Five seeking 2 seats on Maxton board
by Bob Shiles Staff writer
MAXTON — Maxton voters will fill two seats on the town’s Board of Commissioners when they go to the polls Tuesday.
The two seats up for election, both four-year terms, are currently held by James McDougald and Victor R. Womack Jr. Womack is seeking re-election to his second term. McDougald is not running for another term.
In addition to Womack, candidates include: Emmett “Chip” Morton, a former town commissioner; Harold Seate; Margaret Wilkerson Gilchrist; and Vincent John Hall. Hall is incarcerated in the Hoke County Correctional Center for communicating threats and assault on a state officer and could not be reached for this story.
Originally from Hope Mills, Womack, 63, has been a Maxton resident since 1999. He retired from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service after 26 years.
He operates Womack Lawn and Tree Service. In the past he has worked as a teacher’s assistant with the Scotland County schools, as a security coordinator at a school in Scotland County, and as sergeant-at-arms for the state General Assembly.
Womack holds a degree in Criminal Justice from Nassau Community College, and degrees in Sociology and Social Welfare from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He is a Vietnam-era Army veteran.
Currently Womack serves on the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport Commission, is a preacher steward at St. Matthews AME Zion Church in Maxton, and is an active master gardener. He is a former vice president of the U.S. Postal Police Union; past president of the Maxton Chamber of Commerce; past master of a Masonic Lodge in New York; and former vice president of the Sociology Club at UNCP.
“I live in this town and want to see it grow,” Womack said, “but when there is not much money there is not much you can do.”
Womack said that he hopes the town can get some grant money so that more programs and services can be provided to residents. He said that one of the major problems plaguing the town is lack of jobs.
The commissioner said he wants to see the old Townsend School gym made available for both youth and adult activities.
“We need this to be used year-round, not just for part of the year,” he said.
Womack expressed his concern that over the past two years there has not been a great working relationship among the five commissioners. This, he said, has slowed progress.
“People need to come out to our meetings and get involved,” he said. “They also need to get out and vote.”
Morton served on the town board for 16 years before losing his seat in 2011. He said he is running again this year at the request of Maxton residents who want “stability and clear thinking” on the board.
“The town has a lot of issues. We need to get back on track,” Morton said. “We’ve been at a standstill the past two years. … Citizens are asking what happened.”
Morton, 56, is a lifelong Maxton resident and professional photographer. He is currently working on earning an associate’s degree from Central Carolina Community College in Sanford.
Morton does not consider himself the candidate of change.
“Instead I want to bring stability and open mindedness to the board.” he said. “I speak my mind, and a lot of times when different opinions are discussed minds can be changed.”
Gilchrist, 69, a Maxton resident for the past 50 years, is making her first bid for public office. She is retired from what is now Pilkington Glass in Laurinburg.
Gilchrist is a member of Solid Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Laurinburg, where she serves on the Deacons Board and Pastor’s Aid Board. She participates in the local Meals-on-Wheels program. She is working toward earning Nursing Assistant 1 certification at Richmond Community College
Gilchrist would like to see more technical training made available to people who have a GED but need computer skills for jobs.
“My vision is to work with the board to continue the progress that has been made in providing technical training to those who have their GED,” she said. “If we can get people some training, they can at least have the chance to get jobs with industries that come into the area.”
Although several attempts were made, The Robesonian was unable to contact candidate Harold Seate for comments for this story. However, in a recent letter to the newspaper, Seate attempts to answer the question of why he is running for a seat on Maxton’s governing board.
“Our town has fallen on some hard times, and the reality is that it may become worse. The reason to why we are in our situation is irrelevant. We are here now and the only way out is to pull together,” he said. “History teaches us that one man or woman can very much make a difference.”
As of late Thursday afternoon, only 20 of Maxton’s 1,872 eligible voters had cast ballots during the early, one-stop voting, which ends on Saturday.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Local Gas Prices