Cooley declines to run for 3rd term as county commissioner
LAURINBURG — Tuesday’s weather put a damper on the second day of filing for the May primary, as the Scotland County Elections Office went all day Tuesday without a visit from a candidate — but a County Commissioner announced that he would let his term expire.
John Cooley, who also served as a county commissioner from 1998-2002, notified the Laurinburg Exchange on Tuesday that he would not be seeking re-election, saying that he and the board had problems seeing eye to eye.
“I just don’t feel that my values are the same as the board,” he said. “I don’t agree with a lot of things that we are doing and I don’t feel that I have been effective. I don’t think that I’ve made a difference and there’s no reason to do it again.”
Seven candidates filed on Monday, including Scotland County’s sheriff and a challenger, a county commissioner, two state representatives and a U.S. representative.
The filing period ends at noon on Feb. 28.
Scotland County Sheriff Shep Jones and challenger Rodney Tucker both filed Monday.
Jones will be seeking his third term for the office while Tucker is running for the first time.
Jones has 25 years of experience in law enforcement, 7 of those as sheriff, and has served on the Scotland County School Board for 25 years.
During his tenure as sheriff, Jones has put in place school resource officers and teams designed to assess and respond to gangs and drugs, as well as the Auxiliary Officers Program, Community Watch Program, Scare Straight Program, GREAT Summer Camp, Sheriff’s Office Color Guard and the Neighborhood Improvement Team.
“Under my leadership as sheriff for the past seven years, we have had some major accomplishments,” Jones said in a statement. “A total of 11,847 arrests have been made, 2710 felony arrests, 9,137 misdemeanor arrests. We have recovered $3.3 million … of property and returned it to its rightful owner.”
Jones received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Fayetteville State University and graduated from the N.C. Sheriff’s Association Leadership Institute at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Tucker, a Scotland High School graduate and Scotland County resident for 43 years, has 14 years of experience in law enforcement. He currently works as Capt. with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Hamlet Police Department, but for 11 years was employed with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office. He is enrolled in Coastal Carolina Community College’s Criminal Justice Program.
“I have worked every day for the past fourteen years to protect my community and prepare for this opportunity,” Tucker said in a statement. “I will be tough on all crime, serious about the services provided, strategic regarding our allocation of resources and intentional in forming community partnerships that promote involvement and collaboration to reduce crime.”
Tucker is a 14-year member of the Lutheran Church of the Living Word.
Guy McCook, a Laurinburg resident for the past 28 years, will be running for his third term representing Stewartsville Township on the Scotland County Board of Commissioners.
“We’ve gone through a tremendous recession that has hit rural counties a lot worse than urban areas but I think we’re making a lot of progress,” he said Monday, adding that the investment made by FCC has been the largest in the county’s history. “… The biggest issue is jobs and investment … while we need jobs for our citizens here in the county, we also need additional investment because that’s what drives the tax rate.”
McCook is the owner of Hasty Realty and has served as the chairman of the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce and president of the Rotary Club. He is a member of the board of directors for Scotland Memorial Hospital and Richmond Community College, and a trustee at First United Methodist Church.
Garland Pierce, of Wagram, is seeking his sixth two-year term representing District 48.
“… North Carolina’s economic recovery depends upon producing more jobs and an educated workforce capable of competing in a 21st century global economy,” Pierce said. “I have championed investment in technical education and workforce training programs because they not only assist in putting North Carolinians back to work, but also create a business friendly environment … .”
Pierce is pastor of Bright Hopewell Baptist Church in Laurinburg. He retired from the United Parcel Service and served in the United States Army.
Ken Goodman, a Democrat from Rockingham whose District 66 includes parts of Richmond, Hoke, Scotland and Montgomery counties, is seeking his third two-year term.
“We have to set a path to prosperity for North Carolina,” Goodman said in a statement. “You don’t build a better state, a stronger economy when you are defunding public education and ignoring the needs of our state’s teachers.
“A lot of workers in our part of the state have no jobs,” he said. “I want to create a better environment for job creation …We also need to improve our infrastructure of all kinds.”
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, whose District 8 includes most of Robeson County, filed Monday for his second two-year term. Hudson is considered one of the most conservative members of Congress.
“I am running for re-election to continue the fight against failed policies like Obamacare and to push for commonsense solutions in Congress like a balanced budget amendment and real job creation,” Hudson said in a statement. “… We need conservative leaders who will stand up against Washington’s big-government agenda and put power back into the hands of the American people.”
Also filing on Monday was Philip McRae, for the office of Scotland County Clerk of Court. He did not provide the Laurinburg Exchange with any biographical information.
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