BY JEFF McNEELY
This is a tale like many of my fellow neighbors and friends who grew up and live in Iredell County. It’s about a simple life of hard work, perseverance, and destiny (God’s Will). I am Jeff McNeely, and this is my story.
In June, I will be 60 years old. I was blessed to be raised on a farm and taught the value of hard work and honesty by my grandfather, Emmitt Sherrill. I was also fortunate to live beside my grandparents, so I could walk back and forth anytime I wanted. At an early age, I learned there are very few days off if you farm. When it rained, we straightened nails or restacked hay bales to the other side of the barn. By the time I was 10 years old, I was working the same as a grown man would. After school, I did my chores, and in the summers I worked at G & M Milling, our family feed mill that my parents started in 1957. Much like farming, it was hard physical work too.
The only way my family would let you get out of work was for school or sports. I played every sport I could growing up because doing so was easy and fun. Let me assure you, between the mill and farming, I’ve done every dirty job there is. “Hard work has never hurt anyone” was a saying I heard my grandfather say over and over. The good thing about growing up in a family that has been involved in so many different businesses (poultry farm, country store, furniture, men’s clothing and more), you learn so much about the effort and dedication it takes to succeed with a small business. You also get to meet so many good people who are customers that become your friends.
Except while I was at N.C. State University, I have lived here my whole life. After graduating college, I decided to come back and run my family’s business because I wanted to use my childhood skills and education to grow the business for my family. Almost 40 years later, I think I made the right decision. I married Iredell County native Cindy Carter, and we have two wonderful children, Jacob and Madelyn. We are blessed to have raised them in our beautiful county where my family has lived since the 1750s. My home is on that original land grant. Because of the love I have for the area, I have tried to give back to my community through service. God has blessed me with the skill set to work with people and help solve the problems that face our county every day.
I have served on numerous boards and committees over my lifetime. For 16 years, I served on the County Planning Board. I was recruited by my neighbors to run for a higher office, so I ran and won a seat as a county commissioner, which proved to be a very demanding job filled with a true sense of responsibility to the people, I served from 2016 to 2019. We did many good things, including finishing the Detention Center and building the Public Safety Center, while keeping your taxes in check and spending your money wisely.
In the summer of 2019, Rep. Rena Turner decided to step down after 10 years of great service. Once again, God opened a door for me, and I decided to step through it. I was selected by the Iredell County Republican Party to take Rena’s place. They trusted the knowledge and insight I gained from regional public service that provided the qualifications necessary to embrace the great duty of serving you in the state legislature. In my almost five years as your representative, I have worked through quite a lot, having navigated the budget crisis in 2019 and Covid in 2020. During all of this, my office and I have worked incredibly hard to help the people of Iredell County and North Carolina. I have a very conservative voting record, and I stand behind it, and I have always tried to spend your tax dollars wisely.
Unlike my opponent, I have a history of voting conservatively for over 23 years. To set the record straight, I would like to right some wrongs being said by my opponent, John Gallina, who is throwing everything out there with the wildest accusations. Starting your first political race by spouting off liberal talking points is not the way to win Iredell conservatives. He needs to do his homework and check the record before making comments. First, I never voted for casinos; a bill was never brought forward about casinos. Mr. Gallina has stated he was bullied by my fellow representatives. He is making baseless accusations while playing the victim. If anyone did reach out to him, it is probably because they believe Iredell County already has great conservative representation and they do not want to waste money in a primary that could go to get other Republicans elected in swing seats.
The money I have raised in the past for the Republican Party ($200,000) helped us get the super majority to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes. If we lose the majority, all of our good work risks being overturned. My fellow colleagues and I are constantly attacked or threatened from the left and the media. My position on school choice is that every parent should have the ability to choose the best option for their child‘s education, whether it is traditional public, public charter, private, Christian or home school. The opportunity scholarship opens doors that can change that child’s life forever.
Through hard work, I have become the first chairman of the House Agriculture Committee who lives west of Raleigh in more than 70 years. Further, I have also become chair of the House Transportation Committee. My work ethic is proving to be effective in helping Iredell County. South Iredell will have a new representative, as Grey Mills hopefully wins a seat in Congress. Iredell County needs an experienced conservative representative to lead in Raleigh. It will take time and hard work to make things happen in the state legislature; I have proven that. I will use my 24 years of experience, hard work, and conservative voting record to represent you against all challengers, especially those who can only attack using liberal talking points. I humbly ask for your vote for the N.C. House to send me back to Raleigh and to keep Iredell strong!
I have helped secure over $143 million in the last two budgets for our county. Let me continue to do the hard work for you.
Jeff McNeely represents the 84th District in the N.C. House of Representatives. He lives in Stony Point.