Three people, all incumbents, filed at the Wilkes Board of Elections as candidates for three Ronda commissioner seats on the ballot this fall.

The candidates for Ronda commissioner, as their names will appear on the ballots and in the same order, are Rheajean Benge, Gene Fowler and Helen T. Porter.

Ronda commissioners serve four-year terms.

The deadline for registering to vote on Nov. 7 or with an absentee ballot is Oct. 13 unless a person participates in one-stop voting, which is Oct. 19 until Nov. 4. A person can register and vote at the same location and time in one-stop voting.

Mail-out absentee ballots are available from the Wilkes Board of Elections office from Oct. 6-31. Call 336-651-7338 or go to for more details.

All municipal elections in Wilkes are non-partisan, so there are no primaries.

In response to a request from the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Fowler and Porter provided the newspaper with biographical information on themselves. Benge didn’t respond.

Rheajean Benge

Rheajean Benge, 63, lives on North Hoots Road in Ronda and is retired.

Benge was first elected to the Ronda board in 2013. She ran unsuccessfully for Ronda mayor in 2015.

Gene Fowler

Gene Fowler, 74, of North Hoots Road has lived in Ronda for 18 years. Prior to that, he lived in Elkin and worked for Vaughan-Bassett Furniture. He is now retired.

Fowler is married to Shelby Smith Fowler and they have two children, Rodney Fowler of Statesville and Dawn Parsons of Yadkinville. They also have two granddaughters.

Fowler attended Trinity High School in Randolph County before moving to Elkin.

Fowler was appointed to the Ronda board in 2016 to complete the unexpired term of a commissioner who stepped down. He ran for a Ronda board seat one time earlier as a write-in candidate and lost.

He is a volunteer for Samaritan’s Purse.

Helen T. Porter

Helen T. Porter, 75, of Cemetery Street has lived in Ronda since 1981, and in Wilkes County for most of her life.

Porter is retired after working at East Coast Millwork.

She is divorced. Her son, Kevin, and his wife live in Wilmington. Her other son, Paul Porter, died in a car accident in 1990.

Porter was first elected to the Ronda board in 2015 to complete an unexpired term of a board member who stepped down. She was an unsuccessful candidate for Ronda commissioner twice earlier.

She is a member of Macedonia Baptist Church just north of Ronda.

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