Kirkland launches write-in campaign

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, October 13, 2009

AHOSKIE – A challenger has surfaced for the center seat on the Ahoskie Town Council.

Donald Kim Kirkland has launched a write-in campaign for the office of mayor, this according to Shelia Privott, director of the Hertford County Board of Elections.

However, Privott did note that due to this being a non-partisan municipal election, Kirkland did not need to petition the Board of Elections in order to seek office.

“There is no petition required in a non-partisan election,” Privott said. “Mr. Kirkland was not required to go through the Board of Elections; he did not have to let me know of his intent.”

As a write-in candidate, Kirkland’s name is not printed on the ballot. Privott said those choosing to cast a vote for Kirkland, or any other individual not listed on the ballot, can do so by writing in that person’s name.

“Under each printed listing on the ballot is a space where a voter can write-in the name of an individual,” Privott said. “All of those write-ins are counted.”

Privott added that the names printed on the ballot are the individuals who officially filed for municipal offices. That filing period ended July 17 and incumbent Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn formally filed for reelection prior to that deadline.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Kirkland, in attendance at recent Ahoskie Council meetings, has voiced concerns over the town’s water rates, street conditions and that the police department is not doing enough to combat drug and gang activity.

“This town needs change,” Kirkland wrote in a letter delivered to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald office on Oct. 9. “It needs someone who will give the people of Ahoskie answers instead of excuses.”

If elected, Kirkland promised…“to get crime and drugs under control as well as the gang problem.”

He continued, “I will always have an open door policy to hear residents’ advice, questions and any other matter. I will do what I can to make Ahoskie a place where businesses see as a place to be profitable (with a) clean environment low crime and gang rates as well as rid this town of drugs to entice businesses to come here.”

The 42-year-old U.S. Army veteran resides at Creekwood Court. He is a 1985 Ahoskie High School graduate who served in the Army’s Field Artillery units, stationed in West Germany and Fort Jackson, SC.

In his letter, Kirkland admitted to having a criminal record – a misdemeanor charge in South Carolina in 1988 and a trespassing charge in North Carolina in 1992.

“I took responsibility for my mistakes and took my punishment,” he wrote. “These (charges) do not bar me from holding office. Believe me, politicians have served with far worse.”

A criminal records check performed by this newspaper revealed another charge – this one for making a bomb threat in Hertford County in February of 1989. According to the North Carolina Department of Corrections website, Kirkland was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation for that charge.

Kirkland called himself…“a normal, everyday person who, like others, has seen hard times, been through challenging situations and emerged a better person.”

“Do you want results, answers and accountability,” his letter closed. “I will give you those things if you write in my name on the ballot on Nov. 3.”