We offer our support and best wishes to the new Lincoln County Board of Commissioners as it tackles the huge issues facing Lincoln County. We also give credit to the two retiring commissioners who have performed their duties well. Jerry Cochrane and Larry Craig have served as stable influences in an office that encountered stormy waters before they came on board. Cochrane did not seek re-election, though he probably would have easily kept his seat. Craig did not get quite enough votes to stay on, but his loss was narrow. We may hear from him again.
Cochrane was a low-key leader who demonstrated that it was far more important to make friends than enemies. He had few detractors and many supporters during his term on the board. Cochrane had that all-important attribute to those in public service â€” he listened. As we encountered people who had problems with county services or personnel, we often found they had already talked to Cochrane. If he couldnâ€™t solve their problems we usually found that we couldnâ€™t either.
Providing support for key projects was something Cochrane took very seriously. When he saw a need, such as development of the industrial park, helping Gaston College expand its Lincoln Campus, helping the schools meet mounting financial pressures, he didnâ€™t hesitate to offer support in a constructive, diplomatic way. He was one of the muscles behind the now very successful Helping Hands Clinic, which provides healthcare services for the needy. He has worked hard to expand water and sewer services to vital areas of the county.
Cochrane early this year conceded in a speech to the Lincolnton Rotary Club that one of his failed goals was a joint city-county water venture. He spent months seeking a joint agreement and expressed disappointment that it failed. The new board should carry on that very worthy effort.
As we bid Cochrane and Craig a warm farewell, we also welcome the leadership of Tom Anderson of Denver, who was the top vote-getter in the November election. Anderson, who was elected chair of the new board, has already demonstrated a level-headed approach to difficult issues. We also welcome Marie Moore and Alex Patton, newcomers who may help provide new ideas to deal with the many growth hurdles facing Lincoln County.