Three vie for state Senate seat

Fitch, Scott and Shearin
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State Sen. Toby Fitch Jr., left, faces Republican Richard Scott and Libertarian Jesse Shearin for the state Senate District 4 seat.


Staff Writer

Friday, October 19, 2018

Three opponents are vying for the newly created state Senate District 4 seat in this year's midterm election.

The district — historically representing Nash, Wilson, Halifax, Vance and Warren counties — will cover Edgecombe, Wilson and Halifax counties due to redistricting earlier this year.

State Sen. Toby Fitch Jr., D-Nash, serves in the current district. He faces Republican challenger Richard Scott, a teacher. Also in the mix is Libertarian Jesse Shearin, a professor and lawyer.

Fitch, 72, has been a judge and member of the state House. Scott, 73, has served two terms on a local board of education and Shearin, 77, hasn't held political office.

Fitch said District 4 residents should vote for him because he has the temperament, dedication and education to serve the district. Scott said he will unite communities and represent all the people of the district. Shearin said he will encourage political leaders and residents to reason together.

The biggest need Edgecombe, Wilson and Halifax counties have is economic development, specifically a broadband system that will make the region competitive all while providing quality paying jobs, Fitch said.

“I will be able to help foster this growth and assist the governor to attract and acquire those economic developmental needs by being a team player and dedicating my time, effort and wisdom to all of my constituents,” Fitch said.

Scott said the district is struggling with high unemployment, high levels of poverty and low levels of education.

“It’s time for new leadership that will focus on uniting our communities and all residents to overcome these challenges,” Scott said. “It’s time to stop playing the blame game and time to work together to find solutions. I will work together with all people regardless of age, gender or political affiliation to do what is best for our home, Northeastern North Carolina.”

Shearin said government is its own worst enemy at any level.

“The most important issue facing Senate District 4 — and all other districts — is our tendency to rely upon government to solve all problems,” Shearin said. “We need to get off the 'Tower of Babel' and get back down to earth.”

Fitch — who holds a law degree from N.C. Central University — said he brings experience and in-depth knowledge of the legislative process, having served in legislative and judicial positions for more than 30 years.

Scott — who holds a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from East Carolina University — said his top priorities are bringing private sector jobs and economic development to Eastern North Carolina, strengthening schools, rewarding teachers and protecting agricultural industry.

Shearin — who holds a law degree from Wake Forest University — said both of his opponents are qualified to serve.

“I will say nothing to suggest that I have gifts that they do not have,” Shearin said. “I will trust the voters to examine the lives and principles of each candidate and to vote accordingly.”

Fitch is married with two children. Scott is married with three daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Shearin is married with three children and nine grandchildren.