After a successful twenty year career in law enforcement, Aidan Cassidy entered public office as a Fayetteville, North Carolina city councilman. He currently serves on the city’s finance board, where he oversees the funding issues around Fayetteville’s many civic projects. He was the mastermind behind the renovation of Fayetteville’s iconic downtown market house, which has long been the symbol of the city. With a background in law enforcement, he also serves as the council’s liaison with the Fayetteville Police Department, helping to address the unique issues facing the city.
Aidan is involved with many issues in his capacity as councilman, including annexation and development. Fayetteville’s annexation of the nearby town of Hope Mills is a contentious issue in the city, and Aidan Cassidy is working to resolve the questions and concerns surrounding the issue in a way that appeases the masses. The ongoing development of the region is a sensitive political issue, with rural needs counterbalanced against a growing urban area and wetlands preservation. Cassidy and the rest of the council are working closely with the state authorities and the EPA in order to direct growth in a positive way.
Cassidy is an active member of Highland Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville. He serves on the board of elders, which oversees the day to day operations of the church, its facilities, and its budget. He regularly volunteers his time with church youth, helping to mold them into successful adults who lead lives of purpose. He and his wife Jean have taught Sunday school for ten years, and continue to do so.
Aidan Cassidy was born in the small town of Red Springs, just outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Of Irish and Highland Scots descent, he spent an idyllic childhood in this rural locale, working summers on the family farm. Raised growing tobacco, Aidan Cassidy initially attended NC State University with the goal of attaining a degree in agriculture and returning to the family business. While at school, however, he developed an interest in public policy, and made the decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the subject. Following graduation, Aidan was actively recruited by the Apex, North Carolina Police Department. A rookie cop in small town turned suburb, Cassidy encountered the issues of development, urban expansion, and annexation which would shape his professional career.
Cassidy’s professional career continued to expand, as he left the Apex Police Department to pursue a position with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Posted to the western part of the state, Cassidy found himself working as a law enforcement officer in a complex environment. Rural poverty and growing problems with methamphetamines in that part of the state were huge concerns for the Highway Patrol. Aidan Cassidy volunteered to serve on the Patrol’s drug task force, grappling head-on with the presence of meth. Already in a career devoted to public service, the exposure to a growing drug problem heightened Aidan’s interest in public policy as a tool to combat social problems. He began attending city council and county commissioner meetings, learning more about the challenges and problems faced by municipal governments around the state. A lifelong Democrat, Aidan Cassidy also started following the careers of local and state-level politicians in a new way. He scrutinized their performance, policy negotiations, and interactions with other leaders.
When the Highway Patrol offered him a position in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cassidy jumped at the chance. The new posting allowed him to be closer to home, and to his parents and younger sister. Professionally, he remained active on the drug task force in the area. This involved complex law enforcement cooperation between multiple agencies: the Highway Patrol, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, North Carolina State Police, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the military police and Criminal Investigations Division at nearby Fort Bragg. Assuming a new position of leadership, Aidan Cassidy chaired the joint task force which coordinated these efforts. As a result of each agency’s cooperation, the amount of drugs intercepted by law enforcement doubled over the next five years. Intervention among drug users also increased, offering a clinical alternative to arrest and jail time. For his role in these efforts—which often put him in harm’s way— Aidan Cassidy was recognized by the Governor of the State.
During his time in Fayetteville, Aidan returned to his religious roots. Raised Presbyterian, he began attending Highland Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville. Inspired by his experiences in law enforcement and drug intervention, he began working with community youth. Cassidy sought to be a positive role model and steer them away from the drugs, gangs, and hopelessness that he had encountered during his career as a law enforcement officer. He also moved into church leadership, putting his administrative skills and policy knowledge to use in a positive way. At a church meeting he met Jean MacDonald, a woman his age. Working closely together on church issues helped Aiden and Jean to develop a mutual appreciation for one another. He asked her to marry him one year later.
When the two elected to have a family, Cassidy redirected his career into a more administrative role. He sought more time with his new family, and a more peaceful home life. However, he remained active with the drug task force, putting his experience and knowledge to use behind the scenes. The project’s progress continued, and drug intervention in the region became more successful. When his daughter turned ten, Aidan decided that it was time to retire. A highly decorated officer with a long and successful career, his retirement ceremony at the North Carolina Highway Patrol station in Fayetteville was attended by law enforcement officers from departments across the state.
Having concluded a successful career in public service, Cassidy continued to seek out ways to serve his community. Married, settled, and a new homeowner, he renewed his interest in civic government by running for city council. A no-nonsense candidate with a proven background in public service, he was an instant success at the polls. Swept into office under a landslide of popular acclaim, he worked quickly to address the problems facing the city. Fayetteville had begun to grow, rapidly, and the changing nature of the community brought new challenges and problems. Aidan Cassidy headed the downtown task force, working to renovate historic downtown Fayetteville into an attractive residential and retail district. Cassidy pushed for policies that would promote a small business friendly environment, building a unique retail environment devoid of chain businesses and corporate influence. He helped to develop and promote the Airborne and Special Forces Museum in Fayetteville, commemorating the area’s military heritage while developing Fayetteville as a tourist destination.
As a city councilman, Aidan worked overtime to be available to his constituents. Many had his home phone number; a number of them attended holiday gatherings at his house. He was highly visible in the community at civic events. Rather than attending in a ceremonial capacity, Cassidy would often volunteer to work at the events, helping to direct traffic, set up, or coordinate security. Due to his law enforcement background and prestigious service record, he became the point of contact between city government and local law enforcement. A close friend of the chief of police, his presence on the city council enhanced communication and understanding between the two organizations.
Having won reelection, Aidan actively engaged with the issues of growth and development confronting the city. His work on development issues brought his policy knowledge and leadership skills to a complex and delicate issue, balancing the many concerns involved and working for a solution to the many questions facing the community.
Aidan Cassidy plans to continue his career in civic government. The issues and challenges addressed thus far in his time on the city council are not fading. As things grow and new issues arise, Cassidy wants to be there to meet them head on. He has no plans to retire; rather he is considering running for a county commission seat in order to work for his community on a new level. All of these positions are unpaid; Aidan does not seek money or power but rather to serve.
He plans to remain active in his church. He and his wife both sit on various church committees and the two have taught Sunday school together for over ten years. His focus on family values and Christian education remains unabated. His eldest daughter has returned to Fayetteville with her new family, and Cassidy enjoys introducing his new grandchild to the world of family, heritage, and faith. Working with small children in a Sunday school environment is a new step for Aidan, and he has rediscovered the joy of helping to raise little ones.
In the midst of this rich full life, he has found time for a few hobbies. An avid reader, he devours every book on history that he encounters. In particular, he finds the story of North Carolina during the Revolution and the American Civil War especially fascinating. His love of the past has led him to explore the various historic sites around the region, making for a great many weekend excursions. He plans to do a tour of Civil War battlefields with his family next summer.
A long career of public service, a life lived to the utmost, and an unerring dedication to family, community, and faith. Aidan Cassidy’s story is rich, and it is far from over.