Sheriff’s race up to nine

Published 8:52 pm Friday, September 13, 2013

The race for Beaufort County sheriff just got a little more crowded as Beaufort County native and former Washington County Sheriff’s Office sergeant Gary Blount has added his name. But Blount said he’s not concerned about a little competition.
“That’s what America is about — that’s democracy,” he laughed. “The great thing about being American is that everyone is granted a choice.”
Blount grew up in the Maple Grove community off Old Blounts Creek Road. He graduated from Washington High School and would later go on to basic law-enforcement training at Beaufort County Community College. Blount would start his law-enforcement career as a reserve officer with the Belhaven Police Department, but he would earn the rank of sergeant with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Now, he wants to have a voice in Beaufort County, he said.
“I want to have input with the things that go on with the sheriff’s office and try to improve Beaufort County as a whole,” Blount said.
He’d start with transparency.
“The citizens of Beaufort County should have more access to the sheriff’s office. I’m a firm believer that we work for the citizens and not the other way around,” Blount explained, adding that the lines of communication between residents and law enforcement could be improved.
As far as crime in concerned, Blount’s concern is drugs. He pointed out the change in popularity of “street” drugs like crack and marijuana in favor of prescription medications, which he sees as the No. 1 crime issue in the county.
Blount, a Democrat, said he’ll be running an honest campaign for sheriff.
“I want Beaufort County citizens to know I will not make any promises that I don’t think I can fulfill,” Blount said.
Rather, he said, to support his cause he’d be more than happy to meet the other candidates for office for a debate: “It’s about allowing everyone to state their opinion and letting the people decide,” he said.
Blount and his wife, Janice Ross Blount, live in Chocowinity. They have three grown daughters and a nephew they raised as their own.