Brooks seeks return to office

Published 1:01 am Sunday, July 17, 2011


Richard Brooks was a member of the Washington City Council for nearly a decade until his unsuccessful re-election bid in 2009.
On Friday, Brooks came back for another try, signing up to run again just before the close of the municipal filing period for November’s elections.
“I felt like I should serve,” Brooks said in an interview Saturday. “It was a family thing. We sat down and talked about it, so I went and put in for it.”
A lifelong resident of Washington, Brooks serves on the steering committee of the local Council on Aging and on the board of the Salvation Army’s Washington corps.
Brooks runs a bus station and maintains his own rental property.
Asked what he hopes to accomplish if elected, he immediately focused on city employees.
“One thing is I believe,” he said, “that if we could come together as city employees which will make, I think, … the city a better place in which to live because with the – I’d like to see everybody treated fairly. That’s the bottom line.”
When Brooks lost roughly two years ago, other candidates pointed to the rates charged by the city-owned-and-operated Washington Electric Utilities as a possible factor. Brooks was unseated along with incumbent Mayor Judy Jennette and Councilman Darwin Woolard.
Brooks had voted against lowering the city’s electric rates, saying he wanted more time to study the effects of that move.
Asked whether he’d had a chance to reassess the past election, Brooks replied, “I don’t know, but in my dealings when I was on the city council I just feel like some things I could have an input on I didn’t have an input on after I got off the city council.”
Brooks dismissed the Beaufort County Republican Party’s involvement in the developing city council campaigns.
A subcommittee of the county GOP favors challengers Lloyd May and Rick Gagliano for two council seats. The party tasked the subcommittee with identifying conservative candidates for council, and May and Gagliano subsequently filed.
“I just feel that a man is going to do what he or she feels is right, and you can’t change that,” Brooks said. “And we have to come together as a council to make the best decisions for the citizens. It’s not about Republicans, it about the people.”
Filing to run for re-election were Councilmen Gil Davis, Ed Moultrie, Bobby Roberson, William Pitt and Doug Mercer.
Mayor Archie Jennings has no opposition.
The filing period for Aurora and Washington Park commissioner has been extended until noon Wednesday because of a shortage of candidates.
Washington Park Commissioners Patrick Nash and Jim Pagnani didn’t file before the noon deadline.
Nash said he filed to run for re-election after the deadline, during the extension period that started Friday.
“I was interested to see if there were other candidates that might have filed and the opportunity arose for the extension, and so I subsequently went in and filed,” said Nash, who is in his first, two-year term on the town board.
Pagnani couldn’t be reached for comment Saturday.
The filing period for mayor and council seats in the Town of Belhaven starts at noon July 25 and ends at noon Aug. 12.