Saturday, 04 November 2017 16:05

ELECTION COVERAGE: Rockingham and Hoffman Candidate Previews

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RICHMOND COUNTY – With just days before city council elections, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7th, the RO offers its final election preview.

To close out the “Meet the Candidates” previews, the candidates of Rockingham and Hoffman are presented below. In both cities, the incumbents are running uncontested.

While there is no challenge in either election, in Rockingham, the air of competition is ever present. It is not a seat that is up for grabs, but a four-year term. The unopposed incumbents are Anne Edwards, Gene Willard and Denise Sullivan. 

Anne Edwards, who was originally appointed to the council to fill a vacancy left by Travis Billingsley's departure, has now served for two two-year terms.

“Even though there is no opposition I would like to get the four year seat this time” Edwards said. “And the only way to get it is to ask for it.”

Edwards has put out campaign signs so citizens won’t think she takes her seat for granted.

“I believe people have the right to vote and we need to exercise it,” noted Edwards.

Hoffman seats are up for re-election every two years and the incumbents are: Riccardo Anderson, Rory Kevin Jones, Daniel Kelly, and Cynthia A. Northcutt. John D. Taylor is running for the open seat in the council due to lack of filing in time.

Although both mayors are running unopposed, they chose to respond to RO’s profile questions. All candidates were offered the opportunity to respond, although not all of them did.

 

Steve Morris

Age: 72

Office: Mayor (Re- Election)

Resident of Rockingham for 50 years

Why are you running for city council? For those of you not running for the first time, please state why do you wish to continue to hold that position?

I feel that the City Council and I have provided good leadership for our city. Even after going through a national recession for over eight years, Rockingham’s bond rating has remained strong. The City is debt free and we have helped many new businesses make Rockingham their new home. And our tax rate is the same rate as it was seventeen years ago.

How will your experience, background knowledge, and unique abilities help you to best serve the city if re-elected to council?

I owned my own business for over forty years and I understand the monetary requirements of the City. I know the importance of delivering great customer service to our customers (tax payers and visitors), as well as meeting the needs of our 130 employees.

We are constantly searching for ways to improve our working environments, provide the best and newest equipment for our employees so they can work more efficiently and safely, and pay them a reasonable wage to support themselves and their families. We have built our infrastructure not to just get by, but to support expansion and growth for our future needs.

For incumbents with no opponents, can you speak to why you believe this is so?

I believe that the citizens of Rockingham are interested in their City and are well informed on the things that are happening here. Do we make mistakes? Sure we do, but we try to minimize the effects of them, learn from them, and not repeat them. Perhaps my biggest  opponent is apathy. The City constantly strives to be transparent and get more people involved in the things happening in Rockingham.

 

 Gene Willard

Age: 73

Office: City Council (Re-Election)

Lifelong resident of Rockingham

Why are you running for city council? For those of you not running for the first time, please state why do you wish to continue to hold that position?

To serve the citizens of the city of Rockingham to continue projects and see completion.  My family and I reside in the city and want the very best for all citizens.

How will your experience, background knowledge, and unique abilities help you to best serve the city if re-elected to council?

I am experienced in business ownership, which involved working with the public on a daily basis for over 40 years.  It has been exciting to have watched the city grow over the last 14 years while serving and under the leadership of Council.  We have been privileged to see the opening of Hitchcock “Blue Trail”, Hinson Lake, Discovery Place, renovations to the fire and police departments with no tax increases to name a few.

For incumbents with no opponents, can you speak to why you believe this is so?

The job of serving is time consuming and requires dedication which can be taxing at times.

 

Anne Edwards

Age: 61

Office: City  Council (Re-election)

Resident of Rockingham for 57 years

Why are you running for city council? For those of you not running for the first time, please state why do you wish to continue to hold that position?

I  would like to obtain a four-year seat on the council. I feel that the longer you are on the board, the more you learn, so you are better able to serve the citizens.

How will your experience, background knowledge, and unique abilities help you to best serve the city if re-elected to council?

I have had the opportunity to work in various fields in my life: construction, real estate and a cooperative electric company. All of these jobs allowed me to deal closely with the public. I have always wanted to help others when I could, and serving on this board allows me to do so. I have served on the board for Rockingham Rotary and as the President of Rotary. I served on the campaign committee for Discovery Place Kids.

For incumbents with no opponents, can you speak to why you believe this is so?

This year is unique in that that all three candidates are returning to the council unopposed. I feel that it shows that the majority of citizens are satisfied and feel good about what changes we are making in Rockingham.

 

Tommy Hart

Age: 61

Office: Mayor (Re-election)

 Resident of Hoffman all his life

Why are you running for city council? For those of you not running for the first time, please state why do you wish to continue to hold that position?

I am running because I care to serve the people in the City of Hoffman. When I was young and growing into my teens, there were more businesses, stores, farms, cotton gins and even schools so that children would not have to travel so far for education. And now there about two stores left in the whole town of Hoffman and the post office has moved to Marston, N.C. My hope is to see some businesses come back into the City of Hoffman.

How will your experience, background knowledge, and unique abilities help you to best serve the city if re-elected to council?

I will be the Mayor of Hoffman for four years in December. I have gained a lot of wisdom and I am still learning more and more each day. The position looks easy, however, there’s a difference when a person is in the position. With the knowledge I have gained, I believe it is good for me to continue this journey. Plus, I truly enjoy serving the people in the community.

For incumbents with no opponents, can you speak to why you believe this is so?

We have a couple of projects in progress at this time. The first phase of the sewer system is in progress now. And I would love to see the sewer system completed in the entire city. The new park is in progress and I hope to have it finished in the near future. With so much progress, I believe it makes sense for me to stay in the position as Mayor to see them through to the end.

 

John D. Taylor

Age:81

Office: City Council

Resident of Hoffman for 22 years

Why are you running for city council? For those of you not running for the first time, please state why do you wish to continue to hold that position?

This is a small town and have not seen many people wanting to run. For what reason, I don't know what to expect. It is hard to be in a position where not much can be done and trying to please people is hard this day in time, but if you are going to live in a town, someone has to try.

How will your experience, background knowledge, and unique abilities help you to best serve the city if re-elected to council?

I am retired from the state of North Carolina, and have had to make budgets for a prison with up to 600 inmates and 200 plus staff. I have supervised seven prisons with better than 600 staff and over 1,000 inmates . I started a boot camp for youthful offenders (male and female) and maintained it for 13 years. I was a jail administrator for 18 months after retiring. I just like working with people and for people.

For incumbents with no opponents, can you speak to why you believe this is so?

I think there are some very good people who could do a much better job than I can. But they just don't have the time or want to get involved, and I may wish I had not before it is over.  

Ellerbe candidate Jean C. Fletcher missed the Richmond Observer edition on Friday and wanted an opportunity to speak to the public. Below is her profile.

 

Jean C. Fletcher

City Council (Re-Election)

Why are you running for city council? For those of you not running for the first time, please state why do you wish to continue to hold that position?

I believe that I bring not only a caring personality to the town council, but am also someone who loves Ellerbe and is willing to work hard to improve everyone's life in our small hometown. I have lived in Ellerbe all my life and want to make Ellerbe the best place to live in Richmond County.

How will your experience, background knowledge, and unique abilities help you to best serve the city if re-elected to council?

I work for Walmart and have been at the Rockingham store for 28 years. I am currently working as a receiving clerk and I also serve as the community coordinator for the store. I am actively involved in United Way, Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, am a Rankin Museum board member, work with the Children Miracle Network, am a Chairman for the Ellerbe Farmers Day 5k race, and am a North Carolina Jaycees Senate member and assist with Relay for Life.

I am very active in both the First Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church in Ellerbe, and serve as the Chairperson of the Ellerbe Hometown Christmas celebration. Through these combined efforts and my tenured experience on the council, I feel I am fully capable of continuing to fulfil this job to the best of my ability.

What is your opinion of your opponent, and what challenges does he/she present? For incumbents with no opponents, can you speak to why you believe this is so?

I can’t speak on my opponents, but  I will continue to work to increase local business, increase the quality for life for our residents, clean our neighborhoods, and keep our town safe for everyone. 

Last modified on Sunday, 05 November 2017 17:06