01/21/08 — Bell announces he will run to keep his commission seat

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Bell announces he will run to keep his commission seat

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 21, 2008 1:57 PM

John Bell, who is in his second term on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, has announced he plans to run for re-election during the May primary.

Bell, a Democrat, was first elected in 2000 to represent District 3, which includes most of Goldsboro, and the Hooks River Road, Tommy's Road and Belfast areas.

"I'm running for re-election because right now we have so many irons in the fire and so much on our plate, I want to see some things to completion before I leave that office," he said.

Tops among those are education and the movement currently under way to improve school facilities and academic programs, he said.

"One of the most important issues facing the county will continue to be school funding," Bell said. "We need to discuss all the issues surrounding the education of our children in a frank and forthright manner. Our goal must be to provide the best education we can for our children, and we cannot afford to let anything deter us in this process."

Other priorities include the need for more jail space, an expanded and improved facility for the health, social services and services on aging departments, a potential comprehensive county government complex, the final opening of the county's new animal shelter and the implementation of the new comprehensive land use plan.

"I believe the county is on the threshold of some exciting events that we have been working towards for several years now, and I think now, more than ever, the county needs the continuity of leadership to continue the forward and positive momentum," he said.

Bell explained that he first ran for public office in 2000 at the urging of several friends in the community after 20 years in the U.S. Air Force (retiring as a first sergeant) and 20 years in the state probation and parole office (retiring as a district manager).

"At the time I was just sort of sitting around when I started helping Rep. Larry Bell (D-Sampson) with his campaign and found out commissioner John Henry Wooten was retiring. Then I bumped into him one day and he told me he thought I should fill the seat he would be vacating," Bell said. "So I ran based on a lot of input from the community."

And, he added, even though he never planned on getting involved in local politics, he's enjoyed his time on the board.

"It's probably been one of the best parts of my life. Being a county commissioner has been really great," he said. "I think the importance of the job and the responsibility you have is just profound.

"Really when you think about it, 115,000 people in this county are depending on you. It's a really big job and I don't take it lightly."

And so, he thinks that he's still the right man for the job, citing his background in the Air Force and state government, his degree in business management and his time with county.

"I think when you look at my resume ... I'm very familiar with the county concept and what we're trying to do. And I think we've done a lot of good things," Bell said. "It takes a knowledgeable person to do what's needed at the county level.

"I just think right now I'm the best man for the job."

Filing for county, state and national offices will begin in February.