Democrat Betty Mangum Files for State House Seat
For the first time this decade, a Democrat is running for Moore County's seat on the state House of Representatives.
Pinehurst resident Betty Mangum, a retired educator and former Wake County Commissioner, filed Thursday for the House in District 52, which contains almost all of Moore County.
Three Republicans are running for the seat: incumbent Joe Boylan, retired Lt. Col. Lane Toomey and funeral home owner Jamie Boles. The seat has been Republican-controlled since the mid-1980s. The Republicans will face off in a May primary contest, with the winner to face Mangum in November.
Mangum worked with the N.C. Department of Education in Raleigh for more that 20 years. She served on the Wake County Board of Commission-ers from 1998 to 2002.
"As a commissioner, I learned a lot about developing a unity of purpose and respect within our county," she said. "We tackled all the tough issues together, including a water plan, planned growth, law enforcement, transportation and everything else important to our citizens."
She had been considering a run for the General Assembly before moving to Pinehurst.
"I was thinking seriously about running for the House before we moved from Wake County," she said, "then we moved to Moore County from Cary in 2004, and I put my political career on hold for awhile."
The challenges a Democratic candidate faces in Moore County have not escaped Mangum. But she said she wanted to run in order to become the first woman elected to represent Moore County in the state House.
"On a recent Saturday morning, my husband and I were Googling some history of the North Carolina General Assembly and made a startling discovery," Mangum said. "There has never been a woman to serve in the North Carolina House of Representatives from Moore County -- ever. I told my husband, 'Don't you think it's about time?'"
Mangum ran in Wake County on her education credentials and plans to do the same here. Wake County had many of the same issues then that Moore County is facing now: growth and an over-crowed school system.
She said they addressed the issues in Wake County by getting three school bonds passed.
"It isn't always popular to support taxes for schools," Mangum said, "but I can't think of anything more important then providing a quality education for our future generations."
Mangum grew up in nearby Pembroke. She is a Lumbee Indian. Her father, Clifton Oxendine, was dean of students at Pembroke State College, now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
He was the first American Indian dean at a state school in the entire United States. In 1977, she followed in his footsteps to become the first Director of Indian Education for the state. She led several education and cultural programs centered on the contributions of American Indians in North Carolina.
She received her bachelor's degree in elementary education at UNC-Pembroke, and a master's degree in administration from N.C. Central University in Durham. She was a school teacher in the Midwest before moving back to her native state.
Mangum is the recipient of several awards, including Woman of Achievement Award from the North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
She's a past president of the Pinehurst Newcomers Club, is on the education committee at the Village Chapel, the membership committee of Pinehurst Resort, the Women of Weymouth and the League of Women Voters.
She and her husband, Al, have two adult children and five grandchildren.
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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