THE PILOT ENDORSES: N.C. House: Boles
Unlike the Senate race, the state House contest features two newcomers to the world of state-level elective politics.
Both candidates offer considerable strengths, and either seems likely to do a good job in Raleigh. On balance, though, The Pilot endorses Republican nominee Jamie Boles, a Southern Pines funeral home owner, over Democrat Betty Mangum, of Pinehurst, a retired educator and former member of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
The District 52 seat in the N.C. House of Representa-tives has a colorful history. The winner of this election will follow in the steps of Joe Boylan, who unhorsed powerful former Co-Speaker Richard Morgan in the 2006 primary and went on to win that year's election -- and then, amid scandal, lost the nomination to Boles last May.
The energetic and intelligent Mangum, a full-blooded Lumbee Indian who grew up in Pembroke and went on to compile a record of excellence in education, would bring a unique set of qualifications to the job. She has good contacts in Raleigh and well-thought-out positions on the economy, health care and jobs. If the Democrats maintain control of the House, which seems likely, she would be a member of the majority party.
But we prefer Boles, who would bring a businessman's sense to the complex budget issues that are certain to dominate legislative deliberations in this time of economic upheaval and uncertainty. Small businesses are the bedrock of the North Carolina economy, and that's a subject Boles knows intimately, having grown his funeral home from scratch into a thriving enterprise with a presence in several towns across the Sandhills.
Though Boles will be fulfilling a lifelong dream of public service if he wins election, he seems certain to keep his feet firmly in his beloved Moore County without getting too cozy with the power structure up there. He could be expected to fulfill his duty as a citizen legislator and then come back home, where he is known and liked.
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