08/17/07 — Republican party picks new leader

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Republican party picks new leader

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on August 17, 2007 1:45 PM

With a busy election season less than six months away, the Wayne County Republican Party underwent a change in leadership this week after chairman Billy Strickland resigned as he prepares to move to Vance County to accept the city attorney position for the town of Henderson.

He was replaced by Mark Corbett.

"The office was kind of thrust upon me since I was first vice chairman," Corbett said with a laugh.

But, the lifelong Repub-lican added, he is more than happy to take on the mantle.

"I believe in the conservative principals of the Republican Party," he said. "I'm a fiscal conservative, and I'm morally conservative, too."

And he's excited about the party's prospects heading into the future, particularly the 2008 election year.

"What I think we're trying to do, is re-establish the Republican base in Wayne County and really grow among the younger folks," he said.

The difficulty, he explained, is that while the party has a very strong and active membership core, many of those men and women are getting older and might soon begin to slow down.

"We need to be more visible. The message we want to put out is that our party is open to all people. We want to be sure we reach out to everyone in Wayne County who has an interest, regardless of their background," he said.

If they can do that, Corbett continued, then perhaps they can continue the work that core has already begun.

"I think we've been under-represented for a long time, but I think that those who preceded me have done a good job making some inroads," he said.

He explained that he not only wants to support state and national Republican candidates, but also continue to focus on local races.

"I'm looking forward to (2008). I'm hoping we can be a positive support for our candidates. The more support we can give them, then maybe the more favorably they'll look at Wayne County," he said. "I (also) think its important we have viable candidates and have good representation on the local boards."

But, he added, even though he will be working to elect Republican candidates and attract more people to the Republican Party, he still wants an amicable relationship with the other side.

"I believe in the two-party system," Corbett said. "We want to work with our counterparts on the other side of the street -- the Democrats. My philosophy is that everybody involved is in it for the good of the community. We may have different ideas, but we're all working toward the same goal."

Corbett, a Goldsboro native, currently lives in the Hood Swamp community with his wife, Charlotte, and four children. He is president of Corbett Insurance Agency on Berkeley Boulevard and serves on the Goldsboro Planning Commission.

He was succeeded as first vice chairman by Carroll Turner of Mount Olive.