Familiar faces will be seeking reelection in county and state races, making it official as soon the filing period for the 2018 general election opened Monday.
Sen. Brent Jackson, representing N.C. Senate’s 10th district, is seeking his fifth term. The Clinton-born farmer currently resides in Autryville. As a legislator, he represents Sampson, Duplin and the southeastern part of Johnston County.
“Serving the people of Duplin, Johnston and Sampson counties in the State Legislature has been one of the biggest honors of my life,” Jackson stated. “I appreciate the support and trust that everyone has shown me since I was first elected. Together, we have accomplished many great achievements to move North Carolina forward. We have reformed our tax code, balanced the budget every year, rebuilt the Rainy Day Fund to its highest level ever, passed five Farm Acts and the list goes on and on.”
“However, there is still work to be done,” the senator stated, “and it would be a privilege to continue to serve our state in the General Assembly.”
Jackson is co-chairman of both the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee and the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commissio. He also serves on the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee, Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate, Senate Finance Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.
He is a founding member of the Agriculture and Rural Caucus of the N.C. General Assembly and was elected to the legislative board of the international organization State Agriculture and Rural Leaders in January 2014. He is the co-founder and previous president and CEO of Jackson Farming Company of Autryville.
For the Sampson County Board of Commissioners, Republicans Clark H. Wooten (District 1) and Sue Lee (District 3) made their reelection bids official. Wooten and Lee were both elected to their first terms back in 2014, Lee making history as the first female county commissioner in Sampson. Wooten and Lee serve as chairman and vice-chair, respectively.
Lee has actually served as vice-chair her entire tenure, first under former chairman Billy Lockamy and now Wooten, who took the gavel at the end of 2016.
Away from the board, Lee owns the award-winning Precision Tool & Stamping, Inc. with husband of 46 years, Tart. The couple have two sons, Brandon and Justin, who both work at the Clinton-based business, which has been in operation for the better part of four decades. She is a member of First Baptist Church and has been heavily involved as PTSO president for multiple terms with various city schools.
Wooten has been the representative of District 1 for more than three years, succeeding Jarvis McLamb, who threw his support behind Wooten in 2014. Wooten has two children, Houston and Celia. He is the owner of turfgrass production company Tri-State Turf Inc. at Timothy Crossroads, in the Spivey’s Corner area of Sampson.
Republican Sheriff Jimmy Thornton, who has been elected to four consecutive terms, will be seeking his fifth.
Thornton has served as sheriff for nearly 16 years, since his election in 2002 and is now seeking his fifth term. When he first ran, his campaign revolved around three main objectives — build a new jail, increase drug enforcement and implement a renewed attack on domestic violence.
Those promises have been kept, he attested.
Thornton, joined by wife of 44 years Betsy at his filing, said he believes the Sheriff’s Office has established itself as a reputable agency in his tenure, and said he is humbled by the confidence of the citizens and the hard work of the men and women who are in his charge.
“I certainly feel like there is a lot of credibility and trust in us. I believe in what we do and using the resources it takes to do the job,” said Thornton. “It certainly has been a pleasure being sheriff, knowing that you are able to help somebody. I’m dead-focused on making lives better for the people of this county and I will not deviate from that.”
Both of Sampson’s N.C. House representatives will also see their terms expire this year, with current N.C. Rep. Dr. Larry M. Bell previously announcing he would not seek a 10th term to the District 21 seat. Rep. William Brisson (District 22), who underwent a midterm party swap to the GOP back in the fall, is expected to see Democratic competition in the primaries.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.