LUMBERTON — Burnis Wilkins, who has law enforcement experience that spans five decades, filed Tuesday as a Democratic candidate for sheriff of Robeson County. He joins a field of candidates that already includes Randy Graham and Ronnie Patterson, both Democrats.
Wilkins currently serves as a member of the Lumberton City Council and has 36 years of sworn law enforcement experience dating back to the 1970s. He has served with the Lumberton Police Department, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Department of Crime Control & Public Safety and as a special deputy United States marshal. He is a law enforcement training coordinator at Robeson Community College.
He is a graduate of the N.C. Justice Academy Police Law Institute and has a Criminal Justice degree.
Wilkins is a 2013 recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest civilian honor.
“I plan a aggressive, yet professional approach to ridding our county of crime and grime,” Wilkins wrote in his statement. “A dual county/multi-agency gang and drug task force will be crucial to this effort. Inmate labor from the detention center will be utilized in conjunction with other programs to clean our roadways. I will also implement several programs of outreach to our youth and start a Badges & Bibles Program that will introduce the ministry to troubled youth through teen court participation.”
Also on Tuesday, Dwayne Smith filed for a third term to the Robeson County Board of Education as the District 8 representative.
“I am the only board member with a child attending the public schools,” Smith said. “I want to continue to be the voice for parents and all citizens as we work together to find ways to improve student achievement, recruit and retain teachers, improve graduation rates and build new schools so every student can be college and career ready.”
Cat Gaines and Richard Monroe filed previously for the seat.
Ray Cox filed Tuesday as a candidate for the District 6 seat on the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, which currently is held by David Edge.
Cox, who filed as a Democrat, is the second person this week to file for the seat. Ronald G. Hammonds, an Independent, filed as a Republican on Monday. Edge is a Republican.
Cox and his family are lifelong residents of Lumberton who now live in the Green View subdivision. He was a self-employed home builder, and is now retired.
Cox served on the Lumberton Rescue Squad as a volunteer for 25 years, and served as commander for 10 years. He now is a lifelong member. He served on the Robeson County Planning Board for 16 years, the Robeson County Board of Health for nine years and the Industrial Commission Board. He also served on the Piney Grove Elementary School advisor council board for two years, and served on the Saddletree Volunteer Fire Department and the Saddletree Jaycees.
“I am very concerned about education and excited about bringing jobs to our county,” Cox wrote in his statement. “Thank you for your support in the May 8 primary.”
Jarrod Lowery, 29, filed for election as a Republican for District 47 of the state House.
District 47 currently is represented by Charles Graham, a Democrat from Lumberton. Graham filed for re-election on Feb. 12.
Lowery, a Pembroke resident, is a member of the Lumbee Tribal Council. He is a regional director for the North Carolina Department of Insurance and serves as a commissioner on the N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.
Lowery is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
“As part of a new generation of leadership, and a lifelong citizen of Robeson County, I understand our need for safer communities, better schools and more jobs for our citizens. I am committed to working with the new sheriff and district attorney to mobilize state level resources to tackle the social ills affecting our neighborhoods and families. My desire is for Robeson to be a safer place to live, work, worship and raise a family.”
Christian Cano filed Monday as a Democratic candidate for District 9 of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Charlotte resident did not provide The Robesonian with biographical information or a statement. He ran unsuccessfully in 2016.
Cano is the second Democrat to file for the House seat occupied by Robert Pittenger, a Republican. Dan McCready, also of Charlotte, filed on Feb. 15.
Two Republicans also have filed as candidates to represent District 9. Clarence Goins, of Eastover, filed on Friday, and Mark Harris, of Charlotte, filed on Monday.
Pittenger has not filed for re-election.
Virgil Edgar “Eddie” Stanley III, of Lumberton, has withdrawn from the race for N.C. House District 46. That leaves incumbent Brenden Jones, a Republican, as the only candidate for the 46 seat.
Stanley came into the Robeson County Board of Elections office in Lumberton on Monday to fill out the withdrawal paperwork, said G.L. Pridgen, Board of Elections director.
The filing period ends at noon Feb. 28. The primary is May 8, and the General Election is Nov. 6.