Filing Activity Picks Up for Other Towns
Carthage will have a new mayor in December.
Current Mayor Ronnie Fields said Monday that he will not be a candidate in November's municipal elections. He accompanied Tommy Stewart to the Moore County Board of Elections office as Stewart filed to serve out the remaining two years on the mayor's term.
Filing activity has picked up for municipal offices in the county's 11 towns and villages as the Friday noon deadline approaches..
Aberdeen Mayor Betsy Mofield and Vass Mayor Eddie Callahan have filed for re-election. Several incumbents in Taylortown filed for re-election along with a former councilman, Lonnie Jones III, who lost his seat two years ago after being arrested on drug charges
Fields retired from the N.C. Highway Patrol, where he served on the governor's security team, to take over command of special operations as a deputy under Moore County Sheriff Lane Carter. The two lawmen had been political rivals at one time, both seeking the Republican Party nomination for sheriff.
After Carter won, Fields stayed with the Highway Patrol. For the nine years before returning as a captain with the Sheriff's Office, Fields guarded the chief executives of North Carolina on the governor's security detail.
Fields began his 26-year career in law enforcement as a sheriff's deputy in Moore County. He still lives in the same home where he grew up. When Carthage annexed him involuntarily, Fields ran for office and was elected to the board. Fields was mayor pro-tem when Mayor William C. Walton died, and accepted the mayoral responsibility at that time.
Now, Fields says he finds his law-enforcement responsibilities are going to have to come first. He is a strong supporter of Stewart to succeed him as mayor.
There are three seats with four-year terms on the fall ballot for the Carthage Town Board. Two incumbent commissioners, Artie Barber and Robert Sullivan, have filed for re-election. Challenger Lee T. McGraw has filed. One two-year unexpired term on the Carthage board is also on the ballot this fall, but no one had as yet filed for that seat as late as Tuesday noon.
Elsewhere, incumbent Mark Garner filed for re-election to the Robbins Town Board. Joey Boswell -- the chairman of the town Planning Board whose home was just annexed voluntarily into town -- also filed for one of three four-year seats on the Board.
'Best Place in World'
Mofield is seeking re-election to a sixth two-year term. She has been mayor for the past ten years.
"I'm delighted to be involved with Aberdeen now and hope to continue to be involved for the next two years as mayor," she said by phone. "It's absolutely the best place in the world to live."
In addition to the mayor's seat, two seats on the town's Board of Commissioners are up for election this year. The seats have four-year terms.
Alan Parker and incumbent Walter Wright Jr. both filed Tuesday. Mofield praised Wright's accounting expertise, which she said was valuable to the board. She called Parker -- the son of former Aberdeen commissioner and mayor Art Parker -- a "fantastic young man" who would bring a different generational perspective to the town.
Commissioner Donna Shannon decided against running for another term. Mofield said her service to the town had been "wonderful."
Keeping a Promise
Jones is making good on his promise to run for another term on the Town Council. Jones is a strong supporter of Mayor Ulysses Barrett Jr.
Two of Barrett's opponents, F. Ellis Ray, Jr., and former mayor Jesse F. Fuller, Sr., have also filed for re-election. James Lindsey, who lives in Pinesage, filed as a challenger for one of the five seats on the council, which all carry two-year terms. The council then elects one member as mayor.
Jones was arrested along with his brother, Scott Jones, on drug charges. Lonnie Jones, who insisted that he didn't commit any crimes, received a suspended sentence after making a plea deal with the state on two drug-related charges.
He said he was trying to help his war-injured brother adjust to civilian life when he got caught up in an undercover drug investigation by the Moore County Sheriff's Office, his attorney Dusty Rhoades said at the time.
Jones entered "Alford pleas" to two misdemeanors, and the state dropped all felony charges against him as part of his plea bargain. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb gave him two consecutive 45-day sentences, which were suspended on 18 months' probation.
An Alford plea is one in which a defendant decides that pleading guilty is in his own best interest even though maintaining that he is not guilty in fact. That is what Jones did, according to his lawyer.
One of the misdemeanors was for possessing drug paraphernalia (the baggies used were in Jones' house) -- the other was for maintaining a residence where drugs were sold. Neither conviction bars Jones from holding public office or affects his Social Security disability pension.
Jones promised to return to active political life in Taylortown as he was leaving court that day.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Contact John Krahnert at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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