Council critic seeks open seat
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Lige Daughtridge understands pressure and heat.
As a local businessman, he sells gauges and thermometers — and as an active citizen, he often holds feet to the fire during Rocky Mount City Council meetings.
The time has come for Daughtridge to jump into the hot seat.
Daughtridge, 48, has announced his run for the Ward 5 seat on the City Council to replace retiring Councilman Tom Rogers.
“Tom deserves our thanks as he has given his time and expertise for the betterment of Rocky Mount," Daughtridge said. "I believe in citizen government and interested citizens stepping up to serve our community, and that is what I’m going to do.”
Daughtridge has been active in community affairs and is a frequent attendee and speaker at City Council meetings. He is well known for his well-researched questions regarding projects and expenditures.
“I intend to focus on accountability and transparency in the expenditures and policies in our city governance,” Daughtridge said. “I welcome the increased level of participation and interest in local government shown by the citizens of Rocky Mount.”
Daughtridge learned about running a business and balancing books from his father who started the family business, Daughtridge Sales Co. in 1974.
After a year selling lift tickets at a ski resort in Idaho — the only time not including college that he has lived outside Rocky Mount — Daughtridge started at the ground floor of the family business in 1993, eventually taking over. Today, the company has 23 employees.
While chairman of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce in 2012, Daughtridge became interested in city government, especially how taxpayer money is spent.
"I have a reputation as being Mr. No, but that couldn't be further from the truth," Daughtridge said. "I just think we should be smart and prudent when it comes to tax dollars."
As chairman of the chamber, Daughtridge first saw early plans for the Rocky Mount Event Center.
"As an urban studies major, I was astounded by some of the statements made about its impact," he said.
Daughtridge began to engage with the City Council during the public comment period at meetings. He said he urged city officials to look at the feasibility of a concert hall in downtown, and he thinks his scrutiny of the project led the city to change plans so that the Event Center became sports-orientated.
"I didn't come up with the sports facility concept — someone else deserves credit for that. But I did get the city to realize a concert venue alone just wasn't viable," he said
Daughtridge is the founder and president of the Community Council, a local, fiscally conservative watchdog group formed in 2013. The group maintains a website and Facebook page.
Daughtridge is the brains behind the group and its front man. Groups like the Community Council serve a valuable purpose in keeping elected officials on their toes, he said, and he hopes to find someone to turn it over to if he's elected.
“When dealing with city business, our elected and employed officials have to operate with the highest ethical standards and avoid the appearance of any conflict and self-interest,” Daughtridge said.
The city needs to maintain and expand infrastructure to enhance a strong local economy while attracting and retaining high-quality employees with a special emphasis on emergency services and utilities, he said, adding that he wants “to harness the excitement surrounding the Rocky Mount Mills and downtown revitalization to encourage private investment and job creation.”
Daughtridge has a long list of business awards for small business and entrepreneurialism; board participation in several civic, educational and church organizations; and government board and civic involvement, including the Rocky Mount Planning Board, appointments by officials from both parties to the state Rural Infrastructure Authority, the state Rural Economic Development Center and Thread Capital, a loan program targeting historically underutilized businesses.
Daughtridge has served on the state's Rural Infrastructure Authority since 2013, when he was appointed by then-state House Speaker Thom Tillis. Daughtridge has been reappointed twice, by House Speaker Tim Moore in 2016 and by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018.
Daughtridge has served on the Carolinas Gateway Partnership Executive Committee since 2013. He was chairman of Reach Out Rocky Mount from 2008 to 2011.
Daughtridge graduated from Rocky Mount Academy in 1989 and the College of Charleston in 1993. He won the Woody Brown Award in 2010 from the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce; Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2013 from the Northeastern Entrepreneur Roundtable; and the Dr. Faye B. Eagles Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015 from the Nash County Republican Party.