"I'm getting a little long in the tooth," notes the 70 year-old retired president of A-B Tech, who's currently serving his first four-year term on the board. He adds: "I read something the other day, it said that, 'smart people know when to back away from things and enjoy the rest of their life.' And that kind of stuck a chord with me, and I thought, 'well jeez, 10 years from now I'll be 80 years old. I might not be able to do anything.'"
Bailey's time on the board has been marked by his leadership on economic issues – he serves as the chair of the Economic Development Coalition's board of directors. And he says that out of all the things he's accomplished thus far as a commissioner, he's most proud of getting that group "reorganized."
He's also proud of "being able to work existing industries and helping them to expand."
"Of course, probably the crown jewel in all of that is landing Linamar," he notes, referencing the key role he played in luring the manufacturer to move into the former Volvo plant in South Asheville and hire hundreds of local workers. "I hope that we'll have another one or two of those this year. But you don't know that until it actually happens. I think job creation has been a real positive."
When his term expires at the end of the year, Bailey says he's hoping to have more time for travel and family, noting that he has three talented grandchildren scattered around the region he'd like to see more often.
"Just keeping up with the grandkids is going to be a full time job," he says with a laugh. "I just want to limit what I do so that if we need to take a trip for a couple weeks, or three weeks, that I don't have to worry about missing commissioner meetings and all those kind of things."
This year, commissioner candidates will face a district election system for the first time in history (Click here for a basic guide to the new system). But Bailey, who won more votes than any other candidate in 2008, says that political considerations weren't a factor in his decision to retire. However, he does have some thoughts on the critics who often show up to scold the commissioners at their meetings, saying "sometimes you get ridiculed for things you ought not get ridiculed for, but that's part of the process, part of the public commentary."
Bailey's decision followed that of commissioner Bill Stanley, who also announced recently that he wasn't seeking reelection. All of the other three incumbents have indicted they plan to run for additional terms, leaving four open seats on the board, which will expand next year to seven members.
Here's the original post, with the statement from the Buncombe County Democratic Party:
Buncombe County Democratic Party Thanks Commissioner Bailey for His Years of Service
ASHEVILLE – The Buncombe County Democratic Party thanks Commissioner K. Ray Bailey for his years of service to the community as he announces that he will not seek another term on the Buncombe County Commission. Bailey was elected to a four-year term as a commissioner in 2008 and was up for reelection this year.
As a resident of Buncombe County for more than 45 years, his tireless work in the community has been invaluable. Commissioner Bailey serves as President Emeritus of Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College and on the Board of Directors for the A-B Tech Foundation. He is a current or former board member of more than thirty community organizations, including: Mission Hospitals; Buncombe County Sheriff’s Advisory Committee; United Way (Past Campaign Chair); Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (Previous Chair) and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (Chair). Commissioner Bailey served as the President of A-B Tech for 15 years.
Emmet Carney, Chair of the Buncombe County Democratic Party said, “Commissioner Bailey's commitment to education in WNC will be realized for many years to come. Buncombe County has benefited from his service both as a commissioner and as an individual.”