GREENSBORO, N.C. — Politics in Guilford County probably won’t be the same after Thursday when Guilford County Commissioners Billy Yow and Skip Alston step down from their positions.
“It’s time for a new generation to come in and take this board forward,” Yow said.
Yow was elected to the board in 2000 after working with the Guilford County Health Department for years. Alston has served as a commissioner since 1992. He became the first African-American Chairman of the board ten years later.
“I had a lot of weight on my shoulders. There were other people who deserved this position,” Alston said.
Yow has been instrumental in changing some of the policies in the county’s planning department and moving the board into a more technological era.
As for Alston, he’s well known for helping create the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Downtown Greensboro. The museum opened in 2010 after years of controversy.
“That’s my baby. It was birth a year after I took this office, “Alston said.
Both men have a passion for social and economic issues, but their political agendas didn’t always line up. They’re known for battling it out during meetings.
“Billy and I agree to disagree. But at the end of the day it’s business, nothing personal,” Alston said.
Alston did not point to one particular regret however Billy has one he wishes would go away.
In 2003, Yow held up a shirt that showed a man urinating on the letters NAACP. Yow says he wouldn’t do that again.
There’s not a politician that’s elected that couldn’t say there’s something they wish they would have done differently,” Yow said.
Both men haven’t counted another run for political office out of their future. Yow says he may run for congress or another commissioner seat in two years.
Alston will make a decision by the fall of next year.