Simmons says listening just as valuable as a voice

Sep. 19, 2013 @ 04:43 PM

Fearldine Simmons doesn’t just want to be the voice for citizens of Henderson. She wants to be the listener as well.

Simmons is running for the Ward 4 seat of the Henderson City Council. The early voting period started Thursday. Election Day is Tuesday, Oct. 8.

“I believe I will be a listening voice, not just a speaking voice, but a listening voice,” Simmons said. “I am a people person, so my goal is, you might call my goal my stance for being on the City Council, I plan to bring that voice to the board. Whether they hear me or not, I plan to bring it.”

She also brings an approach that Henderson’s economic development woes are inextricably linked to the education within the community.

“People tend to move to areas where children will be educated well,” Simmons said. “There have been some things written in the newspaper about the graduation rate, and Vance County being very low.

“I just believe if we could build education, that would be one great incentive that will help people to seek out coming here to raise their children. They look for good churches, good recreation, and these are the things that we need to help as a council to strengthen so our community will be one that draws those businesses here.”

Simmons said the council must keep a focus on city departments, including fire, police, building structures, infrastructure, streets and lighting. She wants more police officers, and more police presence in the Flint Hill area where she was raised and still resides.

“Our police department, in which I have two sons that are officers, needs more officers,” Simmons said. “I don’t know how the city can budget that, but we really need to look at those kinds of things because the crime rate is up.”

She’s also hoping the new police chief will be more visible in the schools.

Simmons taught in the Vance County Schools system for 32 years, and still teaches GED math courses at Vance-Granville Community College. The Henderson Institute graduate is on the board of directors for the Department of Social Services and is active at St. James Missionary Baptist Church as an associate minister and food bank coordinator.

She’s a mother to three, grandmother to 11 and great-grandmother to two. And their activities keep her moving to many sporting events.

“I believe Henderson should grow,” Simmons said, “through education, through economic development and through a passion and care for the people. When those areas are addressed, I believe the crime rate will go down because our kids will find more interest in education and perhaps sports, than they will doing almost nothing.”

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.