LUMBERTON — The number of sheriff’s candidates grew to five on Friday, and the second assistant district attorney announced his bid to replace his boss.
George Kenworthy and James Jones filed Friday as Democratic candidates for Robeson County sheriff, joining Randy Graham, Ronnie Patterson and Burnis Wilkins. All are Democrats.
Incumbent Sheriff Ken Sealey is not expected to seek another term.
A lifelong resident of Robeson County, Kenworthy serves as jail administrator at the Robeson County Detention Center. He worked with the North Carolina Department of Corrections from 1982 to 2011, holding the positions of facility superintendent and correctional administrator.
He served in the North Carolina National Guard from 1981 to 1987.
Kenworthy is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.
“If elected as sheriff of Robeson County, I cannot promise I can eliminate crime, but I can promise I will serve all the citizens to the best of my ability,” Kenworthy wrote in a statement. “It is going to take collective leadership from law enforcement, the board of commissioners, school board, our communities, churches, district attorney and judges working together in a unified manner to move our county forward. Working together can bring about real change. God bless our county.”
Jones is a retired master trooper with the North Carolina Highway Patrol and has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, 20 with the Highway Patrol.
He is a volunteer with the Rennert Fire Department.
Jones is also a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
“Throughout my career I have proven myself trustworthy, honest, fair and effective as a law enforcement officer,” Jones wrote in his statement. “For over 30 years I was committed to doing all that I could to make citizens safer. I will continue that professional standard as I work towards a new vision and new direction as sheriff of Robeson County.”
Assistant District Attorney Joe Osman filed Friday as a Democratic candidate for district attorney.
Osman, of Lumberton, is the second person to file as a candidate to replace Johnson Britt, who has announced he will not seek re-election. Assistant District Attorney Matt Scott filed Feb. 13 as a candidate. Scott also filed as a Democrat, setting up a May 8 primary contest with Osman.
Osman has practiced law for more than 21 years, 15 of those years in the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney. He is a member of the Robeson County Bar Association, a presenter and lecturer for the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys on topics of child physical and sexual abuse and is a faculty member of the North Carolina Homicide Investigators Association.
Osman’s jury trial experience includes prosecuting capital cases, homicides, sexual offenses and violent felonies. During a part of his career in private practice, Osman acquired administrative experience that he believes to be beneficial for the elected district attorney.
Osman graduated from Pembroke State University in 1993 and from Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law in 1996.
Osman is married to Janna Smith Osman, a Fairmont native. They have two sons, Will, 18, and Drew, 16. Osman attends First Presbyterian Church of Lumberton, where he has served as deacon, elder and chairman of the Stewardship and Foundation Committees. He is a member of the executive board of Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts of America and an adult leader in Boy Scout Troop 301. Osman serves on the Lumberton High School Advisory Board, and on the boards for Lumberton High School Athletic Boosters and Lumber River Soccer Association.
“I believe that you should elect a district attorney that is available to all the citizens and will seek justice fairly for all people,” Osman wrote in his statement. “My promise to Robeson County is to listen to your concerns, try cases, involve other community agencies and organizations as we seek solutions together to reduce crime and make Robeson County a safer place to live and work for all citizens. The strength of our community lies in us coming together, finding solutions together for the safety and protection of everyone.”
The filing period, which opened on Feb. 12, ends Wednesday at noon. The primary is May 8 and the General Election is Nov. 6.