we need to know when to slow it down.’’
Newton was an executive with several different companies that sold products to Lowe’s Home Improvement. He said that experience will benefit him if he is elected mayor in November.
“I dealt with millions and millions of dollars,” Newton said. “I’m very well qualified.’’
Newton said adding athletic fields and park amenities on Brief Road is a pressing need for the town. Adding those fields was part of a $15 million bond election last year, that also included a 2,500-seat stadium at Veterans Park, that was defeated by voters.
“We don’t have an option on Brief Road. We have to do something out there because we have a grant on it and we only have so long to do it,” Newton said. “I would like to see the Brief Road fields done ASAP. That would be my wish, but we have to balance our budget, too. We do the most we can every year. (Town Manager) Brian Welch does a great job of staying on top of that. Brian is a heck of a budget guy.’’
Besides being active in local government, Newton has long been involved in serving his church as an elder along with volunteering with several other organizations. Newton, who plays golf several times a week to help him stay in shape, hasn’t slowed down in retirement. He is looking forward to being an active mayor if elected.
“I like to stay busy, I’ve always been that way,” Newton said. “I’m used to staying busy, and I have plenty of time. My doctor said I am doing great. I’m as good as I can be.”
Newton has lived with his wife, Lisa, in Mint Hill for 27 years. The couple has two adult daughters.