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home : news : news June 24, 2022

4/13/2022 8:26:00 AM
ELBA Meet the Candidates Night #2 Wednesday

Wayne Howard

About 75 people were on hand Monday evening as the East Lincoln Betterment Association held a Meet the Candidates night with candidates for Lincoln County Commissioner and Sheriff.  

Four of the five candidates who'll be on the GOP Primary ballot were on hand for Monday night's session, answering a variety of questions.  Truthfully, from their comments, they appeared to hold much the same opinions and the answers were more a consensus than a debate.  The revaluation process (already underway and due to be completed by next February) was discussed.  All of the candidates appeared to agree that one of the biggest problems facing Lincoln County is infrastructure.  Commissioner Milton Sigmon held up a copy of a Dept. of Transportation plan from 2018 that indicated that improvements to the Unity Church Road and NC16-business intersection would begin in 2019.  Sigmon, who currently serves as the county's representative on the Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization, said 'nothing has happened yet,' adding that DOT operates as it sees fit and that plans for road improvements are often delayed.

Candidate Glenn Fiscus said Lincoln County state representative Jason Saine and state senator Ted Alexander should be called upon to push the issue and suggested that commissioners should join with those from other counties in lobbying for quicker action.

While all agreed that roads are a major need, Commissioner Bud Cesena said his priority for county government is public safety and schools.  

Fiscus lamented that East Lincoln pays a disproportionate share of county property taxes.  Sigmon responded 'we are one county,' saying that projects like the extension of water services to West Lincoln and other projects in central and western Lincoln County also indirectly benefit East Lincoln residents.  Sigmon, who has pushed for a sports complex and park noted that commissioners had approved last week the purchase of a large piece of land off Bethhaven Church Road that will hopefully provide a new large park for the area.  He and Cesena also talked briefly about the renewed interest in what has been called the 'Riverbend Project,' that would create a major industial development near the Lincoln-Gaston county line.  

In the Sheriff candidates session, candidate Ronnie Messer said he wanted the Sheriff's Office to do more to enforce traffic laws.  Erin Long said she would add a cold case investigator to the staff: "We've got several murders that are still unsolved."  Bill Beam told about equipment improvements since he became Sheriff: "our officers are as well equipped as almost any in the state.  We've added a new patrol boat that is like what the Coast Guard uses on the inland waterway.  We're very present on the lake--at least 12 hours every day during Summer.  We now have body cameras and tasers for all our officers, and we gave them AR-15s so if we have a mass shooter, they have what they need to respond.  We turned shotguns into bean bag guns--another non-lethal way of stopping an assailant."

The Wednesday night event will be for candidates for the Lincoln County Board of Education.  The school board election has always been non-partisan until this year.  Fred Jarrett, a candidate for one of the three seats up for election in 2022, pushed, when he was chairman of the Lincoln County Republican Party, to make them partisan.  Three Democrats will be among those in the Wednesday session.

Doors will open at 6 PM and the Meet the Candidates program will start at 6:30.

The Lincoln Herald isn't doing a Meet the Candidates event at the Cultural Center this Spring.  Instead, we'll be doing interviews similar in format to the Presidential debates you have probably watched. On Monday April 25th, our reporter will ask questions of the candidates for Sheriff; then in a second session, of candidates for the Board of Education. We'll have the candidates sit at a table and answer questions; they'll also have the opportunity to respond to what the other candidates have said.

On Tuesday April 26th we'll do the same kind of interviews with the candidates for Lincoln County Commissioner.  These 'debates' will be at the Lincoln Cultural Center--but not in the auditorium. We won't have an audience for them--just our reporter, a camera operator who will record the sessions, and the candidates. The videos from these sessions will be uploaded to articles on our website and to YouTube.

We want to make sure that any question the public would like to have answered by the candidates is included. We are asking readers to send us questions they'd like to have asked. Email your questions to We have received some already, but we welcome others.  

While you can already vote in the May 17th Primary (absentee by mail), early voting will begin Thursday April 28th.   In North Carolina, any eligible voter can request, receive, and vote an absentee ballot by mail.  Registered voters may request a ballot online at the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Portal. By-mail voters in 2022 must have their ballot witnessed and the return envelope signed by two individuals or a notary.

To vote on Primary Election Day, you must be registered by April 22nd, but you can register and vote at the same time during early voting.  

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