07/08/04 — Ag candidate Gilmore touts accomplishments

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Ag candidate Gilmore touts accomplishments

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 8, 2004 1:59 PM

How important is it for North Carolina to have a strong agriculture commissioner? The answer was right under Democrats' noses this morning, Tom Gilmore said.

As the Wayne County Democratic Men's Club ate breakfast at Wilber's Barbecue, Gilmore asked them to consider where the eggs, sausage and grits came from.

"If you eat, you need to be concerned about the commissioner of agriculture," said Gilmore, a Democrat running for the office.

Food produced in North Carolina creates jobs and brings revenue into the state, he said. Plus, it is less vulnerable to being contaminated or tampered with than food shipped here from other states or other countries.

"Does it make sense for us to ship apple juice and other crops in from China?" Gilmore said.

Gilmore believes his agricultural and legislative experience separates him from the other two candidates. For more than 30 years, Gilmore has overseen Gilmore Plant & Bulb, his family's nursery and landscape contracting company in Julian. Two sons and two grandsons also work in the business, he said.

Gilmore also served three terms in the N.C. General Assembly, during which he successfully sponsored legislation that rewrote tax codes and allowed farmland to be taxed by its use value rather than market value.

"I've had many people come up to me and say, 'Tom Gilmore, you saved our family farm,'" he said.

North Carolina needs innovative approaches to help people continue to make money in agriculture, he said, noting the promise of biotechnology.

He also would work hard to ensure a federal buyout of tobacco quotas, he said. "Without a buyout, there will be wholesale disaster across North Carolina. We need action now."

Gilmore is challenging fellow Democrat Britt Cobb, who was appointed commissioner after Meg Scott Phipps was forced to resign. Whoever wins the July 20 primary will face Republican Steve Troxler in the fall.

Cobb was also scheduled to address the club but was not represented.

More information about Gilmore can be found at www.TomGilmore2004.com.

Deeds candidates

Also, John Chance and Lois Mooring, the Democratic candidates for Wayne County register of deeds, addressed the club.

Chance thanked the party members for choosing him last year to fill the vacancy in the deeds office and reminded them that he had been an active member since at least 1976.

This year the deeds office has been modernizing and within days will begin the process of making deeds information from 1969 until the present available via the Internet, he said.

Chance has also begun such management practices as annual reviews and time sheets for the first time in the deeds office, he said. If elected, he will continue to work on efficiency and professionalism.

Ms. Mooring told the club that she has worked in the county clerk of court's office for 12 years and, prior to that, as a legal secretary for 20 years.

"I see the deeds office as an extension of what I'm doing right now -- helping the public," she said.

If elected registrar, she promised to be a good listener and .

Whoever wins the July 20 primary will face Republican Chris West in the fall.