LUMBERTON — Ten candidates were at the head of the line on Friday for the first day of filing for the Nov. 7 municipal elections.
The filing period doesn’t end until noon on July 21, and contested races already are shaping up for the Lumberton City Council Precinct 5 seat, for mayor of Red Springs and the former mayor of Fairmont wants that seat back.
John Cantey has filed for re-election to the City Council Precinct 5 seat he has occupied for 12 years. He also has served as mayor pro tem.
His past and current affiliations include city’s ABC Board, Mayor’s Committee for the Challenged, Mayor’s Committee for Domestic Violence, vice chairman of the Robeson County Democratic Party, Robeson County State Executive Board, county Public Library Board liaison, Robeson County Committee of 100, director of Western Region N.C. Knights of Pythagoras, past master of Golden Leaf Lodge 124, Shriner with Ouda Temple 144, 32-degree prince of Carpenters Consistory, patron of Order of the Easter Star Chapter 558.
Cantey is a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served in the counter intelligence field.
“It has been a blessing to represent the citizens of Precinct 5 for the previous 12 years. Now is not the time to waiver, give up nor change leadership. I am able and willing to work tirelessly until every citizen has a resolution to their issue.”
Love did not provide information to The Robesonian.
Another incumbent, Burnis Wilkins, 56, filed for re-election to the Precinct 3 seat he has represented since 2013. He is a retired law enforcement officer with more than 35 years of service. He is a law enforcement training coordinator at Robeson Community College and a member of the Lumberton Rescue Squad.
Past and current affiliations include appointment to the state General Legislative Action committee in Raleigh, member of the Robeson County Teen Court board, member of the Robeson County Humane Society, member of East Lumberton Baptist Church and a recipient of the state Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.
“I am seeking to continue my service to the citizens of Lumberton in my quest to rid our community of crime and grime and help our city grow in positive way. I hope my accomplishments thus far have touched many in Precinct 3 but much more can be done.”
Wilkins is also an announced candidate for sheriff as a Democrat in the 2018 primary. He has said that if he wins re-election to City Council and then wins the sheriff’s race, he will resign his council seat.
A third incumbent, John “Big Wayne” Robinson, filed Friday in Precinct 2. He provided no information to The Robesonian.
In Red Springs, two members of the town board filed for the mayor’s seat now held by John McNeill.
Duron Burney, a former mayor pro tem, is a 19-year-veteran with the Robeson County Sheriff’s office. He serves as a detective sergeant in the Juvenile Division. He formerly worked in the Civil Division as a deputy.
Burney frequently speaks on the topic of juvenile sensitivity at local community events in an attempt to heighten the community’s awareness regarding juveniles.
Past and current affiliations include serving as coordinator of the Red Springs Community Watch, member of The Shining Star Lodge No. 80 Red Springs, Carpentry Consistory No. 164 Maxton, and Ouda Temple No. 147 Maxton, president of the Unified Robeson County Branch of the NAACP, North Carolina League of Municipalities’ General Government Legislative Action Committee, and vice president of the Police Benevolent Association.
Burney is a member of Saint James AME Zion Church, where he also serves as a minister and preacher steward.
“I’m committed to the growth and vitality of this city and it residents. If elected I will continue to assist, and serve the citizens of Red Springs,” Burney said in a statement.
Edward “Chub” Henderson, 61, also a commissioner, is director for Southeastern Behavioral Homecare. He is a graduate of Red Springs High School and holds two associate’s degrees in Business and Computer Programming from Robeson Community College. A saxophone player, Henderson studied music at Fayetteville State University.
Henderson served in the U.S. Air Force from 1975 until 1979. He and his wife, Frances, have three children.
“During my eight years as a town commissioner, I have seen a lot of good things happen in the town of Red Springs. For example, we are financially stable, we have just completed a new farmers market, and our crime rate is lower. I would like to encourage entrepreneurship and work to increase economic development.”
DeAndre Gillispie filed Friday as a challenger for a commissioner seat in Red Springs. He did not provide information to The Robesonian.
In Fairmont, Charles Kemp filed as a candidate for mayor, a position he previously held for two terms.
Kemp, 71, served as a town commissioner from 1977-2005, then as mayor from 2005-2013 and was elected as commissioner again in 2015.
Kemp retired from teaching after 40 years. He is a graduate of Fairmont High School, and North Carolina Wesleyan College, where he earned a degree in History and Political Science. He is married to Pam Kemp.
Past and current affiliations include co-curator of Border Belt Farmers Museum-Fairmont, 2014 to present; South Robeson Rescue Unit board of directors, 2015 to present; and Robeson Community College Foundation, 2015 to present, and he is a member of Trinity Methodist Church in Fairmont.
“I am a candidate for the office of Fairmont mayor because I feel that strong leadership is needed in that office and that is what I am capable of providing. My many years serving the citizens of Fairmont as both a town commissioner and as mayor previously for eight years, can be most effective in improving our community.”
Charles Townsend is currently the mayor of Fairmont.
Felecia McLean-Kesler has filed as a candidate for the Fairmont commission seat she has held since the death in July 2016 of her mother, Amelia McLean. McLean-Kesler, 45, was chosen to serve the unexpired portion of her mother’s term. This is McLean-Kesler’s first political campaign.
The mother of four, she is a member of Temple of Truth Ministries of Jesus Christ Inc. in Dillon, South Carolina. She works at the Lumberton Correctional Institute.
“I want to continue the positive growth in Fairmont’s economic development and infrastructure. I want to see the town move forward with programs that help the children, the elderly and our veterans.”
In St. Pauls, McClure “Buck” Terry Jr. has filed for re-election for the District 4 seat. It would be his sixth term on the council if elected.
Terry, 74, serves as chairman of the board’s Personnel and Cemetery committees and as vice chairman of the Public Works Committee. He has served as a St. Pauls police officer and firefighter and as a member of the town’s rescue squad. McCure, now retired, is a deacon at Great Marsh Baptist Church.
McClure has been married to Sandra for 37 years and they have two sons.
“My priorities are stormwater, streets, economic development, downtown revitalization and keeping taxes as low as possible,” he said. “I serve St. Pauls and the people of St. Pauls. I appreciate your support.”
T.C. Hunter can be reached at 910-816-1974. Staff writer Terri Smith contributed to this story.