Lee McMinn has announced his intent to run for one of the open seats on the county’s Board of Commissioners. McMinn has been a property owner in Transylvania County for over 20 years, but since moving here from Germany 12 years ago, he has discovered that his original family first settled in Transylvania County, near Cathey’s Creek, in 1767. His third-great grandfather was awarded land “north of the French Broad River” where he served on the Safety Committee with his father-in-law, Abraham Kuykendall. McMinn’s second-great grandfather was ordained in Cathey’s Creek Baptist Church before moving to the Crab Creek area as co-pastor. In 1838, Robert McMinn started the family’s westward migration.
Lee McMinn was born in West Texas where water and land issues are dominant and a strong sense of personal responsibility pervades. He was raised on a farm and on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Western Pacific, before earning a commission in the US Marine Corps through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Texas. After commissioning, he trained as a helicopter pilot and deployed to Vietnam and several other operations in the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastal regions. He retired from the Marines as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1991 after 22 years of active service. While on active duty, McMinn completed the Marine Corps Command and Staff School, attended the Armed Forces Staff College, and earned a Master in Arts degree from Pepperdine University.
After retirement, Lee McMinn started a second career teaching and administering community college programs in vocational training and basic adult education for Central Texas College, then one of the largest community colleges in the United States. While with Central Texas College, he earned certification in Adult Education Programs while working in Okinawa, Japan and in Germany as area coordinator and head of Student Services. While in Germany, McMinn earned a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland. He moved to Transylvania County after his wife, Linda Randall, retired from teaching for the Department of Defense. They currently live in Connestee Falls and have been enjoying life in the county since 2002.
Since moving to the county, McMinn has worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the Cradle of Forestry and is currently a volunteer for the N.C. Forest Service in Dupont State Recreational Forest. He has tutored students at Schenck Job Corps, Brevard College, and the Boys and Girls Club. He has lectured on defense topics in the Great Decisions lecture series sponsored by the WNC chapter of the World Affairs Council and in the Lifelong Learning Institute on the UNC Asheville campus. He is a V.I.S.I.O.N Transylvania graduate and is on the VISION Community Network Events Planning Committee and the Board of Visitors for Brevard College. McMinn volunteers at the Bread of Life and in several capacities at the Brevard Music Center during its season. He is also a member of the Mountain Marines, whose stated purpose is to conduct a party every year to celebrate the birth of the Marine Corps on November 10. He enjoys outdoor pursuits of hiking and backpacking, having completed a lifelong goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2007. McMinn is a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. He is a guest writer for the Transylvania Times, submitting articles discussing Career and Technical Education topics as taught in Transylvania County schools and the occasional opinion piece on governance.
Lee McMinn has been following politics in Transylvania County for nearly two decades. He has noticed many changes but the biggest change has been the inability of previous Boards of Commission to properly invest in the future of Transylvania. County buildings remain empty and crumbling. Deferred maintenance piles up, becoming more and more expensive and planning for the future doesn’t seem to exist in any serious way. The county’s budgets are flat, meaning infrastructure is crumbling and department heads are asked to do more with less while too many commissioners sit on piles of cash, your tax dollars, that should have been invested in our future.
As commissioner, Lee McMinn will work, as he currently does, for focused economic growth. This will require recruitment of low-impact businesses and manufacturers who are a good fit for the county. They will provide meaningful jobs that pay a living wage and create gainful employment for our children. McMinn will continue and expand support of education and work force development to staff these businesses with trained and capable workers. He is an advocate for the high-quality, free public education offered by Transylvania County Schools and for advanced training offered by Blue Ridge Community College and Brevard College. And he will ensure that smart environmental policies are in place to protect our natural assets. As a retiree, he will have time to travel the county, visiting with constituents and hearing their concerns and he looks forward to serving the people of Transylvania County.