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Nickens appointed Gates Commissioner

GATESVILLE – Carlton Nickens is now a Gates County Commissioner and he didn’t have to shake any hands, kiss any babies or erect a single campaign sign.

On Monday morning, Nickens took the oath of office to represent the Gatesville District as commissioner. He replaces David Brown who resigned April 8 citing a need to spend more time with his family and in his career.

“This is a very humbling experience,” Nickens said after being sworn in by Gates County Clerk of Court Nell Wiggins. “I prayed over this. I believe that the Lord puts people in position to do certain things.”

Nickens, a Hertford County native who has lived in Gates County for the past 30 years, told an overflow crowd gathered at the regularly scheduled Gates County Board of Commissioners meeting that this would be a job he will not take lightly.

“I promise that every decision I make will be for the benefit and the betterment of Gates County,” he said.

Then, turning his attention towards his three colleagues on the board, Nickens added, “I’m the new kid on the block. I need (commissioners) J.S. (Pierce), Kenny (Jernigan) and Wade (Askew) to help guide me.”

Since Brown’s resignation, the Gates County Democratic Party has met in an effort to recommend a replacement. That is their duty under state election guidelines, but the responsibility of actually naming Brown’s replacement fell in the hands of the Gates County Board of Commissioners.

At Monday’s meeting, Gates County Democratic Party Chairperson Paulette Wester and 1st Vice-President Anthony Saunders made their recommendation to the commissioners.

Wester informed the board that the Democratic Party’s executive committee, with 100 percent attendance, met May 1. Armed with the names of five individuals who had expressed interest in the vacant seat, Wester said ballots bearing those names were handed to each committee member.

“Carlton Nickens was the leading vote-getter (on those ballots) and we present him to you (commissioners) to accept or deny,” Wester said.

Following state elections guidelines in regards to filling the seat of a commissioner in mid-term, which Brown was, Wester said no matter the decision of the commissioners, Nickens’ name would appear on the ballot for the November General Election. As required by law, the Gates County Republican Party can also enter a candidate to face Nickens in November.

Following that explanation, Jernigan placed a motion on the floor to accept Nickens based on the Democratic Party’s recommendation. Askew offered a second with all three commissioners voting in favor of the motion.

After Nickens was seated as a commissioner, Pierce, the board chairman, asked for nominations for vice-chairman, a position once filled by Brown. Askew nominated Jernigan with Nickens offering a second. That motion passed without objection.

“Thank-you for that vote of confidence,” Jernigan said.