RURAL HALL, N.C. — Larry Williams leads an unlikely political life.
He grew up in Gastonia and went to NC State in the Vietnam era.
He used his engineering degree from NC State to land a job with the North Carolina Department of Transportation which is what took him and his wife, Billie, to the Winston-Salem area in the late 1960s.
After looking all around the area, they settled in the small town of Rural Hall north of the city.
After a decade of enjoying life in Rural Hall, he impressed enough people, so they encouraged him to run for the town council and, twelve years later, the town elected him mayor.
That may sound like a relatively typical route to political life, but Larry doesn’t see it that way.
“I really didn’t consider it politics,” Williams said. “I felt like it was more of a civic duty.”
A duty in which his engineering background comes in handy.
“I try to evaluate things – facts – and not necessarily from a political standpoint,” Williams said.
There were plenty of engineering-style facts in one of his biggest challenges as mayor.
“We had our own water, it was well water, an underground river and you could hear it roaring,” Williams said. “They couldn’t measure the volume of it. Then around ’93, ’94 somewhere around there, the water got contaminated with trichloroethylene.”
That required Mayor Williams to negotiate with Winston-Salem and Forsyth County to go on their water and sewer system.
There have been many challenges through the years that he handled with skill.
Maybe the biggest challenge was staying in office for 28 of his 40 years in Rural Hall government.
“If anybody had told me that I’d still been doing it forty years later, I’d a said they’re crazy,” Williams said.
See him and hear more about his career in this edition of the Buckley Report.