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Felton takes ‘early’ seat

GATESVILLE – Ray Felton now has one more hat to officially add to his growing collection.

Felton, a successful local businessman known for his passion in the battle against cancer, was recently sworn in as a member of the Gates County Board of Education. He ran unopposed in the May Primary, but that didn’t stop Gates County voters from placing a checkmark next to his name as Felton was named on 2,465 ballots, or 98.76 percent of the total votes cast.

Under normal circumstances, Felton would wait until after the November General Election to take his seat on the five-member school board. However, District 2 Board of Education incumbent Paulette Wester, who chose not to seek reelection, recently resigned due to health reasons.

With Felton as the official winner from District 2 in the May Primary, he claimed his seat three months earlier than expected.

“My attitude as a school board member is simple…if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it,” Felton said. “I’m working with highly skilled individuals who know what they are doing and how to operate a school system. We’re blessed in Gates County to have outstanding administrators in our school system. I’m here to support them and help them and our students in any way I can.”

The newly seated school board member added that local stakeholders in the Gates County education system are to be credited for helping the students excel in the classroom.

“I attended a PTA meeting a couple of weeks ago and learned this one PTA (Buckland) raises and donates to the school over $28,000.00 a year,” Felton exclaimed. “That is a wonderful effort on the part of parents to help improve the educational opportunities for their children. Attitudes like that are what help make Gates County schools among the best.”

Felton, who resides in the Eure community, is a political newcomer, but that rookie status hasn’t kept him from being involved in his community and local region over the years.

“I will remain involved in my other activities,” Felton stressed. “I love working with people and trying to help my community, my county and my area of the state be the best it can be.”

Felton, married with three children and four grandchildren, owns and operates Metal Tech in Murfreesboro. He and his business are major supporters of the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life, an annual event that raises money for cancer research as well as offers education on the many forms of this disease. He has served as a North Carolina ambassador for the American Cancer Society, traveling to national events to lobby US legislators for financial support that will assist in finding cures for cancer.

Felton is a cancer survivor.

Meanwhile, Gates County Public School officials made it a point at a recent meeting to publicly thank Wester for her years of service to the Board of Education.