Monday, 03 August 2020 22:26

Maples 'excited' to be on ballot for Richmond County commissioners' board

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Toni Maples and husband, Chris. Toni Maples and husband, Chris. Courtesy Toni Maples

ROCKINGHAM — It’s been “a whirlwind afternoon” for Toni Maples since finding out she was selected to replace Lee Berry on the ballot as a Republican candidate for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. 

“I’m excited,” she said Monday night. “I think this is a good thing for me.”

Maples received notification at 5 p.m. that she had been chosen by the Richmond County Republican Party executive committee to fill the vacancy.

Berry withdrew from the race July 24, citing health issues with his son who has Dravet syndrome.

Originally from Cheraw, South Carolina, Maples moved to Richmond County at age 10.

After high school, she obtained an associate degree from Richmond Community College, a bachelors from Greensboro College and a Masters in School Administration from Liberty University.

Maples worked as a teacher in Richmond County Schools for 19 years, but recently took a job in South Carolina.

She joined the county Republican Party in 2013 and was immediately voted in as secretary, a position she has held since, but will now have to give up because of her candidacy.

For the past several years, she said her and husband Chis Maples  who previously worked as constituent relations manager for Congressman Richard Hudson when Richmond County was in his district and currently works as district director for Rep. Dan Bishop — had been tossing around the idea of her running for office.

Being a teacher would have caused a conflict of interest if she had previously tried to run, since the commissioners allocate funding for the school system. However, by taking the job at Cheraw High School, that door opened.

Maples said when she decided to put her name in the proverbial hat for the vacancy, she found that several others had already done so.

In addition to her work as a teacher and with the party, Maples has been an ambassador for the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, a coach, a scoutmaster and served as chair for the Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build.

She is also in the process of joining VFW Post 4203 Auxiliary, saying veterans issues are close to her heart because of her husband’s service in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army and his being injured while serving in the latter branch.

But just because she isn’t a member, doesn’t mean she hasn’t been active.

Maples has been on the committee for the Veterans Day Parade, organized by the Auxiliary and has had students help make signs for the floats.

She was even nominated for and won VFW Teacher of the Year for the local nine-county district.

“I’m just a firm believer in being out in the community,” she said. “And that’s what I encourage my students to do.”

And whether it’s for school or political candidates, Maples said she’s never been one to shy away from asking for financial or other help from the community.

As a teacher, Maples said she always kept food and hygiene items for students to take if they needed them.

This past year, she decided to embark on a community service project, soliciting donations through social media to fill bags of supplies for needy students. Maples said by the end, the community had donated enough for 400 bags.

Toni and Chris Maples have one son, Alex, who has been married for about a year.