LUMBERTON — Two incumbents and a newcomer were elected Tuesday as at-large members to the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education. The board will see two other newcomers, including a winning candidates who served previously on the board.
Incumbent Jerry Long and challenger Robert Davis both lost their bids for one of the three at-large seats.
Incumbent JoAnn Chavis Lowery received the most votes with 7,522, or 33.42 percent, of the 22,505 votes cast.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for me,” Lowery, an educator and current chairman of the school board, said. “I want to thank them for the confidence they have in me.”
Incumbent John Campbell received the second highest number of votes, 5,105, or 22.68 percent of the total.
Campbell has served on the board for 16 years.
“I appreciate the vote of confidence I received from voters across the county,” he said. “I’m looking forward to serving with integrity and the purpose which is to provide the continuous improvement of the public schools in Robeson County.”
The third seat went to newcomer Randy Lawson, who received 4,415, or 19.62 percent, of the votes cast. Lawson is employed by Lowe’s Home Improvement in Lumberton.
“People are ready for a change,” Lawson said. “I said I am going to be a voice for the kids and teachers and that’s what I intend to do.”
Long, a retired educator, received 3,908, or 17.37 percent of the votes cast. Long said his defeat is the result of him being blamed as the school board member responsible for the school district laying off teacher assistants last year as a result of state funding cuts.
Robert Davis, the defeated newcomer, received 1,433, or 6.37 percent, of the total votes cast.
“The result of the election is evidence of how tough it is running against incumbents,” sad Davis, a former educator.
In District 4, Mitchell “Bosco” Locklear defeated educator Alton Hagans.
Locklear, who currently is the housing director for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and was a board member from 1996 to 2004, received 1,870, or 52.23 percent, of the 3,580 ballots cast. Hagans received 1,692, or 47.26 percent, of the total vote.
“I thank the Lord and all of my supporters,” Locklear said. “I pledge to do the best job I can do.”
Locklear takes the seat vacated by Robert Deese, a longtime board member who did not seek re-election.
Gary C. Strickland Jr., a bank loan officer, out-polled two other candidates to claim District 5. He received 1,109, or 37.88 percent, of the 2,928 votes cast.
“I just want to thank all the people who voted for me,” he said. “One thing I promised is that I will work to make the best decisions for the students and staff of the Public Schools of Robeson County.
“The people have seen the work I have done as a volunteer in the schools over the past nine or 10 years. They trust me now that I have decided to move up to the next level where there are a lot of decisions to be made.”
Larry Trent Brooks, with 974 votes, or 33.27 percent of the votes cast, came in second, and Travis Bryant, with 708 votes, or 24.18 percent of the votes cast, came in third. Ronnie Chavis, who dropped out early in the race race because of health reasons, received 126 votes.
Strickland will take the seat of Randall Jones, who did not seek re-election after eight years on the board.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.