03/06/08 — Bruton only Democrat filing for District 1 run

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Bruton only Democrat filing for District 1 run

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 6, 2008 1:45 PM

As the only Democrat filed for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners District 1 seat, Charles Bruton has the luxury of avoiding a May primary, but he nonetheless is beginning to work to get his message out to voters.

"I value quality of life, and I think Wayne County has a lot of offer," he said. "Wayne County is and has been a great place to work and live, and I hope to see that continue.

"I've always had a passion for leadership and a passion to serve. It's just something I was raised with, and it's just the right time."

With 38 years of experience in education, transportation and natural resource consulting under his belt, he also thinks he is the right man to help make sure Wayne County's quality of life remains well into the future.

"I have a desire to take my experience, knowledge and lessons learned and work with others to improve the quality of life for District 1 and all of Wayne County," Bruton said.

Especially, he added, as the state and the county prepare to grow.

He explained that his experience, which ranges from teaching and coaching at both public and private schools, to the state Department of Transportation where he retired as the supervisor of the Office of Natural Environment, to his current position as vice president for Environmental Services for Mulkey Engineers and Consultants, gives him the ability to look at all sides of future development issues.

"North Carolina is fixing to experience a very large population growth," he said. "Because we are located in the coastal plain between the capital city and the coast, I feel that we are in a prime position to capture new growth as Raleigh and the Piedmont continue to grow. And in order to get ready for that in Wayne County, we have got to get our infrastructure in place and be creative in how we deal with some of the wetland programs we have."

And that's where he feels he can offer the most to the commission -- helping find the right balance between development and environmental needs.

"My entire career I have showed environmental stewardship," he said. "I understand there is a need for growth, but we need to do it in a very sensitive manner."

That means working on storm water, water quality, water capacity and conservation issues, all while working to address other infrastructure issues such as transportation -- particularly the continued improvements to I-795.

But education also is at the top of Bruton's list.

"Don't discount education. Environment, water and infrastructure are all very important, but I think education is equally important," he said. "Wayne County needs to have the type of schools and public services available that will attract new individuals and businesses to our county."

To him, that means, making sure the county has good, quality teachers in place. But it also means examining whether the current facilities are overcrowded, outdated and where new ones might be located, as well as how to best utilize existing space, both for classes and for after-hours activities such as adult education efforts.

"I know you can have good teachers even if you don't have the best buildings, but it's nice to have good facilities, too," he said. "And I will encourage communication and openness between the board and all our Wayne County citizens, and especially the Board of Education."

Other concerns include the need to promote economic development, the need to protect the county's rural lifestyle and landscape, the need to support the county's emergency responders, and the need to partner with all the municipalities, especially those in the north -- Bruton is from Fremont -- to help them improve their communities.

But most of all, he explained he simply wants the opportunity to serve and to maybe bring some new ideas to the board.

"I think there has been good leadership here," Bruton, 62, said. "I think Andy Anderson has done a great job. I just feel like maybe I would have a little different approach and a new vision. I will promise that I will try to be a good listener and make sound decisions based on accurate information brought before the board.

"I have a passion for seeing that we have a good quality of life in this county, and I think we can have a better quality of life if we prepare. I just think we need to plan for the future."