All three of Richmond County’s legislation delegation to Raleigh have indicated they intend to seek re-election for the state General Assembly.
Rep. Garland Pierce said he plans to seek a sixth term representing District 48. The Democrat said he is running to help strengthen the economy and improve public education.
“Having served nearly a decade in the North Carolina General Assembly, I understand that North Carolina’s economic recovery depends upon producing more jobs and an educated workforce capable of competing in a 21st century global economy,” Pierce said. “I have championed investment in technical education and workforce training programs because they not only assist in putting North Carolinians back to work, but also create a business friendly environment in which companies want to invest.”
Pierce, 60, serves as pastor of Bright Hopewell Baptist Church in Laurinburg and has been a minister for 33 years. He retired from the United Parcel Service and served in the United States Army.
Pierce was first elected to the House in 2004 and is the senior member of the local legislative delegation. He serves on the
Appropriations, Commerce and Jobs Development and Health Human Services Committee. In 2013, he was elected as chairman of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.
Pierce represents portions of Richmond, Scotland, Hoke and Robeson counties.
Ken Goodman, a Democrat from Rockingham, is seeking re-election to his third two-year term. District 66 also encompasses Richmond, Hoke, Scotland and Montgomery counties.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, especially in supporting our teachers and public education,” Goodman, a former chairman of the Richmond County Board of Education, said. “I think it is a disgrace what our teachers are being paid compared to those in other states. They deserve better.”
Goodman, 66, the former owner of a family furniture store, said his other major priority is economic development.
“A lot of workers in our part of the state have no jobs,” he said. “I want to create a better better environment for job creation … We also need to improve our infrastructure of all kinds.”
Sen. Gene McLaurin, 57, is seeking a second term in Raleigh after serving 15 years as mayor of Rockingham. The 25th District includes Anson, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland and Stanly counties. McLaurin told The Daily Journal on Friday that he has enjoyed his first year in the state Senate.
“It’s been a great experience,” McLaurin said. “I’m very proud of the record I’ve built.”
McLaurin, who works as president of Swink-Quality Oil, said serving 15 years in a nonpartisan elected position helped fortify the idea of working across the party aisles. One bill, the Drug Screen Applicants for Public Assistance bill, required welfare recipients to pass a drug test before being eligible for certain welfare programs. He said the logic for such a vote was simple.
“In the private sector, I take a drug test for my job,” McLaurin said.
He also put a focus on funding for education “ahead of tax cuts for the wealthy.”
“We gave tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens and corporations in North Carolina,” he said. “I thought we should have used some of that money to pay not only our school teachers, but our highway patrolmen, (Department of Transportation) workers and court personnel. They’ve had minimal pay increases over the past six years.”
As he seeks to earn a second term in Raleigh, McLaurin said he will continue to advocate for creating jobs, improving educational opportunities and serving as a voice for rural North Carolina.
The filing period for the May primary begins at noon Feb. 10.