02/22/08 — Horne to seek seat on commission

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Horne to seek seat on commission

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 22, 2008 1:53 PM

Despite just being re-elected councilman and appointed mayor of Walnut Creek in November, Darrell Horne has decided seek the Democratic nomination for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners at-large seat.

"I just want to give something back to the community. I love this county and I love the people in it," he said. "I feel like I've got a diverse background in a lot of different areas and I feel like I've got a lot I could give back to the county."

Among his qualifications, Horne cited his 22-year career in the North Carolina National Guard -- retiring as a sergeant first class -- his 22 years of membership and current chairmanship on the Mount Olive College Board of Trustees, and his 12 years on the Village of Walnut Creek Village Council.

He also cited his business background as the owner and president of Horne Moving Systems since 1973, and his membership on the UniGroup -- holding company for United Van Lines, Mayflower Transit, Valiner Insurance Company and Trans Advantage Leasing -- Board of Directors since 1999.

But, he said, all that success can be traced back to his humble Wayne County roots and the hard work that was required for him to move up.

"I grew up on a tenant tobacco farm out in Patetown and my parents never finished high school," he said. "I was the first one in my family to finish high school and to finish college.

"I've succeeded in life in a lot of different things, but none of that matters unless you give something back."

If elected, though, he would have to relinquish his seat on the Walnut Creek Council -- an admittedly hard decision he had to make when he decided to file.

"I can't hold two elected offices," he said. "I love Walnut Creek and have been on that council for a long time, and I would hate to give that up because I feel like we've made some good steps in the last 10 years.

"But on the other hand, we have a good council and a good mayor pro-tem, and I just feel the county could use my experience at this time," he continued.

He explained that he's running for the at-large seat because it's open and because he didn't want to run against Commissioner Jack Best who also is from Walnut Creek.

"Jack's a good friend of mine and I think he's doing a good job as county commissioner, and since Atlas decided to retire, I felt like if I was going to do it, it was a good time," he said.

Horne, 59, isn't, however, coming to the race with a laundry list of things that need to be done.

"I'm on the outside looking in, but it seems like we all have the same vision for the county," he said, rattling off issues like schools, economic development, infrastructure improvements, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and taxes. "And those are mine, too. They're not only what the candidates want, they're what the residents of Wayne County want, too."

He did emphasize, though, the importance of continuing to work on the schools.

"I think we need to be willing to work with one another. I think it's paramount that we get the county and the school board on the same page. Before we move forward we have to find some common ground," Horne said. "All of economic development hinges on education, and if we can accomplish that, I think all of the other things will fall into place."

"And I think we're on the right track. I don't know that we're moving as quickly as we probably need to, but I think we're on the right track."