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Two seats on the Granville County Board of Commissioners are contested this year. Democrats are holding primaries in both District 1 (which covers northwestern Granville County) and District 5 (Wilton and eastern Creedmoor).
In District 1, former Commissioner N. Annette Parham Myers is challenging incumbent Zelodis Jay for the Democratic nomination. There is no Republican running, so the primary winner will be seated.
District 5 incumbent Owen Roberts is not running for a second term and Democrats Donnie Boyd and Robert Way are running for his seat. The primary winner run against Republican Russ May in November. (Read those candidate profiles here).
The Butner-Creedmoor News asked each primary candidate the same questions on jobs, education and budgeting. Their answers were lightly edited for grammar and style.
Early voting is now underway and continues until Feb. 29. The primary election will be March 3.
What is your background and how will that make you a good fit to be on the board of commissioners?
JAY: Lifetime citizen of Granville County. Graduate from Granville County Public School System. Retired from Burlington Industrial and Altec after 45 years.
MYERS: I was elected to the board of commissioners in 1996 and served two terms, so I know the time and dedication required of board members. If I am elected, I believe my previous experience on the board will be a valuable asset.
Two of my strengths are my ability to research questions and issues that come before this representative body and my willingness to work in a collegial atmosphere with other board members for solutions to the issues facing Granville county today.
What should the county do to create job growth and opportunities for residents in Granville County?
JAY: Prepare our industrial park for future growth and educate our citizens for new job skills.
MYERS: The county needs to foster an atmosphere of support and welcome to businesses that provide wages that will enable its citizens to raise a family and be financially secure if they practice good money management.
We have some longtime excellent large employers and we need to work with them to maintain their presence in our community. We also need to encourage development of small businesses, many created by local citizens.
Various economic reports state that approximately 50% of nonfarm workers work in businesses of less than 50 employees. All of this requires serious effort since this must be balanced with our productive farmland and timberland, which also serves as an attraction to bring people to the area.
Our economic development director has a great resource in the N.C. Department of Commerce.
Public school enrollment is down in the face of competition from private and charter schools. How would you support the public school system and what considerations would you have when reviewing the school district’s budget?
JAY: Find out the true reasons why our enrollment is down and what we can do to entice our students back to the public schools system. Do adequate funding for school.
MYERS: It is the legal responsibility of state and local government to provide a free appropriate public education to all students enrolled in Granville County Public Schools.
I will support the board of education in seeking ways to not only follow the letter of the law but to be aggressive in developing ways to truly be “committed to excellence and achievement for all.”
That will require input from everyone touched by the system, including parents, community leaders, businesses, industries and, most importantly, teachers, support staff, principals and the children.
What state and federal resources should Granville County seek to better its residents and businesses?
JAY: Seek help from state and federal funds and grants.
MYERS: The available resources for local improvements are becoming more restricted but are available for specific efforts. It is the duty of the board of commissioners to develop a strategic plan for improving the lives of citizens and businesses of the county, and the county staff is then charged with researching resources.
I will bring new ideas and alternatives to the board. I believe if you want different results, you must try different approaches.
What other issues are important to you and how would you address them if elected?
JAY: Support broadband service for the entire Granville area for students and citizens. Fire protection and emergency services.
MYERS: It is important that citizens be informed about what is going on in the county. It is far too easy for false rumors to be spread. It is important that decision makers be available to the public to honestly respond to inquiries.
Citizens need to know they can trust those in leadership. I didn’t engage in backroom politics in my previous board service and I will not do it this time. Neither my principles nor my integrity are for sale.
There is a wonderful founding document of this country that begins, “We the People.” I truly believe in that and I am willing to serve four years on the Granville County Board of Commissioners to help reestablish confidence in at least this one body of government.