Retired police officer challenges Tarboro mayor


Al Braxton, left, is challenging Tarbor Mayor Joe Pitt.


Staff Writer

Monday, October 23, 2017

A retired law enforcement officer is challenging a local longtime business owner for his seat as mayor of Tarboro in next month’s municipal election.

A regular at the monthly Tarboro Town Council meetings, Al Braxton spent 27 years as a police officer for the Tarboro Police Department. Braxton said he had taken a strong interest in becoming mayor for awhile and wanted to be appointed to the seat, but the council decided to go with Mayor Joe Pitt.

Now that he is retired, Braxton said he is ready to devote his full attention to serving as mayor and helping improve Tarboro. He believes his familarity with the people in the town is a strong feather in his cap.

“I worked here for more than 20 years, and as a police officer, I worked every part of the town, so I got to know citizens from every part of the town, citizens from every background and from different places of employment. I’ve seen things that have worked and things that haven’t.”

Pitt was selected mayor last December to serve out the remainder of the term left vacant by former mayor Rick Page, who stepped down from the position. Pitt is the co-owner of Marrow-Pitt Ace Home Center along with his son Mears. Pitt has run the company for almost 50 years, which was started by Pitt’s grandfather

Pitt said taking over as mayor was something he felt he owed the town for people’s many years of supporting the business. Pitt called him and Braxton friends and said he wants people to vote for him based on his credentials.

“We know each other pretty well,” Pitt said. “He has got the experience in working in the town as a law officer and I got the experience of being here in retail. I don’t want to compare each other, but I feel confident in my abilities. I would like people to vote for me based on that, but not against anybody.”

Braxton said one of the things he would focus on as mayor is placing a heavier emphasis on more activities for the youth.

“I think something that we’re really lacking in Tarboro is some place for our young people to go,” he said. “We need to develop that because as our youth grows and as far as their parents, they’re going to look at other places. They already go to other places to spend money outside the area. They’re going to leave and go to places where their kids have more opportunities.”

While there could be room for improvement, Pitt said, he finds the youth activities in Tarboro as excellent. His top priority would be supporting the employees in the town of Tarboro and liked the idea Councilman Steve Burnette brought up to the council about having some type of social gathering on the Town Common to give people options to do more after work hours.

Pitt also would welcome the opportunity to meet one-on-one with residents in the town to discuss their issues.

“I would like to set up a schedule in the mayor’s office because a lot of people don’t know there is an office in Town Hall that isn’t used very much,” Pitt said. “But if I’m voted back as mayor, I would very much like to set some time each month where I would be up there for maybe an hour so that someone could come in to share grievances with me or other things.”

Both agree that bringing in more businesses and industries is essential in growing Tarboro, however, Braxton said he would like the residents to know more when their is some interest from companies in the town.

“I think there needs to be more transparency by the town to the public as far as when we’re looking to get something coming in,” Braxton said.