Parks, Womack rule out run
Lee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Parks and fellow Republican Jim Womack ended weeks of speculation that they wouldn’t seek re-election, announcing in separate statements they wouldn’t pursue second terms on the board Thursday.
The announcements, coming the day before the 2014 filing season ends, coincided with the
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filing of two other Republicans for the commission seats Parks and Womack hold: Chris deLambert filed to campaign for Parks’ seat, while Kevin Dodson filed for Womack’s seat.
On the Democratic side, Mark Akinosho — who recently switched his party affiliation — filed for re-election to the Lee County Board of Education. Akinosho serves as the school board’s vice chairman and leads the Finance Committee.
DeLambert is director of marketing and business development at Temple Theatre and has helped GOP candidates with communications and organizing both in Lee County and in his previous home in Mississippi. Dodson owns Carolina Firearms Training in Chatham County and works for the Siler City Police Department in addition to serving as a reserve deputy for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
After retiring from the Army in 2009 after 20 years, deLambert worked in real estate in Mississippi before moving to Sanford in 2012 and joining Temple Theatre. He serves on the Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption board of directors and is chairman of the Sanford Mural Art Committee. His wife, Nejla, is a guidance counselor at SanLee Middle School.
“I am deeply engaged with the people of Lee County, and I hope, as your county commissioner, I can continue my efforts to stimulate our economic development and continue to gather ideas to lead Lee County in the right direction,” deLambert said in a statement. “You deserve responsible, proven leadership, and I will provide it.”
Thursday was Akinosho’s 59th birthday, and the laundromat owner and local preacher said he couldn’t think of a better way to spend it than by officially declaring his intent to continue serving Lee County Schools and providing a “steady hand” for the county’s youths. In a written statement, Akinosho said he’s seeking a second term on behalf of the children, as well as the “teachers who are working tirelessly to make sure all our children are adequately prepared for the future.”
As for the school district as a whole, he said, “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we are on the upward bound.”
Dodson couldn’t be reached for comment and didn’t provide a written statement Thursday, but according to his business’ website, he has a long history in law enforcement and gun training. He began his career in the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office before moving to the Siler City Police Department and was named that department’s officer of the year in 2007.
Dodson is a member of various law enforcement and firearms groups, according his website, and he’s certified to instruct people on multiple weapons.
Parks, who is the chairman of the county commissioners, explained in a written statement that his wife and others in the community helped him decide, after “agonizing consideration,” not to seek a second term on the board.
“I enjoyed my three-plus years on the board and working with my current board members,” he said. “Each one has been very supportive. I have also enjoyed meeting and working with the various service departments and members [of] our community. We have ... dedicated workers in our county and community.”
Parks said he’s glad the board’s conservative majority achieved some of its major goals in recent years, giving credit to County Manager John Crumpton as well. Some of the accomplishments Parks mentioned were lowering property taxes, reducing long-term debt and increasing funding for school security.
“It is my desire to see the actions started move in a positive direction,” he wrote. “I believe we have dedicated people that will make it happen.”
For his part, Womack wrote that “after much prayer and meditation, I have decided not to run for re-election as a Lee County Commissioner in 2014. Ecclesiastes 3:1 instructs us that, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.’ Now is the season for me to focus on my family’s needs and to let another highly qualified conservative take up the mantle of service on the Board of Commissioners.”
Womack added that in the last three years, the commission board has “achieved many of the goals I expressed during the 2010 campaign, though our success was very limited up until December 2012 when we seated a conservative majority. I pray the Lee County voters will sustain a conservative majority this fall so we don’t return to the malaise of higher taxes, corporate welfare and inappropriate government spending.”
He said he would continue to serve as chairman of the State Mining and Energy Commission through July 2014 and will remain an active MEC member through June 2015.
Filing for elected offices ends at noon today.