By CALVIN ADKINS
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Tarboro Town Councilman Rick Page announced that he will seek the mayor seat for the town of Tarboro. The first term politician's is currently Ward 3 councilman.
"There has been an outpour of people who have asked me to run," Page said. "With that said, I talked to some people and I believe that this will be a good time for me to run. I believe that I'm a viable candidate."
Page, who has served as mayor pro tem retired as the electric utility director after 24 years. His announcement came a couple of weeks after Mayor Donald Morris announced that he would not seek re-election. Morris had been on the town council for 32 years and served as mayor for 18. During The Daily Southerner interview with Morris about his retirement, he did not endorse a candidate but said he hoped that the next mayor be someone who was fair to all citizens and also be willing to do what best for the town.
Morris's decision not to run has left the town council in the hands of seven politicians that have served either one or two terms. Councilman Al Hull is currently the second longest tenured councilman on the board behind Morris's 32 years with six years of service.
Since 2007, the Tarboro Town Council has been completely overhauled. The change has removed approximately 100 years of combined service and experience.
Today Hull, the second most senior member of the body with five years' service under his belt, began the overhaul trend by defeating 21-year veteran councilman Fred Williams in 2007. In the same year, former Councilman Melvin Muhammad defeated 25-year veteran Roland Clark. Muhammad did not run in 2012.
In 2009 four more veterans were ousted including the first women council members for the Town of Tarboro.
Making history was Gerrelene Walker, who defeated Buck Price. Price served six years. Candis Owens was elected the same year by beating three-term councilman John Jenkins.
Other council members elected in 2009 were, Page replacing Danny Hayes who chose not to run after 14 years; and Taro Knight defeating eight-year veteran, Roy Gray.
In 2012 two more women were elected when Carol Furlough Ruffin defeated 12-year veteran Jim Alford and Deborah Faye Jordan Dew was elected to replace Muhammad. Garland Shepheard was also elected in 2012. Shepheard replaced former Tarboro Police Chief Robert Cherry who filled the unexpired term of Dr. Steve Hoard. Hoard resigned his post due to illness. He later passed away.
"Right now we have a fairly young council," Page said. "I believe that I can lead them to do what best for the town."
Knight dispelled rumors that he would become the viable leader of the young council. Knight endorsed Page.
"Rick Page will be a fine mayor and he has my support,"Knight said. "I have confidence that he will do a fine job. As for me running, I'm 98 percent sure that I will not run and I have until July to determine the 2 percent. My ultimate goal is to do specifically what is best for Ward 7 and in general for all the people of Tarboro."
Filling begins for all of Edgecombe County municipal election on July 5 while the election is set for November. Winners of the election will be sworn-in in January.