Meet your Town Council

Councilwoman Heather Ward

Ward 5
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I've called Valdese home for over two decades, having moved here when my father took on the role of pastor at the River of Life Church, which was formerly known as the Valdese Church of God. Over the years, I've lived in various places across North Carolina, but Valdese has truly become my home.

The sense of community spirit in Valdese is unparalleled. It's a place where neighbors genuinely watch out for one another, creating a safe haven in which I'm proud to raise my two boys. I met my husband here, and together we've woven the fabric of our family within the tight-knit bonds of this community.

Actively involved in our church, my husband and I serve as youth ministers, channeling our passion for outreach and community service. We're also the proud directors of Jethro's, a local community outreach and discipleship center that caters to all ages. Jethro's embodies our commitment to being a beacon of light in the darkness, mirroring the town's settlers' motto, "Lux Lucet in Tenebris" (A Light Shining in the Darkness).

Being a light in the darkness has been a guiding principle in both my personal life and our service to Valdese. It's a town with a rich history of resilience and community, and I'm honored to contribute to its legacy by continuing to be a source of positivity and support. Valdese isn't just a place on the map for me; it's a home where my family and I are dedicated to shining brightly for years to come.

Term 12/4/23 to 12/4/28

Councilman Gary Ogle

Mayor Pro -Tem
Ward 4
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I was born and raised in the Town of Valdese where I have lived for over 30 years. I attended all the public schools here where I have many wonderful memories of our small town and the many services provided for our residents through the years. I am retired from Burke County Public Schools after 30 years of service. I find myself going to Valdese restaurants frequently and appreciate the chance to talk and meet with fellow residents. I enjoy attending Old Colony Players productions, Friday night concerts and summer festivals that give our people the opportunity to socialize, bond and celebrate each other.

As I begin serving on the Town Council, I’m reminded of all the past Town Council Members and Mayors who have led us over the years. In the current council chamber, there are pictures of past mayors, many men of respect and integrity. I hope I can serve as they have and always remember who we represent, ALL the citizens of Valdese. This is “the greatest small town in North Carolina.”

Term 12/4/23 to 12/4/28

Mayor Charles Watts

Mayor’s Office: 828-879-2125
[email protected]

What I love about Valdese is the small town quaintness, with all the amenities of a larger city but without the crowds. Walking down Main Street to grab coffee and a donut or a burger and a coke and chatting with a police officer downtown. Visiting the library for a good book or the recreation center for a game of hoops. Enjoy nature with a visit to McGalliard Falls Park or Valdese Lakeside Park. The sense of community with hometown sports and the music filling the streets on a summer Friday night. Our greatest asset is our citizens. Folks who greet you with a smile and a handshake. Neighbors who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

I want to see Valdese grow and prosper and continue to be a welcome place for families, young and old to call home. We need to continue our effort to develop affordable housing for all. I would like to see more entrepreneurship, with the development of both small and large economic growth projects. And we must address our aging infrastructure.

Term 12/6/21 to 12/1/25

Councilwoman Rexanna Lowman

Ward 3
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I have lived most of my life in Valdese. I was educated in the Valdese schools and returned to this town to begin my career as an educator. I love the small town atmosphere. As part of my day, I enjoy walking from my house through town each morning. This walk reinforces the things that I love about Valdese. I go by the Valdese Recreation Center and see the women and men in the pool enjoying exercise or lap swimming. I see people returning books at the Valdese Library and folks running into the post office before work. I get to smell the aroma of fresh bread being baked at the bakery. How lucky am I to live in a small town like Valdese!

As a town council member, I want to work with all citizens to make Valdese an attractive and exciting place to live. The town needs to work with economic development entities to attract new industry. In addition, the development of new housing further supports the town. The Valdese Lakeside Park will shape our future. Replacing and improving water lines and upgrading infrastructure should be a priority.

Term 12/6/21 to 12/1/25

Councilman Paul Mears

Alternate Treasurer
Ward 2
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I have lived in Valdese for nearly 29 years, raised my family here and built a successful business right in the heart of this beautiful town. I feel strongly that Valdese is one of the best small towns in America to raise a family or enjoy retirement! Walk thru our downtown and you will see historic buildings, thriving small businesses, beautiful parks and smiling, friendly faces. Only a one hour drive to popular places such as Boone, Asheville and Charlotte--Valdese is situated perfectly in the Foothills of Western North Carolina to continue to be a desirable place to live due to its wonderful climate, small town atmosphere, safe streets and low cost of living.

As a new member of the Valdese Town Council I want to continue to see our town provide excellent services to our citizens at a relatively low cost compared to other municipalities our size. Over the next five years we should continue our focus and attention on improving investment opportunities for affordable housing, whether it be apartment living or single family dwellings. New families moving to our town will improve our tax and services receipts and diversity. My desire is to be as open and honest with our citizens regarding issues that our town faces and to always welcome suggestions, questions and comments. My hope is to look back five years from now and see a town that is a more attractive place to live and one that is in a sound financial condition.

Term 12/6/21 to 12/1/25

Councilman Glenn Harvey

Ward 1
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In 2005, my wife Linda and I fell in love with our new “hometown.” Valdese reflects the unique congeniality of the 19th-century Waldensian colonists and the 18th-century Scotch-Irish settlers who welcomed them and supported them through their difficult early years.

Being raised by parents who endured the Great Depression on a small family farm created an appreciation of hard-earned money. At age 17 my college tuition came from unloading “beehive” kilns in a brickyard; and in subsequent summers by sweating in a steel mill. The appreciation for folks who work hard to achieve life goals was the underpinning of a varied career. The common thread from science teacher to guidance counselor, to association manager, to general contractor, to property developer, and even the renovation of the old home that brought us to Valdese, was the unyielding desire to make a difference.

Respect for other people’s money and their rights to the entities they own was the foundation of two decades of managing associations belonging to thousands of members. If 45,000 individuals across several continents can participate in setting the goals of their membership association, why can’t 5000 friends and neighbors in proximity of each other set the goals of their town? I will strive to help answer that question as we work together for the “greatest small town in North Carolina.”

Term 12/4/23 to 12/1/25

For filing information and municipal election information click on the links below: 

NC Board of Elections

Burke County Board of Elections

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