LUMBERTON — Two candidates who filed for sheriff were among eight to file on Monday as the 15-day filing period for county, state and federal offices began.
Randy Graham, a former investigator with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, and Ronnie Patterson, the police chief in Red Springs, each filed for election as a Democratic candidate for sheriff. Sheriff Kenneth Sealey, who has held the seat since 2004, is not expected to run again.
A resident of Lumberton, Graham served as chief court counselor with the Department of Public Safety from 2000 to 2006. He received the Outstanding Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Court Counselors in 1994 and was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2006.
“Drugs are driving our high crime rate in the county,” Graham said. “Enhanced patrols and developing more extensive covert operations in high crime and drug infested areas is necessary. Cooperation with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and inter-agency teams can be developed to aid in these endeavors. I believe in officers living in their respective patrol zones and developing a close relationship with businesses and individuals in the community. New funding streams need to be developed through grants to better equip our officers and lower the tax burden on our citizens.”
Patterson, a graduate of Red Springs High School and Fayetteville State University, serves as the regional director for the North Carolina Association of Police Chiefs of Robeson, Hoke, Scotland, Cumberland, Columbus, Bladen, Sampson, Richmond and Brunswick counties. He is also a former member of the Domestic Violence Board and Neighborhood Watch.
He is a recipient of the Red Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Waverly Barhaum Award as well as the Humanitarian Award from Las Amigas and Officer of the Year from Palmer Drug.
“I would like to personally thank everyone in our county for not only voting for me, but believing in me and that I can and will make a difference in our county,” Patterson said.
Two people, an incumbent and a challenger, filed for a seat on the Robeson County Board of Commissioners,
Hubert Sealey, a Red Springs police officer, filed as a Democrat for the District 2 seat on the board, which he previously held for three terms.
Sealey, 52, is a Fairmont resident. He has been married to his wife, Linda Sealey, for 27 years and has four children. He is a member of the Mill Branch Baptist Church, where he serves as vice chairman of the Trustees Board. He is a member of Masonic Lodge No. 93.
“In seeking re-election. I look forward to working to improve economic development and making our county a safer place to live,” Sealey said in a statement. “If elected, I will not vote to spend the taxpayers’ money carelessly on purchases such as the Native Angels building in Pembroke.”
Berlester Campbell is the District 2 incumbent.
Lance Herndon filed Monday for re-election to the District 8 seat on the board. Herndon has held the seat since being elected in 2008 in a special election to the seat his grandfather held for many years. He was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. He did not supply biographical information or a statement to The Robesonian.
A single candidate filed for the Board of Education, which is non-partisan.
Richard Hardaway Monroe, 74, ran and lost as an at-large candidate in 2016, and is now running for the District 8 seat that is held by Dwayne Smith.
Monroe served for 28 years as a teacher and 12 years as the Human Resources specialist for the Public Schools of Robeson County. He was Teacher of the Year seven times and first runner-up for North Carolina Teacher of the Year. While the Human Resources specialist, Monroe received the Visiting International Faculty Ambassador Award for recruitment of teachers to North Carolina from other countries. He also received the North Carolina Arts Association Friend Award for recruiting art and music teachers to Robeson County.
Monroe currently serves as president of Rediscover Downtown Lumberton and is a member of the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He attends Chestnut Street United Methodist Church, where he is chairman of the Staff Parish Relations Committee, and serves on the Finance Committee and the United Ministry Council.
Monroe has been married to his wife, Anne, for 50 years.
He was the recipient of the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce, the 2017 Better Carolina Award from Mountaire Farms and the 2017 Lifetime Commitment Award from Southeastern Health.
“I am running because I feel that a greater emphasis should be placed on the children of the county,” Monroe wrote in a statement. “With 27 low-performing schools out of 42 schools, much needs to be done to improve curriculum strategies to teach students. Also, parents should be kept more informed and should be more involved. There is also a need for more financial responsibility and accountability in our school system. Improvements in leadership for our schools is vital.”
Shelena Smith, who has been Clerk of Superior Court since April 1, 2013, filed for re-election as a Democrat.
Smith was appointed to replace Renee Hunt and won a four-year term in 2014.
A lifetime Robeson County resident who lives near Pembroke, Smith is a licensed lawyer, member of the State Bar and a member of the Legal Advisor Council. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke, a volunteer with Teen Court, and won The Robesonian’s Reader’s Choice award for Best Lawyer.
“It has been my honor and privilege to serve Robeson County for the last five years as Clerk of Superior Court,” Smith said. “I am excited about the next four years, and humbled by the confidence placed in me by the citizens of this county. My staff and I look forward to continuing to work as your public servants, and I appreciate your continued support.”
Charles Graham, a Democrat, filed Monday for re-election to a fifth term as the District 47 representative in state House of Representatives.
Graham serves on the House Education, Justice and Public Safety, Agriculture, Transportation, Commerce and Appropriations committees.
“I am dedicated and committed to using my seniority and experience on several important committees in the General Assembly for Robeson County citizens,” Graham wrote in a statement. “It’s critical at this time for Robeson County to have an experienced Democratic voice for our children, working families, business, seniors, teachers, assisting law enforcement in fighting crime, and the disabled who has a proven track record as a family man, business owner and educator leading the way in all these areas.”
Eddie Stanley, owner of American Plush Textile Mills in Lumberton, filed as a Republican candidate for District 46 in the state House.
Stanley, 50, is a native of Indianapolis. He is affiliated with the Catholic Church.
Stanley also is associated with Future Farmers of America.
“My focus is on the growth of agriculture (family farms to big processors), textiles and other businesses which will be achieved in short-term by direct promotion and long term investing in our education system,” Stanley wrote in a statement. “With today’s changing business environment, I want to promote direct to consumer or direct to retailer with my background from growing up on a farm and owning a textile mill.”
Brenden Jones, a Republican from Tabor City, holds the District 46 seat.