Many folks in Asheville know Cecil Bothwell as a local journalist, but that’s only one recent chapter in his life. Newcomers may chiefly recall that his 2008 campaign for Buncombe County Commission distributed 6,000 Obama signs in WNC (the oblong “half” signs that are still in yards all over the region) and that he drew almost 17,000 votes in a squeaker of a loss (less than one percent), including more than 9,000 votes in Asheville. His friends are more likely to talk about his good judgment and willingness to lend a hand. All three of his cats think he’s a hero.
When catastrophe struck his Broad River community in the great flood of 1996, blocking the only access road with multiple mud slides, Cecil was the first to pick up a shovel and the first to locate a functioning phone line to make contact with the outside world. When a friend nearly drowned in a boating accident on the French Broad River in 2004, Cecil drew on his lifeguard training, pulled her and another passenger to the capsized canoe and brought them to safety—despite his own injuries. His personal courage kept him on the trail of our criminal former Sheriff Bobby Medford, despite personal threats, until Medford was brought to justice.
Often described as a “renaissance” man, Cecil has broad experience in construction, private land-use planning and forestry, computer and large appliance repair, automotive and tractor repair, agronomy, the arts (wood, clay and paint) and alternative energy systems. He is author of six books and dozens of songs and poems, authored a nationally syndicated column for a decade and has been a political activist through most of his adult years. He will bring an uncommon diversity of experience to bear on all of the issues addressed by Asheville’s City Council.