ELECTION: Three Republicans, two Reives, add names to ballot
Two partisan teams arrived, trailed by spouses, children, grandchildren and friends, to file for election Thursday in Sanford.
On the Republican side, three hopefuls for the Lee County Board of Education — Sandra Bowen, Christine Curkendall and David Schau — were led in by Lee County Republican Party Chairman Charles Staley.
They are the first Republicans to file for the upcoming elections other than incumbent Sheriff Tracy Carter, but Staley promised that more candidates would be declaring in the near future.
On the Democratic side, the first father-son pairing in recorded Lee County history filed, when Robert Reives Sr. and Robert Reives II submitted their paperwork right after one another. Both are incumbents, with Reives Sr. filing for re-election to the Lee County Board of Commissioners and Reives II filing to be officially elected to the N.C. House District 54 seat to which he was recently appointed on an interim basis.
Reives II came straight to the Lee County Board of Elections headquarters from Raleigh, he said, where he was getting the keys to his new legislative office.
He said he's hoping to occupy that office for more than a few months, and that if he is elected, he plans to continue the "listening tour" he has already started. He said education and natural gas development are the two issues he has heard about the most from constituents in his district, which covers all of Chatham County and parts of Lee County.
"I want to see a return to where representatives listen to what's being said on both sides," he said. "... No matter what people think about what I do, I want them to know they have the chance to be heard."
And as for filing on the same day as his father?
"It is special," he said. "Obviously he's my dad, and I've always looked up to him."
Reives Sr. deadpanned when asked if he ever thought he'd file for an election on the same day as his son, saying: "Not in my wildest. I always thought he was smarter than that."
Turning serious, he said he's very proud of the younger Robert and has full faith in him.
As for his own race, Reives Sr. said that after more than 23 years on the board of county commissioners, he's still itching to continue representing the people of his district, which covers downtown Sanford and the surrounding areas.
"I'm running again because I love this county," he said. "There are other people who love this county, too, and we want to see its image improved."
He had several ideas for doing that, including increased funding for Central Carolina Community College and an incentive program to lure business development — both of which he said have been stalled by the board's Republican majority. But Reives said he plans to be a willing, cooperative board member and hopes Republicans act the same, no matter which party is in the majority after the November elections.
His first priority, however, is increasing the salary of local teachers and government workers, whom he said are doing outstanding jobs considering they're working for "little to no" reward.
"These people are taxpayers and have families and are trying to survive," he said.
Unlike the Democratic incumbents, the three Republicans are challengers. All of them provided prepared statements but declined to comment on their candidacy.
Bowen, a community college professor and Sunday school teacher who is a mother of three young children, said she's active in the J. Glenn Edwards Elementary School PTO and serves on the school improvement team.
"Parents need to be involved in their children's education," she wrote. "I find that many parents discuss issues and concerns among themselves, but seldom does anyone step up to take those parental concerns to elected officials. I am not afraid to do that."
Curkendall, a recent transplant to the area with a background in business management, said she has previous board experience as a member of a municipal planning board in upstate New York.
"I am very aware of current issues and am ready to become active in the community where I live," she wrote. "In all aspects of government and education, there are serious problems that have grown exponentially over several decades. We need common sense, metric-oriented results for our children to achieve their full potential. We also need to be mindful of all taxpayers."
Schau, who serves as vice chairman of the city of Sanford Appearance Commission and is married to Tammi Schau, a second-grade teacher at Broadway Elementary School, said he's a computer systems analyst, U.S. Air Force veteran and certified prison ministry chaplain.
"I believe in the importance of public education, and I want to help ensure that we deliver the best possible educational opportunity to every student," he wrote. "My background will bring a fresh perspective to the board."