06/09/04 — Wharton lists five campaign issues

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Wharton lists five campaign issues

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 9, 2004 2:05 PM

Ed Wharton says he feels compelled to run for Wayne County commissioner this year, if only to halt the push for higher taxes and more regulations.

In his campaign statement, Wharton, the county's Republican Party chairman, said that he had not planned to seek office this year, but many District 5 residents asked him to do so.

Ed Wharton


They were concerned about recent property tax increases and the creation of "many unneeded ordinances and regulations," Wharton said. "Although I did not wish to run for commissioner, I will actively run for this office to bring a true conservative voice for the taxpayers of Wayne County on the Board of Commissioners."

Wharton will focus his campaign on five issues, he said.

First, the county needs to lower taxes, he said. Many property owners saw their tax bills go up 30 percent or more last year, following the revaluation. Some people's mortgage payments went up $50 or more a month to cover the taxes, he added.

"Government must tighten its belt just like our citizens have to do," he said.

Second, he will push for the best education possible for children. However, he opposes the current plans for a $82 million school building program.

Third, he will support fire and rescue departments. He also favors increasing pay for the sheriff and deputies so that the county is competitive with neighboring counties.

Fourth, he believes Wayne County has established too many layers of bureaucracy and regulations. He would push to repeal those that are not necessary, he said.

Finally, he would offer "better representation," he said. "Too often our elected officials vote for their own or for special interests rather than the will of the people. I promise to be the voice on the board for the average citizen and to work for their interests."

Wharton is making his third bid for the county board. He lost in District 5 to D.J. Pelt in both 1992 and 1996.

This year, he will face Roland "Bud" Gray, the long-time chief of New Hope Volunteer Fire Department. Gray, a Democrat, is making his first attempt at public office.

Wharton has served two terms as chairman of the Wayne County Republican Party. He currently is also the chairman of the GOP's 1st Congressional District executive committee. He has also served two years as president of the local AARP chapter. He also is an active member and past president of Harvest Baptist Church.

He and his wife, Helen, have been married 46 years. They have three children, two grand-children and a great-grandson.