Tuesday, 24 November 2020 09:47

GOP picks Dawkins to take Moss' seat on Richmond County Board of Commissioners

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ROCKINGHAM — Local Republicans have picked their choice to fill the seat on the Richmond County Board of Commissioners recently vacated by Ben Moss.

The Richmond County Republican Party Executive Committee announced in a press release Tuesday morning that it had selected Justin Dawkins for the spot.

“Justin’s  belief in building trust through transparency and an open willingness to listen to the concerns of  all citizens will be a positive force on the Board, and will lead to a better Richmond County for everyone,” Party Chairman Jerry Austin said in the release. “We look forward to his approval by the Board of Commissioners.” 

Dawkins works as director of operations for the von Drehle Corporation’s Cordova plant. Over the past 15 years, he has worked for several industries in capacities ranging from engineer to leadership, according to the release.

Dawkins said he was “excited and humbled” for the opportunity.

“I appreciate the  progress and growth that the current and former Commissioners have been part of in the recent  past,” Dawkins said. “I look forward to building off of their accomplishments by continuing Richmond County’s  strong recent track record of economic development. Improving relationships between the county and municipalities is something that I feel strongly about, as only by working together can we move forward to a better future for all.” 

Dawkins also gained Moss’ stamp of approval.

“Justin’s willingness and desire to actively listen to the citizens of Richmond County will assist  the Board in being receptive and responsive to the concerns of everyone,” Moss said. “His business  knowledge and background will be a wonderful asset that will help the county continue the  economic growth and development that we’ve experienced over the last decade. I can say, without hesitation, that Justin will be an excellent commissioner.” 

Moss announced his resignation Monday. He was recently elected to the N.C. House of Representatives District 66 seat after defeating Scott Brewer, who was appointed to the seat in mid-2019.

While at von Drehle, Dawkins has focused on organizational culture, values-based leadership and continuous improvement “to serve an engaged and empowered work family that strives to make a positive impact in their professional and personal lives, as well as their community,” the release states.

Under Dawkins’ leadership, according to the release, von Drehle has been active with the Richmond County Special Olympics and, in 2018, the company was named the North Carolina Special Olympics’ Corporation of the Year.

Dawkins was recently elected to the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and serves as an active member of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Policy committee.

He also serves as treasurer for Rockingham Masonic Lodge 495 and recently joined First Baptist Church in Rockingham.

The decision of Moss’ replacement is up to the current board, according to statute. Some counties allow the party to pick the replacement.

If Dawkins is selected, there will be four Republicans on the board.

Jeff Smart, Toni Maples and Andy Grooms were the top three vote-getters in the election earlier this month.

Grooms was challenged to a recount by Michael Legrand, who was behind by fewer than 85 votes. The recount was held Monday, with Legrand only picking up one new vote.

Moss was the first Republican elected as a Richmond County commissioner in more than a century and served as the sole member of the GOP for a decade.