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Bertie Commissioner seeks state House seat

WINDSOR – Aided by the new NC General Assembly House re-districting plan, and a professed desire to see the region move forward, Bertie Commissioners vice-chairman Ronald D. “Ron” Wesson HAS officially announced his candidacy for the North Carolina House of Representatives District One.

House District One is comprised six northeastern North Carolina counties: Bertie – formerly in the 5th District, and previously represented by Howard Hunter III – joins Camden, Chowan, Perquimans, Tyrell and Washington, to make up the others in the new district. It became an open House seat after Rep. Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan) decided to run for the NC Senate.

Bertie County makes up 25 percent of the district’s population. Despite a 54-plus percent Democrat majority in registered voters, it’s expected to be one of the most competitive House districts in the state.

Ronald D. ‘Ron’ Wesson

Wesson, who says he will run as a Democrat, first revealed his plans Monday evening at the meeting of the Board of Commissioners’ meeting.

“Today, the Democratic Caucus of the state of North Carolina has announced my candidacy,” he said on Monday. “I pray the support of the people of Bertie County and the surrounding counties.”

Wesson says he has spoken with the Democratic party chairpersons in all six counties in the district, and feels he has their support.

According to the Elizabeth City Daily Advance, Wesson becomes the second Democrat to announce their candidacy for the district seat. Hertford, NC town councilman Quentin Jackson announced in January, meaning he and Wesson could square off in a May Democratic primary.

“I don’t think – at this point – there’s another significant candidate in the race on the Democratic side, but the filing date is still not until next week,” Wesson acknowledged Monday evening. “And I will have significant opposition on the Republican side; making for a good race.”

Two GOP candidates have announced an intention to run – again, according to the Daily Advance: former TV anchor and marketing consultant Candice “CV” Hunter and Chowan County Commissioner Eddie Goodwin.

Wesson was elected to his second four-year term on the Bertie County Board of Commissioners in 2017. He served as chairman in 2014-15. Should he win the House seat, he would have to vacate his Commissioners’ seat prior to being sworn in Raleigh; but he would retain his seat on the Board should he lose that election.

“I’m in it to win it,” he stated. “I’m in it to represent the citizens of not only Bertie County, but I believe the First District needs stronger and bolder representation in Raleigh. I think for a long time the northeastern portion of the state has not been truly represented as it should, nor had its fair share of focus, or resources to aid our growth and development.”

Wesson suggests he’s willing to ‘reach across the aisle’ and work with the opposition on matters pertinent to the area.

“I want to be a strong voice, a strong advocate for these citizens, but at the same time I want to be an elected representative who can work with all people,” he maintained. “(Going) beyond petty politics and work together to help this district grow. We need growth, we need economic development, and we need strong leadership, and that’s what I want to offer in my role.”

Following his impromptu announcement, Wesson’s fellow Commissioners gave him a round of applause.

On Wednesday, Wesson unveiled a website: wessonfornc.com. An announcement on his candidacy was also released by the North Carolina House Democratic Caucus.

“Over my years serving Bertie County, I have learned the importance of working with others to tackle the challenges and opportunities our communities face,” his website says. “A shared vision, built by bringing together people with different perspectives, is crucial to moving our state forward. But today the politicians in Raleigh are more interested in partisan games than building a shared vision. “Today, too many families in northeastern North Carolina are struggling to make ends meet. Our schools are underfunded and good teachers are leaving the state for better pay and it’s our students who are paying the price. I am running for North Carolina House because we owe it to the next generation to do better,” the website concluded.

Prior to elected office, Wesson was a senior vice-president and Global Leader of the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation where he served for more than 31 years. He completed his undergraduate work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his graduate studies at The Sloan School of Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). In 2004, Black Enterprise Magazine named Wesson one of the 50 most Influential Minorities in Business.

Upon his return to Bertie County, Wesson was named Windsor-Bertie Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year in 2010. He is married to the Rev. Dr. Patricia W. Wesson, a local psychiatrist in private practice; and the couple has two adult children.