The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 30, 2013

Wooten named new District 4 commissioner


The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Commissioners on Monday accepted the Edgecombe County Democratic Party’s nomination and appointed William “Billy” Wooten, to fill the seat vacated by Charlie Harrell.

Harrell abruptly resigned from the board of commissioners Jan. 7  after serving 22 years in District 4 citing, “It’s time to give someone else a chance.” Harrell was an advocate for Wooten, but did not attend the meeting.

On Monday, the board interviewed Wooten for about 10-minutes. When he was asked, “Why do you want to serve as a commissioner,” he responded with, “I have a sense of wanting to give back. I have a loving passion for this place, Edgecombe County – Tarboro, my family, I’ve been blessed with moderate success and I believe it is my time. I believe that (with) the skill set I’ve required over the last 42 years, that it is my time to give back to this community whatever way that I can. And this seems like an opportunity for me to give back.”

After the interview, the board went into a short closed session to discuss the appointment before unanimously choosing the 42-year-old Tarboro native as the new commissioner for District 4.

Wooten was the only candidate suggested by the Edgecombe County Democratic Party and the only candidate known to have filed an application for the seat. He said he believes he has a lot to offer.

“What I bring as an individual is leadership qualities and my experience in business and as an entrepreneur,” he said. “As an existing business owner, I have a large vested interest in Edgecombe County. I got skin in the game.”

Wooten’s experience as a businessman may assist him with the transition from citizen to politics, although he will have a tough task ahead to fill Harrell’s shoes. Harrell served 22 years, including 12 as the chairman and another four as the vice chairman. Wooten appears to be poised for the job.

“I’m honored to receive the appointment and I hope that I can make a difference in District 4 and the county at-large,” Wooten said. “I’m going to take the opportunity to see what initiatives they are working on at this time and if I can bring some additional initiatives centered on economic development to improve the county and District 4.”

Wooten, 42, is the youngest of the seven-panel board, but has 20 years of experience in business. Those years have led him from owning shares in Kan Ban Logistics to becoming the CEO and acting president of the Edgecombe County company as well as its primary stock holder.

Although the commissioner’s seat is the first political position he will hold, he has served on several civic organization boards including president of the Rotary Club of Tarboro, Tarboro-Edgecombe Chambers of Commerce, and Edgecombe County Veterans Museum.

Shortly after he received the unanimous vote, he got his first taste of real politics when the board went into closed session to discuss a personnel matter. There was no action taken after the short session.

Wooten will be sworn in at the February board meeting and, for at least two years, he said he plans to dedicate himself to improving District 4 and Edgecombe County.

“I appreciated the opportunity that the board has given me,” Wooten said. “My family and I have been here for many generations. It’s the first time that I’ve been in a position to give back to the county at-large.

He said it was too early to say whether he will run for the seat when it comes up for election in 2014.

“I don’t know. I want to see what good I can bring. if I can bring some good what so ever,” he said. “I work good with others on this board If I feel that I’m making a difference in the county at-large and in my district then I will see myself running.”

Wooten is married to Margaret Ann Wooten. The couple has two children, Virginia, 11 and Wil,l 9.