As the 2018 filing period comes to a close, the candidates can now begin the process of campaigning to secure the votes of the Sampson County residents.
The filing period for the 2018 election ended Wednesday at noon after several more threw their hats in, including current Clinton City Schools superintendent Dr. Stuart Blount, who announced his retirement effective April 1. That filing secured the third and final seat on the Board. The run for Sampson County Clerk of Court and the Sampson County Board of Education both have multiple people vying for seats.
The two uncontested races are those of current Sampson County Commissioners chair Clark Wooten and District Attorney Ernie Lee.
Following the appointment to the Clerk of Court’s position, Dwight Williams Jr. is among the seven candidate, three Democrats and four Republicans, who will be on the ballot come May. Williams (R), is joined by fellow Republicans Chris Driver, Barbara Moore and Chris Fann. Democrats running include Brent Baggett, Tammy Grady and Jerry Bradshaw.
Three candidates filed Wednesday before the end of the period for a seat on the Board of Education. Filing were Bradley Jackson, Shea Autry and Robert Burley Jr. With those filing Wednesday for the four empty seats, the race now has seven candidate in the mix.
Filing Wednesday morning, Jackson said he wants to “use his talents and experience to advocate for the students and staff of Sampson County Schools as the county poises for future growth and challenges.”
Jackson is a graduate of Midway High School, N.C. State University and Methodist University. He worked for 14 years in accounting with eight of those years as the controller at Sampson Regional Medial Center.
He now runs J2H Farms with his brother.
Also filing Wednesday were Autry, of Autryville and Burley, of Harrells. Other candidates are Kim Schmidlin, Daryll Warren, Sonya Powell and Janice Williams.
Sampson County Sheriff
Kemley Pickett wants to continue his law enforcement career as sheriff of Sampson County.
Pickett, a Democrat, added his name to the sheriff’s race Wednesday, filing against current sheriff Jimmy Thornton (R) and Freddie Butler (D).
Pickett, a Harrells resident filed Tuesday afternoon at the Samson County Board of Elections Office. One of the goals for the retired law enforcement officer and Democrat candidate is to get more minorities involved with law enforcement and crime prevention. Pickett said he wants to educate people about interaction and education.
“In today’s society, they’re not engaged in law enforcement because of bad experiences, what they see on television or even what they see right here in the county,” Pickett said. “We need to educate and train them so they don’t have these problems and we can prevent some of these shootings. We can prevent some of these crimes.
He continued to stress that education and communication is important when dealing with the public when it comes to solving crimes.
“Our law enforcement has pretty much failed the community at some point in time because we don’t communicate,” Pickett said.
Pickett is a native of Teachey, a town in Duplin County. He moved to Sampson County in 2001. For 14 years, her served as major of the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience.
He worked as a captain for the North Carolina Department of Corrections, where he started as a corrections officer. Other duties include being a police officer in Wayne County for five years. Several members of his family served in law enforcement as well. He also assisted with training and opening the latest jail in Sampson County.
Pickett feels that law enforcement is a prestigious job and mentioned that “Changing Transparency” is one of his slogans.
“I think as a public official or servant, the public has the right to know,” he said. “Transparency would be my key to let the public know what’s going on.
“We got to change with times,” he said. “We got the old standards, but we got new people. We’re in the 21st century, so we got to come up with the youth.”
Another goal for Pickett is to improve school safety to prevent mass shootings or other incidents.
“The problem is that everyone wants to complain about cost, but when it comes down to our kids safety, cost should not be a factor,” Pickett said.
He is married to Teyaka Pickett, a bank manager for Four Oaks Bank & Trust in Wallace.
Reach Kristy Carter or Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137.