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Republicans take control of Nash County board

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Nash County Commissioner Robbie Davis was unanimously elected chairman of the Nash County Board of Commissioners.

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By Lindell John Kay
Staff Writer

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

NASHVILLE — Nash County has a new chairman of the board.

Longtime Commissioner Robbie Davis was elected unanimously by the county’s seven-member board Monday to a second term as chairman. He previously served in that position from 2009-10. He was the first Republican chairman in recent history.

“There was a lot of bipartisan good will,” Davis said.

Davis was nominated for the position by Commissioner Wayne Outlaw, a Republican, with a second by outgoing Chairman Fred Belfield, a Democrat.

Outlaw was elected vice chairman with a nomination by Commissioner Lisa Barnes, a Republican, and a second by Commissioner Mary Wells, a Democrat.

Incoming Commissioner Dan Cone gives Republicans a majority on the board. Cone replaces retiring Democrat Billy Morgan. The board now sits at a four-three ratio of Republicans to Democrats. Davis, Outlaw, Barnes — along with Cone — are Republicans. Belfield, Wells and Commissioner Lou Richardson are Democrats.

As chairman, Davis said he plans to focus on two main issues.

“We need to bring jobs to Nash County,” Davis said, adding that Carolinas Gateway Partnership did an excellent job landing the CSX train-to-truck terminal, “but it's time to turn it up.”

Davis said he also will focus on mending wounds caused by the two-year fight over funding of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

“That battle is over, but it left a lot of scars,” Davis said. “Now we need to work with the school board on capital needs.”

Nash County's population is slowly shrinking, which means fewer schools, Davis said.

“We need to work on a new model and utilize our facilities,” Davis said. “We've got to make adjustments. All revenue to schools is totally driven by attendance, so we need to be planning for the future.”

Davis said he will use his 35 years in the construction business to help guide the board through the next several years.

In a continued show of bipartisanship, the board also appointed Belfield as a voting delegate to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners Legislative Goals Conference.

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