11/06/05 — Mayoral hopeful addresses felony marijuana charge

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Mayoral hopeful addresses felony marijuana charge

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 6, 2005 2:16 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive mayoral candidate Gilbert Usher said Friday he has changed his life since he was convicted of felony possession of marijuana in 1995.

He said he was going through a separation from his wife, who is Korean. He said she left him and returned to Korea in the 1990s, leaving him to raise two small children alone.

"I had to be mommy and daddy to both of them," he said. "People make mistakes. I got involved with people who were dealing drugs. I was trying to make a quick dollar, and I got messed up."

He said he wasn't smoking the marijuana, but he was drinking at the time. He said he didn't go through any programs. He just stopped.

"My kids were more important to me than doing that," he said.

Usher said he has lived in Mount Olive all his life. He said he is used to hard work, having started early working on farms all over Wayne and Duplin counties while he was growing up. He was in the Army from 1968 to 1973, and he said he was taught during that time to work for what he wanted.

He works on cars for people in his father's back yard where he lives. He has his own welding equipment, and he said he likes making trailers, barbecue grills and pig cookers for people. He said he likes to do any kind of steel fabrication.

"I'm 59 now. I was about 12 years old when I started welding."

Usher said he would do his best to improve the town's stormwater drainage problems if he were elected mayor. He said he works hard, and he would work hard for the town.

"A lot of stuff could be corrected if it's done right, rather than making promises and worming your way out of it," he said. "A bunch (of town officials) are. I ain't calling no names."

Usher will square off against incumbent Mayor Ruff Huggins Tuesday.

Huggins has said that Usher's record should not be a factor in the race.