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Tarte kicks off campaign Wed., files for District 41 state Senate seat

In a symbolic gesture at Wednesday's campaign kickoff event, Mayor Tarte "cuts taxes," literally. (Christina Ritchie Rogers /


Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte officially kicked off his campaign for N.C. Senate Wednesday at the Cornelius Veterans Memorial Monument at Rotary Plaza, and later traveled to Charlotte to file for the election. Mayor Tarte is vying for the District 41 representative seat, along with Huntersville business owner  John Aneralla, and on Wednesday announced 79 endorsements from local business owners, town and county leaders, and citizens.

“I like the guy,” said Greg Wessling in opening remarks to the crowd of about 25 gathered at the monument. Mr. Wessling is a former Lowe’s Senior Vice President and longtime friend of Mayor Tarte. “But what I most appreciate about Jeff is he’s a business man,” he said.

Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain introduced Mayor Tarte at the event, saying she believes he is right for small town America.

“He knows local government,” she said, “and he will be a strong voice for our region.”

Mayors Swain, Tarte and Davidson Mayor John Woods, who also endorsed Mayor Tarte, were all elected the same year and are now serving their third terms as mayors in North Mecklenburg. The District 41 seat represents the three towns, as well as Matthews, Mint Hill and parts of southeast Charlotte.

Mayor Tarte speaks at his campaign kickoff event Wednesday. (Christina Ritchie Rogers /

Mayor Tarte’s experience in local government coupled with his more than 30 years experience in management consulting will serve him well in Raleigh, he said, and he plans to apply the same basic concepts at the state level that he has applied at the local level: Prioritize your needs, spend within your means, and cut taxes.

During his tenure as mayor, Cornelius earned a AAA bond rating with $11 million in savings, and the town has one of the lowest tax rates in the state. Also, the police department performs in the top 2 percent nationally, Mayor Tarte said.

If elected, Mayor Tarte plans to work on lowering the unemployment rate and raising the graduation rate, he said.

“Those rates are inextricably linked,” he said.

And, “we need to let businesses do what they do best … create jobs,” he said.

At one point during the event, Mayor Tarte held up three sheets of paper, each representing taxes – corporate, personal income, and gas taxes. He then cut the sheets of paper with scissors, a symbolic gesture that spoke to his goals if elected.

I will make you two promises, and they will be the only campaign promises I’ll make,” Mayor Tarte said. “I’ll listen to you, and I’ll work hard every day.”


Mayor Tarte announced Wednesday that he has raised $75,000 for his campaign as of Dec.31, and is endorsed by the following:

The Hon. Miles Atkins, Novant Health & Mayor
The Hon. Lloyd Austin, Mayor Pro Tem
Seth Avery, Applied Revenue Analytics
Rod Beard, American Solar Integrators
Denis Bilodeau, Aquesta Insurance Services
John Bisson, Galway Hooker & Comedy Zone
Chris Boukedes, Bouk Management
The Hon. John Bradford, Park Avenue Properties
Chris Carlsen, Biltmore Equity Partners
Wesley Choplin, Choplin’s
Ned Curran, Bissell Companies
Bill Dagit, Bill Dagit & Associates
Rich Davis, Davis Capital Group
Joshua Dobi, Dobi Financial Group
Joe Douglas, Captiva Restaurant Group
Tom Dutton, Bank of Ozarks
John Fennebresque, McGuire Woods
Joe Forti, EPS-AVOB
The Hon. George Fowler, Mayor
John Freeman, Freeman’s Stereo and Video
Phil Gandy, Gandy Communities
The Hon. Ken Gjertsen, Bank of America
Brian Golsch, Golsch Builders
Mike Griffin, Griffin Brothers Tire
Gus Gustafson, Fishing with Gus
Kenny Habul, Sun Energy 1
Jon Hair, Jon Hair Studio of Fine Art
Dr. Tom Hemstreet, Lake Cross Vet
Kelly Houston, American Equity Investments
Dennis Howe, GCC Wealth Mgt
Susan Irvin, Attorney
Alain Jeantet, The Wine Cellar
The Hon. Charlie Jeter, Intermodal FCL
Jessie Jones, Attorney
The Hon. Ron Julian, Commissioner
Mike Kayes, Wellington Wealth Management
Charles Knox, The Knox Group
Kris Kozdras, State Farm
The Hon. Rhonda Lennon, CMS School Board
Jerry Levin, Lebo’s
Kevin Mahl, Champion Tire
Frank Manis, Mama’s Pizza Express
Randy Marion, Randy Marion Chevrolet
Mark McDowell
The Hon. Susan Medlin, Vintage Marketing
Sokhun Moon, Sushi at the Lake
The Hon. Tim Morgan, CMS School Board
Sid Morris, Morris International
Jay Neal, HF Financial
Gary Nichols, EPS-AVOB
Ron Olsson, GCC Wealth Mgt
Dean Oltz, Firberglass Fabricators
John Oys, USAirways
Robert Reid, Small Biz
Jim Riggins, Technocom
Tom Rochester, Southeast Architectural Systems
Jamie Rolwicz, Champion Tire
Kathleen Rose, Rose & Associates Southeast
Jack Salzman, LKN Chrysler Jeep Dodge
James Sanders, Shared Resources
Alan Simonini, Alan Simonin Homes
Rick Stillwell, Stillwell Painting
The Hon. Jill Swain, Mayor
Angela Swett, Image Promotions
The Hon. Jim Taylor, Wachovia & Mayor
Chris Teis, Acropolis
Bruce Trimbur, Trimbur Group
Dan Tritt, LKN Paint and Body
John Venzon, MI-Connection
The Hon. Richard Vinroot, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson
Woody Washam, CommunityOne
Jeanne & Richard Weimer, Benjamin Moore
Greg Wessling, Lowes – retired
The Hon. John Woods, Peoples Bank & Mayor
Paul Yates, Premier Business Group
Jack and Kathy Ziegler, Team Ziegler
Rick Zoerb, LKN Infiniti


Feb. 13, 2012: “”Aneralla files Mon. for District 41 state Senate seat

Feb. 3, 2012: “School Board’s Lennon, Morgan endorse Tarte for state Senate

Jan. 19, 2012: “Tarte and Aneralla now both in race for new senate seat

Jan. 17, 2012: “Aneralla picks up endorsements in senate race

This post was written by:

- who has written 29 posts on Election.

Christina Ritchie Rogers is the assistant director of digital content at Davidson College. She also is the former editor of

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