A former member of the Tarboro Town Council is vying against three political newcomers for the Ward 6 seat.
The position is wide open this year because incumbent Melvin Muhammad is not seeking re-election.
Roland H. Clark, who served on the board for 25 years before losing the seat to Muhammad in 2008, is competing against Deborah Faye Dew Jordan, a health care worker; Donald Parker, a health educator; and Alberta P. Pettaway, a retired town employee.
Clark, 82, said he enjoys being involved in the community and working with people to try to help meet their needs.
His areas of interest include working toward job creation, neighborhood improvements, small business development and participation from residents, Clark said.
“It’s really about serving the people,” he said.
His time serving on the town board included eight years as mayor pro tem.
Clark is involved with a number of organizations, including the American Legion and the Knights of Columbus. He also is a member of the board of directors for the United Way Tar River Region, and treasurer of the It Starts With U Foundation, which works to help ex-offenders re-integrate into society.
“I love being involved with people,” Clark said.
He has his own general accounting business, called R.H. Clark Enterprises. Clark is semi-retired, but he still performs part-time income tax and notary services.
Jordan said she hopes to serve as a “responsible voice” for Ward 6 and the rest of Tarboro.
If elected, she said her goals would include improving the town’s water quality and creating more recreational opportunities for young people. Jordan said she would work closely with the school system and the recreation department to develop more ways to engage local youth.
She has 15 years of experience working in financial management, which she said would help her to make sound financial decisions.
Jordan now works at HomeCare Management Corporation. She manages 34 cases for people who have developmental delays. She also oversees 22 employees.
Jordan said is inspired by her 16-year-old son, who has autism.
“I would like to have a community he can thrive in,” Jordan said.
She said she is concerned about residents in the community being respectful of people who are different. She said she would like people to recognize that many diverse people live in the community, and diversity includes more than just a person’s race.
If elected, Jordan said she would like to set up a regular meeting with members of her ward to inform them of issues and listen to their concerns.
Parker, 35, said he hopes to create more opportunities for Tarboro residents, especially youth.
Parker serves as a data collector supervisor for an intervention program called Teach One Reach One. The program educates young black people and their caregivers about AIDS and life skills.
One of his top goals if elected would be to help create more innovative and proactive programs for young people in the community, Parker said. He said he would like to work with local law enforcement officers to accomplish that goal.
Parker said he also would work with representatives from other municipalities and agencies, including the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, to improve the quality of life and bring more industries to area.
“All of us can work together to move Tarboro forward,” he said.
Parker serves as a mentor in the community. He is working to help establish a nonprofit organization called the Tarboro Edgecombe Development Network. He also is involved with an organization called Men Making a Difference.
“I’ve always had a great love for helping people,” Parker said.
Pettaway, 60, worked for Tarboro for about 30 years before retiring in 2009 as senior citizens coordinator. She also served as co-coordinator of the Down East Senior Games for about 10 years.
She said she hopes to continue serving the town.
“I want to talk to residents to find out what their needs and wants are,” she said.
Some of her priorities would include working to help beautify the town, to add more jobs and entertainment opportunities and to ensure the town is safe, Pettaway said.
“My desire is to bring to the entire community the things they are looking for,” she said.
As a former town employee, Pettaway said, she is familiar with many of the town’s guidelines. She also has experience making budgetary decisions.
She volunteers as a Senior Health Insurance Information Program Medicare counselor.
She also serves as a minister at Gateway to Heaven Church in Princeville.
Garland Shepheard is running unopposed for the Ward 8 seat on the Town Council. Incumbent Robert Cherry is not seeking re-election.