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HCDP Leadership Spotlight: Michelle Antalec, Chair

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Growing up in Louisiana, HCDP chair Michelle Antalec remembers canvassing and working the New Orleans voting polls with her grandmother. “Being active in politics has always been my passion,” she said. “It feels comfortable and it’s so good to be directly involved again.”

Michelle knew she would study political science in college. She did an undergraduate degree at Millsaps College and served as a Senate intern during her junior year. During her studies, she discovered she also liked business and went on to get a master’s degree in finance from Louisiana State University. She spent her career in risk management, moving to Flat Rock when she married her husband, Michael Bell, in 2014.

“Over the years, I had stayed somewhat active in politics, doing phone banking for Obama and other things,” she said. “When I moved to Flat Rock, I was asked to be precinct chair, and that’s how I became more involved with HCDP. I was precinct chair three times and served as first vice chair under Cindy Ellis. Earlier this year I was able to stop working full time and I had also built up a knowledge of North Carolina after living here for nine years, so I finally had enough time and resources to consider being chair.”

She was elected at the County Convention in April.

As chair, Michelle facilitates, organizes, administers, and serves as Number 1 Cheerleader. “I want to continue the trend Cindy did so well of improving voter turn-out and providing support to candidates. We are really trying to have no uncontested seats this year, but my most important function is to empower our Get Out the Vote efforts.”

Despite restrictive voting laws passed by the state’s Republican controlled general assembly earlier this year, Michelle has an upbeat attitude and sees many factors working in favor of democrats in Henderson County.

“Demographics are changing as more people move into Henderson County from out of state and also from Asheville. We have a great community of Democrats and progressive unaffiliates, and when we vote, we win.

“We’re also working on a plan to help people get voter IDs and to help provide paper copies of IDs for absentee voters.”

Beyond HCDP, Michelle and her husband enjoy spending time with their six four-legged children—Miles Davis, Dizzy Doodle, Thai, Teddy, Ryan and Lyla. During the past year, they hosted a Japanese exchange student, and Michelle is honorary Auntie and mentor to a Georgia Tech graduate student from Cameroon. In the past she has been involved in theatre and still enjoys supporting theatre productions.

“I feel that my main strength is that I can get along with almost anyone and connect with people, so this is a good role for me. I’m a negotiator and I know how to take feedback. I’m excited.”


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