Trio brings excitement to municipal race

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 05:10 PM

OXFORD — Of the five municipalities with elections on Tuesday in Granville County, the most noteworthy rests in the mayoral race of the county seat.

In Oxford, incumbent Jackie Sergent is being challenged by Howard Herring Sr. and former state Rep. Jim Crawford Jr.

Sergent, a health educator with the Granville-Vance District Health Department, served as a commissioner for two years prior to taking the mayor’s seat in December 2011.

“We’ve done a lot of groundwork as a board,” she said, including hiring a new city manager and developing vision and mission statements for the city.

“It’s extremely important that we do well but not at the expense of any other party,” she said.

The proximity of the Research Triangle means stakeholders in the area need to unite in order to compete.

“It’s my absolute desire that all parties come to the table to craft a plan to market our assets,” she said.

Turning to the needs of young people, she said, “It’s important to me to support the success of our youth. If we don’t keep them in school, they become an issue at the other end.”

Crawford served in the House of Representatives for 28 years. His first public office was with the Oxford City Council from 1965-1969.

“My main interest is in getting our community working together,” he said. “We have the city suing the county and Henderson. I think we can work these things out ahead of time and not pay three sets of lawyers.”

High on his list of priorities are bringing more industry into the area and caring for the environment.

Crawford expressed concern about the mayor’s role.

“I think the mayor doesn’t need to micromanage things,” he said. “We have a city manager. We can leave a lot more authority with him.”

He said expanding recreation opportunities for young people would help reduce the crime rate in the city.

Herring is currently a commissioner. He expressed concern about requests the city receives for water. He cited the request to provide water and sewer service to the Triangle North industrial park.

“What are the citizens of Oxford getting for that?” Herring asked.

He said anyone requesting water from Oxford should request annexation in order to expand the city’s tax base.

Herring described the real power in Oxford as resting with the board of commissioners.

“I see the mayor’s role is to persuade the commissioners to vote in ways that are highly beneficial to the citizens of this city,” Herring said.

Herring retired from the U.S. Army as a sergeant major. He holds a master’s degree in instructional media and served as principal of C.A. Dillon School in Butner.

Seven candidates are competing for four seats on the Oxford city council, including incumbents Ron Bullock, Danny Currin and C.J. Harris and challengers Quon Bridges, Eddie Dalton, Patricia Fields and Eddie McCoy. In Oxford, commissioners run at-large, meaning the four candidates with the most votes will be seated.

In Stovall, all candidates are unopposed. Mayor Janet Parrott and commissioners Marshall Roberts and Tim Davidson are each bidding for re-election.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.