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Candidates solicit votes

CONWAY – Five candidates for the office of Northampton County Commissioner gathered at a political forum in the Ashley’s Grove community near here Thursday evening.

Among those in attendance were the two candidates vying to replace retiring Commissioner James C. Boone (D-3rd). The two party nominees are Republican Rose Sumner and Democrat Chester Deloatch Sr.

Also on the agenda were Commissioner Fannie P. Greene, a Democrat, and her challenger Charles “Chuck” Youse, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate.

Commissioner Robert V. Carter (D-4th) is running unopposed for his third term on the board and was also in attendance.

Each of the five candidates were allotted eight minutes to speak to the audience and provide the platform under which they were seeking office.

Moderator Willard Futrell began the evening’s festivities by saying he was pleased with the history of success the forums had enjoyed.

He also thanked the candidates for making time to come to the forum.

“I am so pleased these folks would take time to come out and be with us,” he said.

Futrell also reminded the voters that election day was November 7 and said voting was something people should take as a responsibility.

“This is a serious issue,” he said. “I’m afraid it’s more serious than people understand. It’s unfortunate for everyone.”

After providing the welcome, Futrell said each candidate would have eight minutes to speak followed by a five-minute question session with the audience.

During his time with the group, Carter said he felt privileged to serve the people of Northampton County.

“I am the elected county commissioner for the fourth district of this great county,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to serve the people for eight years. I stand before you asking for your support and prayers for four more years.”

Carter said his agenda for the next four years would be the same it had been for the past eight as an elected official. The agenda included public safety, education, economic development and recreation.

Carter outlined the county budget, saying that 7.2 percent of the budget went to health services, 19.2 percent went to general government, 37.3 to public education and 36.2 percent to the Department of Social Services.

He said of the 22 thousand residents of Northampton County, 37 percent are eligible for Medicaid, driving the county’s cost for that service up to $2.3 million.

“North Carolina is the lone state in the United States in which local government pays for Medicaid,” Carter said.

Carter said the last eight years had seen growth in the county, pointing to the addition of Lowe’s Distribution Center and Fineline in Woodland. He said the two companies had added more than 1,100 jobs and $450,000 in taxes.

“There are bigger and bigger things to come,” he said.

He addressed an earlier question about the increase in the budget, saying the county had increased the budget, but there had only been one increase in taxes in the eight years.

Further information about the two contested commissioner races will be in future editions of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.