Tarboro Town Council Ward 4 incumbent Jim Alford will face two newcomers for his seat during the Primary Election on May 8.
Alford, a three-term veteran on the council, is being challenged by J.O. Williams and Carol Furlough Ruffin.
Alford, 73, retired after 37 years with Sprint and is a Tarboro native. He is banking on his experience to give him an edge and said political newcomers who win often have a misconception of the scope of their power.
"I found out that a lot of folks don't know, until after they are elected, that there is a very limited amount that an individual can do," he said. "There's a lot of stuff you don't want to do, but have to do and then there's a lot of stuff you want to do that you can't do."
Ruffin, 47, is also a Tarboro native who has lived in Ward 4 all of her life. Ruffin has two associate degrees, two bachelor degrees and a masters degree, all in business administration, accounting and finance. The Telco Credit Union finance manager and part-time Edgecombe County Community College instructor, said she is running because the Tarboro Council needs a change.
"I've been talking about running for years and now I feel like the time is right," she said. "The Town of Tarboro has a new adminstration and now its time for some new faces with fresh ideas on the town council."
Williams, 79, is a retired ordained minister from Kinston who moved to Tarboro 15 years ago after marrying his wife, Idis, a Tarboro native. He has served two terms on the trustee board of Barton College in Wilson and 20 years at the state organization of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), also in Wilson. He believes those expriences will be an asset to town.
"I've worked with multiple ethnic backgrounds all over North Carolina," he said. "I can use my works as a trustee at Barton College to help the town and that is why I'm running. I think I have something to offer. I've also had people say, 'You really out to run.' So I decided to run and see if I can help the town."
If Williams is elected he said he would like to advocate for ventures that will attract tourism, businesses and industries.
He said, however, that he is not making any big campaign promises.
"That's where a lot of people go wrong," he said. "They make all these big promises and they are impossible to fulfill them. I will look at what can be done and work with the other council members to see what is best for our town and Ward 4."
Ruffin also said she would like to see new businesses and industries come to Tarboro. She also said she would like to improve the image of Tarboro.
"They call it a bedroom community because there's not a lot going on here," Ruffin said. "My vision is to change that. We need to get more action in Tarboro which will involve everyone."
But Ruffin's concern is being a voice for the constituents of Ward 4.
"I feel like the people in Ward 4 feel like they don't have a voice," she said. "I would like to be that voice. I'll listen to the people of Ward 4 and the employees of the town and all of the residents of Tarboro."
Alford disagreed with Ruffin’s claim of not being a voice for Ward 4.
"I don't know of anything that I need to apologize for since I've been on the council," he said. "I've done everything that was pleasing to my family first, my community second, and then Tarboro.”
If elected, Alford said he would like to keep the water and sewer rate low, and recognize town employees. He also wants to push for growth in the town.
If re-elected, he said he will, "Continue to do the service that I've provided over the last 12 years. I'm proud of my record."
Ruffin said if she is elected, "My door will always be open to the residents of Ward 4 and town employees and all of Tarboro residents. I will be the voice for them on the council. What I've heard from them they don't have that. Tarboro has a lot to offer. I would like to help move Tarboro to become a great city in the 21st Century.
Williams said if he is elected, "I will do my best. If I'm not elected, I'm not go going to beat up on the person who won. If the person who won can do a better job, then I will wish them well."