Shell named Kepley's replacement

Jul. 14, 2014 @ 11:32 AM

The Davidson County Republican Party announced July 7 its selection of Steve Shell to fill the seat, and remainder of the unexpired term, left vacant after Commissioner Billy Joe Kepley died of an apparent heart attack last month.

Shell, who was the top vote getter in the May 6 primary, will be joined by former GOP Chairman Lance Barrett in the November general election after Barrett was selected to replace Kepley’s name on the ballot. The two will vie, alongside Don Truell and Todd Yates, for the right to fill one of four available seats for a full four-year term. Derek Kelly will be the lone Democratic candidate.

Shell, meanwhile, has the opportunity to settle into his new digs as commissioner at least through the end of the year.

“I’m very excited about the reception I’ve received from the community,” Shell said. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the community, and I know we have a lot of challenges ahead. Sometimes our citizens feel a loss of connection between themselves and government. I want to be that connection.”

Barrett was selected from a list of four applicants, which Davidson County Republican Chairman Larry Allen said were quality candidates.

“Obviously, this is very bittersweet,” Barrett said. “We would rather have Billy Joe here with us, rather than going through this.”

Before his successful run as Republican representative in the May 6 primary, Shell took a path less traveled to arrive at his politic destination.

After graduating from North Forsyth High School, he moved to Davidson County in 1971 and attended Davidson County Community College. He worked for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, then became a bondsman before he and his wife opened their own bonding company, then a driving school. He also became a licensed private investigator.

“I’ve worked hard all of my life. I think that’s how we achieve the American dream,” Shell said.

The county resident believes his experience in many areas, as well as his work to build companies, are admirable qualities that render him an effective leader.

“Good business sense is what we need,” Shell said. “Davidson County is home to me. I’ve been living here since 1971. Instead of explaining ourselves as elected officials, we need to be able to explain our vote. I think we can still make decisions that reflect the fact we work for the citizens.”

Shell will officially begin serving after the Davidson County Board of Commissioners swears him in July 17.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 847-9911, or at