Danny Jackson has always been interested in politics, but he’s never sought elected office. Until now.
The life-long Republican told the Independent this week that he will file Monday for the District 1 county commissioners seat being vacated by Jarvis McLamb, a seat another Republican from that district, Clark Wooten, has already set his sights on too.
For Jackson, seeking the commissioner’s seat seems the natural thing to do given his penchant for public service, his business background and his love for the county he says he wants to help grow and prosper.
“I’ve thought about this before,” Jackson said of filing for the seat, “but the opportunity presented itself this time around and I accepted it. I’m the candidate the Sampson County Republican Party Search Committee has approved to seek the District 1 seat, and I’m going to do my best to earn it.”
While he’s not held an elected office before, Jackson is no stranger to politics, having served as a precinct chairman, a precinct judge, a member of the Sampson County Republican Party executive committee, vice chairman of the county Republican Party and a member of the 7th Congressional District Executive Committee. He also served as chairman of the David Rouser election committee in Sampson.
He was also a recent member of the Sampson County Board of Elections, a position he relinquished last week as he winds his way toward Monday’s filing and his new role as a GOP candidate.
“I enjoyed my time on the Board of Elections,” Jackson said, “but I thought it was time for me to step into another role.”
That role, should he win what will be a May primary with Wooten leading up to the November election, would be as a commissioner, driven by a desire to be frugal with the county’s money yet supportive of the needs, particularly as it pertains to public safety and growth.
“I fully support growth in Sampson County,” Jackson attested. “We need more industry, but realistically, we probably aren’t going to get an auto plant or something like that. But we can make our county attractive to small businesses and industries that employ 50-100 people. I’m looking industry that wants to come here and wants to stay here, not pick up and leave after only a few years.”
He points to Hog Slat’s purchase of an old industrial building on U.S. 421 in Clinton, noting that having industry committed to the county and willing to refurbish a building is good for Sampson.
“I don’t like to see empty buildings. We want them full and flourishing. Empty buildings do no good.”
He calls himself a conservative in word, action and finance. “I’ve always been a conservative. I’m tight with my money,” he said.
But, at the same time, Jackson acknowledged that frugality doesn’t mean not spending money to meet needs. “You have to spend it in the right way and in the right places,” he said, noting his desire to look at the big picture within county government and hone in on those right places.
“I fully support public safety,” he continued. “Fire and EMS, and the Sheriff’s Department, they are big on my list because they do so much good. We’ve got as good a Sheriff’s Department as any in North Carolina, and the same can be said of our fire and EMS, too.”
Jackson knows first hand the needs in some of those departments, having served as a volunteer for the Spivey’s Corner Fire Department for 19 years. He was, in fact, the first Sampson County firefighter to be certified as a state fire instructor, and he’s taught classes here and in neighboring counties like Duplin, Wayne and Johnston.
He also did a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, stationed in Europe, another testament to his desire to serve others.
Jackson is also no stranger to hard work. He retired after 32 years with Star Telephone, but he didn’t go home and sit on his laurels. Instead he decided to start a second career, this one as a poultry farmer. He has a breeding farm for Case Farms, which, he said, has a large footprint in Sampson. In that business, his farms produce something like 9,000 eggs a day.
“It’s work, but I enjoy it,” Jackson said. “I want to work; I enjoy it. It and public service aren’t new to me. I believe in hard work and serving others, always have and always will.”
Jackson, who attended Mingo Elementary School, Midway High and Sampson Community College, has been married to Joyce Hudson Jackson for the past 43 years. They have two children, Greg Jackson and Tracy Bass, and four grandchildren. He also has a sister, Debra Harris.
He is a member of Shady Grove Original Free Will Baptist Church.
If elected commissioner, he said, one of the things he most would like to do is help bring cohesiveness to a board that has often lacked it. “I want to be a unifying factor on the Board of Commissioners. There seems to have been a lot of tension, and that’s not good for the public or conducive for business. I feel like I could work with other commissioners to help Sampson progress in the future.
“I want to make Sampson County a place where those who come here can feel welcome, be impressed and want to stay,” Jackson stressed.