03/22/04 — Williford run for congress

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Williford run for congress

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on March 22, 2004 1:58 PM

An Oxford man is planning to file for the U.S. House of Representatives' 1st District, setting up a Republican primary this summer.

During a visit to Goldsboro on Friday, Jerry Williford said he intended to run "a positive campaign, one with vision and answers," against fellow Republican Greg Dority of Washington and, if he won the primary, the Democratic nominee. The district is currently represented by Rep. Frank Ballance, a Democrat. The district includes Wayne County.

Williford, a registered nurse at a state hospital in Oxford, has never run for office but believes he must try for Congress.

Jerry Williford


"Anyone who is going to fix Social Security is just not going to get much done in Raleigh or at the county level," he said. "I'm trying to cut in line."

He added with a laugh, "I'm 59 years old. I don't have time to start at the bottom."

Privatization of Social Security would be one of Williford's main goals. It would probably take 15 to 20 years to change from the present system to one that more resembles a 401(k) system, he said.

Investment of the retirement funds would pump money into the U.S. economy, create jobs and ultimately boost income tax collections, Williford said.

He is also committed to long-term job growth.

"Nothing is more important than jobs," he said. "People have to have paychecks coming in to be able to attend to their most basic needs."

He would support a 50-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes for two years to finance a buyout of tobacco quotas. That tax would raise an estimated $14 billion, which Williford would split between the farmers and the federal government, he said.

He would work to restore "family values," he said.

He hopes to reach out to Democrats, who make up about 75 percent of the 1st District. Many issues transcend party lines, he said. "People need hope."

Williford is a native of Granville County. He served in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1967 and was awarded the Purple Heart, among other military honors. He worked for almost 20 years in the trucking industry before getting a nursing degree through his local community college.

He has worked as a registered nurse since 1996 at Murdoch Center in Butner.

He was married for more than 36 years to Betty Jean Thompson Williford before her death. He has six children and seven grandchildren.

For more information, go to www.jerrywillifordushouse.com.

Williford and Dority could face other challengers in this summer's primary, but they are the only Republicans so far to announce they will run. Dority also ran in 2002.

Rep. Ballance, of Warrenton, intends to run for re-election but faces a federal investigation into the possible misuse of money by a nonprofit organization that Ballance founded. Former N.C. Supreme Court Justice G.K. Butterfield, of Wilson, may challenge Ballance in the Democratic primary.