Charles “Charlie” D. Owen III today announced his candidacy as a Democrat running for the District 49 N.C. Senate seat held until recently by the late Senator Martin Nesbitt. “I’m an unconventional candidate, but I bring new thinking and fresh perspectives to problems. That’s what Martin valued, and I hope it’s what the voters of Buncombe County value.”
Owen, whose father founded Owen Manufacturing Company, in 1973, is a newcomer to politics, but no stranger to the most important issues facing Western North Carolina – education, access to healthcare, economic development and the environment.
“I am a businessman and community volunteer who has always been able to work successfully with people of all political persuasions at the state and local level on critical issues,” he said. “Until recently I was registered as unaffiliated, but I am concerned that the Republican Party has taken our state in the wrong direction,” Owen said, “I will do my best to combine my business background and a lifetime of service to help all citizens of Buncombe County, and the best way I can do that is as a Democrat.”
For more than 30 years, Owen worked in various capacities at Owen Manufacturing, the world’s largest blanket manufacturer. He currently owns and operates Fletcher Warehousing and Transportation Companies. He served on the board
of Mission Health for 20 years and the UNC Hospital System’s board for eight years. He also served on the state’s Smart Start Board, the board of N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry and the North Carolina Nature Conservancy. In Buncombe County, he served on the YWCA’s capital campaign board with County Commissioner Holly Jones, as well as United Way Campaign and Board Chair and the board of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“After much thought and discussion with my family, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to serve my community in a different way. Martin gave Buncombe County a strong voice in Raleigh. I would like to be that voice,” Owen said. “Just like Martin, I want Buncombe County to be a place that lives up to our State toast – as a place where ‘the weak grow strong and the strong grow great.’ Under the current Republican leadership that’s simply not going to happen.”