Next to supporters, Willie Bowden Sr. filed Monday to become a Sampson County Commissioner for District 3.
The retired law enforcement officer believes it’s important for community members to be involved in local government. He feels that residents should have a choice to hear different view points. During the upcoming election, Bowden hopes everyone participates in the political process.
If elected, Bowden said he would like to reinstate the retirement system for county employees and have a merit process installed. Bowden said he would also like to see more hiring from within by department leaders in the county, especially if they have many years of service.
“I’m looking forward to, if we can, to enact some rules and regulations to do some hiring from within our own departments,” he said. “I want to review the pay scale, we’re training people and then we’re losing them because of low pay.
“We give them training and they list it as job experience on their application or resume and they go to a higher paying job,” he said. “Then we’ll have to put money in training all over again. The cycle continues …”
He added that it will help the tax base as well. The Democrat candidate is originally from Duplin County, but has called Clinton home for more than 30 years. After graduating from college, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he retired as a sergeant. He served in the Vietnam War.
“At that time, there was nothing to do in Duplin County, except join the military or go back to farming,” Bowden said. “I chose the military and it gave me a chance to get out, see a few things and take some educational courses.”
After military service, he got involved with law enforcement. His career began in the Midwest with Zion, Ill. Police Department; the U.S. Navy; and the Clinton Police Department. Bowden said he moved back to North Carolina because of the cold winters of Lake Michigan and for health matters related to his wife, Josie. Together they had two children. Their daughter Kimberly Louise, passed away; and their son Willie Bowden Jr. is a Sampson County Sheriff’s deputy. Bowden is the pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. He’s been a member of the church for 33 years.
He is the first Democrat to file for the District 3 seat. Republican and incumbent Sue Lee recently filed for the position. For District 1, Republican and current commissioner Clark H. Wooten filed too. Wooten and Lee were both elected to their first terms back in 2014 and serve as chairman and vice-char, respectively.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.