Two file for mayoral seats

Tommy Parker

Jackie Laviner

LAURINBURG — Tommy Parker will run to keep his seat as Laurinburg’s mayor in this November’s elections.

He was the first, on the third day of filing Wednesday, to add his name to the hat for the city’s mayoral race.

Parker is currently completing his first term as mayor after spending 10 years as a city council member. During his tenure, he feels that the city’s government has become more attuned to the desires of Laurinburg residents.

“All elected officials sit in seats that are really owned by the public,” he said. “They’re not ours, and we have to be responsive to them. I think council in general has done a very good job of that. We want to be user-friendly.”

Parker hopes to serve another term at the head of a “thoughtful and informed” city council, with the aim of improving Laurinburg’s economic outlook by attracting jobs and further developing the city.

“Some of the jobs that we’ve attracted, though we haven’t attracted as many as I’d like, have been significant,” Parker said of the location of Cascades Tissue in Wagram, a new FCC plant in Laurinburg, and the recent announcement of BlueScope Buildings’ expansion.

Increased partnerships with the county as well as with counties outside of Scotland are among Parker’s ambitions if re-elected.

A Laurinburg native and owner of Parker Furniture, Parker is a past president of the Laurinburg Optimist Club and has volunteered as a baseball and football coach. He attends First United Methodist Church.

Also on Wednesday, longtime Wagram commissioner Jackie Laviner filed for the town’s mayoral seat, currently held by Milton Farmer.

Laviner, a Vietnam veteran who has served the North Scotland Fire Department for 46 years, nearly 10 of those as assistant chief, will attempt to unseat Farmer.

“It’s time for a few changes,” he said. “The mayor is doing a good job with what he is doing, but it’s time to move forward and hopefully I can be the one to do it.”

Laviner is a county native, having graduated from Wagram High School in 1966 and serving in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1988, retiring as sergeant first class. He has been a Wagram commissioner for 16 years.

Wagram’s mayoral terms are two years.

Several candidates, all incumbents, filed earlier this week: Laurinburg City Council District 1 representative Curtis Leak and District 2 representative Mary Jo Adams, Gibson mayor Ronnie Hudson, and East Laurinburg commissioner David Cooper.

Laurinburg’s mayor and council members all serve four-year terms. The filing fee for all Laurinburg offices is $25.

The seats of Gibson town commissioners Stephen Hudson and Randy Pearson are also open for the start of new four-year terms. The filing fee for candidates to any of the three Gibson seats is $15.

The seats of East Laurinburg Mayor Wayne Caulder and all three town commissioners are all open for new candidates this year. The filing fees are $18 for mayoral candidates and $12 for commissioners.

Wagram’s town commissioner seats held by Bernice Gorham and Paschal Stewart will also be open to new contenders. Of the three candidates ultimately elected, the top two vote-getters will serve four-year terms and the third will serve a two-year term.

The filing fee for all Wagram offices is $5.

Filing will remain open at the Scotland County Board of Elections from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday before closing at noon on July 17.

The Scotland County Board of Elections is located at the county annex at 231 East Cronly St. in Laurinburg.

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