Daniel Ruggles, the former Sampson County Republican Party chairman and lifetime resident of Clinton’s District 1, has filed to represent his hometown district on the City Council.
Ruggles filed on Friday, the first day of the filing period for the municipal election. Ruggles was surrounded by family and friends, including wife Lillian and their children Marian Taylor, 2, affectionately known as “Mary T,” and Silas, 6 months.
“I’ve lived in Clinton my whole life,” Ruggles attested. He rented a house down the street from his father’s on Stewart Avenue about eight years ago and went on to purchase the home, where the couple — his wife is from Fayetteville — now live with their children.
Ruggles was home-schooled as a child, but took part in athletics through the Clinton Recreation Department and even Clinton High School, where he played soccer. He was also involved in the Boy Scouts of America and went on to study at Sampson Community College.
“I was born at Sampson Memorial Hospital back before it was Sampson Regional, which is in District 1. Then I was raised on Stewart, and I still live there,” Ruggles remarked. “So I’ve literally lived in District 1 my whole life. I’ve sort of thought about running for several years and I’ve been in politics for several years.”
Current District 1 Councilman Steve Stefanovich’s term expires at the end of 2017 and he has alluded to the distinct possibility he will not seek another. He has been assisting with Go Automotive’s pre-owned location on Carolina Beach Road, Wilmington, ever since his daughter Annie announced last year that she would be giving birth — Stefanovich’s first grandchild.
“There are a lot of knowns and a lot of unknowns,” Stefanovich said in October 2016 upon Go Automotive’s sale of its Clinton dealership to Deacon Jones. “I will finish out my City Council term. I will fulfill that obligation, then we’ll figure it out after that.”
With Stefanovich looking to move on and the Ruggles just getting settled as a young family in Clinton, Ruggles said the timing was right.
“For us, the timing was just perfect,” the Council hopeful said. “So I went ahead and threw my hat in early, just to go ahead and put my name out there. I’ve always enjoyed politics, but a lot of politics is Raleigh-based, where it’s either a full-time job or you have to travel.”
Technically an employee for Safe Data Inc. out of Wallace, Ruggles works primarily with Triad Farms, a contractor for Smithfield Hog Production. Working closely with the Salmon family, Ruggles helps in the operation of two sow farms as well as a computer company. Duties can include everything from managing contracts, human resources and purchasing orders to mowing grass.
“I do a little bit of everything,” Ruggles noted.
In the political arena, Ruggles said it was about 10 years ago that he affiliated himself with the Republican Party. He delved into local politics, serving as chairman of the Sampson County Young Republicans, vice-chairman of the North Carolina Young Republicans and then as chairman of the Sampson County Republican Party, to name a few.
He served a single two-year term as the county GOP chairman, succeeding Curtis Barwick. Telia Kivett just replaced Ruggles in that capacity. Ruggles said the county chairman’s seat offered him a chance to forge relationships with other elected officials and help them with their campaigns, while reaffirming the desire to run for City Council.
“I like what they have been doing with downtown revitalization,” Ruggles stated. “I’ve grown up here so I’ve used a lot of the services. My goals would be to continue the positive changes that have been going on.”
Along with the revitalization downtown, he noted similar efforts being undertaken at Royal Lane Park, which he said was “way overdue,” as well as Fisher Drive.
Ruggles said that, with all the hats he has worn over the years in his professional life, along with the political connections he has built on the local, state and federal level over the past decades, Ruggles said he believed he can be a very effective leader for his hometown.
“I’ve lived in the town my whole life; I’ve lived in the district my whole life — it’s home,” Ruggles attested. “I like what they’re doing, and I just want to build upon that and continue it. This district is just a part of me. It’s in my heart.”
Along with the District 1 seat, three others in Clinton will be up for grabs in the upcoming election, including the seat occupied by longtime Mayor Lew Starling, as well as those of Mayor Pro-Tem Marcus Becton of District 3, and Councilman Darue Bryant, recently appointed to the District 5 helm to fill the late Maxine Harris’ unexpired term.
Carberry files for Garland
Joseph Lee Carberry, a retired veteran and law enforcement officer, filed to have his name on the ballot for the upcoming election.
“A lot of people came up to me talking about it,” Carberry said about becoming a Garland Commissioner. “I thought they were joking. But they said I was the kind of person who believes something is either right or it’s wrong. I don’t have a grey area.
He added that he’s not a political person, but expressed how he believes in doing the right thing when it comes to certain matters. The upcoming election, will be Carberry’s first time running for office.
“I’m very vocal about things,” Carberry said.
Carberry helps the town through maintenance work such as mowing grass and raising flags in downtown.
“If they need me to do something, I just go do it,” he said about performing needed tasks in town.
If elected, Carberry said he’s willing to help with any committee on the commission. Some of them include safety, streets, recreation and buildings. He would like to see Garland become better with more businesses coming to town.
Originally from Clinton, Carberry has called Garland home for about 12 years. He moved to the Garland area to serve as a Sampson County Sheriff’s deputy and to be closer to his girlfriend Roxanne Jones, a native of White Lake. They later got married.
After graduating from Clinton High School in 1991, he joined the National Guard, where he became a Military Policeman. Some of his military experience includes tours in Iraq. Carberry was discharged from the Army in 2011, with experience as a squad leader and platoon sergeant. In addition to his work with the sheriff’s office, he was also a contract police officer in Fayetteville. Carberry’s law enforcement experience also includes working for Garland’s police department, which closed because of financial matters.
As of Monday evening, Carberry is the first from Garland to file for Tuesday, Nov. 7 election. Terms for Mayor Winifred Murphy, Mayor Pro-Tem Haywood Johnson, Commissioner S.J. Smith and Commissioner Carolyn Melvin are set to expire this year.
The filing period will end at noon Friday, July 21, at the Sampson County Board of Elections, 120 County Complex Road, Building F, Suite 110, Clinton.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.