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Gates County Commissioners seated

GATESVILLE – Two new faces joined the Gates County Board of Commissioners here Monday morning, but the board’s leadership remains unchanged.

Following the November General Election, John Hora, representing District 2, of Eure and Jack Owens, District 1, of Gatesville earned seats on the county’s governing authority.

Hora defeated former Commissioner Wade Askew in the May Primary and was unopposed on the November ballot.

Owens won the May Primary over former Commissioner Carlton Nickens and then captured the November election by defeating Republican political newcomer Jim Miller.

After accepting the oath of office from board clerk Diane Hendrix, both men played key roles in the board’s election of its chairman for the coming year, a chore performed at the first meeting of December.

Turning the meeting over to County Manager Toby Chappell, all five commissioners were open to make nominations for chairman.

That process began with Kenneth Jernigan offering the name of Graham Twine, who was just ending his first year as board chairman. Hora then nominated Henry Jordan.

Taken in order of nomination, Chappell called for a vote for Twine. He received votes from Jernigan and Owens as well as supporting himself.

Jordan was supported by a self vote as well as one from Hora, giving Twine the chairmanship by a 3-2 vote.

Twine then took over the meeting as the duly elected chairman and called for nominations for the vice-chairman’s position. Twine nominated Jernigan, which proved to be the only name entered into consideration. Jernigan, who served as vice-chairman for the previous two years, earned a third year to that spot by a 5-0 vote.

Later in Monday’s meeting, Hora and Owens made brief remarks about their new positions of authority.

“I hope to move Gates County forward,” Hora said. “We’re competing for growth against our friends and neighbors in Hertford, Chowan, Perquimans, Bertie and Northampton counties. I want to see us grow and improve our financial well being and we need a unified county behind us in those efforts.”

Owens said he kept a diary during campaign, jotting down the concerns of Gates County citizens.”

“Our citizens have a lot of ideas of how Gates County can become a better place to live and I’ll be bringing those ideas to this board,” Owens said.

The board’s “rookies” were welcomed by the veterans.

“Congratulations to our two new commissioners,” Jordan remarked. “Together we will all try and do what’s in the best interest of our citizens.”

“I welcome you both and look forward to working with you,” Jernigan said. “I would also like to use this opportunity to thank the citizens of Gates County for their vote and allowing me to serve another four-year term.”

“Let me also welcome our two newest members to the board,” Twine stated. “You will find this job as both challenging and rewarding. I also need to thank the board for the confidence you showed in me to continue as your chairman.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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