11/06/05 — Two try to keep seats in Princeton

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Two try to keep seats in Princeton

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on November 6, 2005 2:07 AM

PRINCETON -- Two veteran incumbents face the challenge of a newcomer on Tuesday for two seats on the Princeton Town Board of Commissioners.

David Starling, 41, will seek his fourth four-year term, and Larry Withrow, 66, will seek his second, full term.

The challenger, Billy Sutton, 51, said he is running because of drainage problems in the small eastern Johnston County town. He says he can help because of his knowledge of engineering gleaned from his job with the state Department of Transportation's hydraulics unit.

The two highest vote-getters will join Eddie Haddock and Walter A. Martin Jr., whose terms expire in 2007, on the four-man board.

Mayor Don Rains, 51, has no opposition for a third two-year term.

Starling and Withrow said they are seeking new terms so they can see major improvements, like a new town hall, the Ray M. Floors Memorial Parks and sewer and water upgrades, to their fruition.

"We've been fortunate," Starling said. "We've made progress with our infrastructure, and I'd like to be a part of the continuing improvements."

"I'd like to see those things through until I am off the board," Withrow said of the town hall, park and sewer projects. "We've got a good board. I enjoy working with them, because we have a good relationship."

Sutton said he supported the town board's decision to push the three projects "100 percent." But added that there are other challenges Princeton is facing.

"We have a lot of drainage problems, and I think I can help them," he said "With my knowledge of engineering, I believe I can help the town in many areas."

He also said the town needs to look at its high water and sewer bills. He said his bid for office "was nothing personal against Larry and David, but I just want a spot on the board."

Starling serves as the chief of the Member Services Retirement Division for all 600,000 retired state employees. He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter and a son.

Withrow is regional superintendent of the Advent Christian Church covering five states. He says he is recovering well from a mild heart attack three weeks ago. He and his wife, Beverly, have a son, a daughter and two grandchildren who live nearby.

Sutton covered the entire state for the DOT until February when he suffered stroke. He has been on temporary disability but has met many townspeople while riding a golf cart. His wife, Terri, has two grown daughters and five grandchildren.