The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

October 7, 2013

Candidates solicit votes at forum


TARBORO — Candidates for the Tarboro council and Princeville commissioner seats sought to give voters reasons to mark their names on the Nov. 5 ballot during the Edgecombe County Human Relation Commission forum at Edgecombe Community College Thursday.

In Tarboro incumbent Gerrelene Walker is vying for Ward 1 seat against Carl Benson and Otha Woodard. Benson did not attend the forum.

During Walker's opening statement, she said ran because she believed that she had the knowledge to be effective because of her experience as a certified public accountant. Walker voluntarily surrendered her license for two years

"I knew a lot, but I didn't know as much as I've learned in the last four years," Walker said. "It's a big learning experience."

"(The) Last four years we have grown some jobs and I want to stay on council because I see an opportunity to have more jobs coming to Tarboro. I want to attract as we have in the last six months, more young people back to Tarboro. I see a lot of good things happening in Tarboro."

Woodard, who is running for public office for the first time, said he would like to improve employment, education and the relationship between the council and the citizens.

"I want to bring more jobs in the area. I want to help bring better education, recreation and opportunities for everyone," he said. "I want collaboration between municipalities and the communities and the county as well as the private sector. I want to bring the government closer to the people and the people closer to the government. We have to take new energy, new blood,  and new ideas into our system."

In Ward 3 only one candidate — Leshaun Jenkins — attended the forum.

Jenkins is a 13 year-veteran teacher at Tarboro High School. If elected, he said he hopes to use his experience as an educator to help improve the welfare of the town.  

"I think it is essential as the climate of education begins to change, (that) we have to understand the changes and we have to be prepared and equipped to make the adjustments as the changes begin to impact the citizens of the historic town of Tarboro," he said. "I believe I'm the person to not only bring that perspective, but I'm also equipped with the intellect and the skill set to bring that perspective and perception to our town council. If I'm elected I will be a voice for the citizens of Tarboro in Ward 3."

Incumbent Candis Owens, who is currently serving her first term is seeking reelection for Ward 5. Owens defeated John Jenkins in 2009. Jenkins, who is challenging Owens, did not attend the forum.

Owens said she is interested in being reelected because, "I love, love, love Tarboro.

One of my biggest ideas is transparency. I have pre agenda meetings at house or library. you can come to my house and talk about the (council) agenda for the last four years.

"I want to enhance the quality of life and that is happening in Tarboro through the America in Bloom. If you have a pretty town for the people to come into, they will want to spend their money here and they might want to buy a house here."

Ward 7 councilman, Taro Knight, is running unopposed. Knight is currently serving as the mayor pro tem and, after mayor Donald Morris abruptly resigned in August, was given the power of the mayor.   

Like the majority of the candidates. Knight's platform included bringing jobs to Tarboro.

"Everybody said they want to grow jobs," he said. "I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm not going to bring one single job to Taboro. What I'm going to do, as a council person, is create an environment by setting sound policies that businesses will want to come here, and where people want to stay here."

For Princeville, Ward 3, JoeRoam Myrick is running against Incumbent Isabelle Purvis-Andrews. Purvis Andrews did not attend the forum.

Myrick, a first-time candidate, is a deputy with the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office.

"The reason why I'm running is to help develop the town of Princeville," he said. Myrick said there are lots of issues that need to be addressed to improve the town. He said the leaders of the town are responsible for making improvements.

Princeville Ward 4 seat has three candidates — incumbent Calvin Sherrod, Tyrone Hopkins and Pamela Ransome. Hopkins did not attend the forum.

"My interest is to bring unity to the board of  Princeville as well as the citizens of  Princeville, Ransome said. "I am really concern about people to use there voices to be heard as well a s working to bring jobs and bring closure to this tug of water that has been going on in Princeville.

Sherrod said, "It's a lot of things happening in Princeville. Princeville is going to do better. I think I can play a big part in that. If you live in Prinveville I would like your vote."