Alex Patton has been a familiar face on the political scene in Lincoln County for the better part of two decades.
He was began his political career with runs for school board in the late 1990s, was elected to the county’s Board of Commissioners in 2004 and currently serves as its chairman. He’s now seeking the Republican nomination for the county’s Clerk of Court seat.
He served 15 years in the military, retiring from the Army with the rank of staff sergeant, and currently works in the grocery business.
But through all of that, two common threads have played a major role in Patton’s life — faith and family.
“I’m an average guy who grew up in Lincolnton that had an opportunity to do something good for the citizens,” Patton, a Republican, said. “My family, my faith defines me more than anything. Those are my two priorities in life — serving the Lord and trying to be the husband and father I should be. That shapes everything I do. The signs that I always put out have the Christian fish on the corner of them. There are two reasons I do that: to give honor to Him and so people understand that that’s what they can hold me accountable to, to that standard. I will hopefully not do anything to let them down from that perspective.”
Patton’s military service took him all over the United States and overseas to Korea. He also traveled the globe on mission trips in his youth, including five trips to Russia.
“The military changed my life,” he said. “I wasn’t in any trouble with the law or anything, but I was a hard headed kid. I didn’t listen to my parents. Then, when you get into the military, everything is structured. I realized that I might want to do what these people say, because there were severe consequences. Other than my family and my faith, that’s the proudest thing that I’ve got — that I served 15 years in the military.”
Patton’s work as co-manager of a Cornelius Harris-Teeter and his duties as a commissioner take up most of his time. He said part of what motivated him to seek the clerk’s seat, after several years of consideration, was a desire to spend his working hours in a public service role.
“I love doing what I do, from the perspective of being a county commissioner,” he said. “I grew up here, so I’m able to help the people in the community that I grew up in. But sometimes I don’t feel like I do it justice because of having to work 60 hours a week. So, to me, it was the perfect opportunity to serve the citizens of Lincoln County, but do it on a full-time basis. It would give more time to serve the citizens, more time for family, more time to be back at church. It seemed like the perfect deal.”
Patton’s position as chairman of the Board of Commissioners may be one of the highest-profile elected offices in Lincoln County, but he said moving away from that didn’t factor into his decision to run for Clerk of Court.
“The politics of politics, I despise,” he said. “I don’t attend a lot of Republican functions, mostly because I don’t have time. I’m not into that ego trip of being a politician. Too many politicians surround themselves with people who will tell them what they want to hear. And then they end up getting in trouble. The people who have known me before I got into politics will tell you that I’m the same guy that I was before I started.”
Patton is a member of Highland Drive Freewill Baptist Church, American Legion Post 30, an advisory board member of CMC-Lincolnton, a board member for the Lincoln Economic Development Association and the chairman of the Lincoln County Department of Social Services board.