Two political newcomers are challenging a three-term incumbent for the Ward 4 seat on Tarboro’s Town Council.
Carol Furlough Ruffin and J.O. Williams Sr. are vying for the seat against incumbent James L. Alford, who has served as town councilman for 12 years.
Alford said it has been a pleasure to serve on the council.
“I think we made good decisions based on what was good for the people,” he said.
During recent years, the town has had to get by with doing less because of economic challenges, Alford said. He said he is hopeful the economic outlook is starting to improve.
“We’ve been doing what we had to do,” Alford said. “Hopefully now we can do some things we want to do.”
Town officials would like to be able to give employees a raise, Alford said, but that will depend on their budget this year.
“We don’t want to spend the money until we have it,” Alford said.
If re-elected, he said he would continue to build on his record from the past 12 years. He said this likely would be his last term.
Alford is a former telephone company employee. He retired in 1993 from Sprint, where he worked as facilities engineering manager and oversaw a staff of about 33 people.
Furlough Ruffin, a lifelong Tarboro resident, said that she is committed to listening to people’s needs.
“I just want to be an advocate for employees and the citizens of Tarboro,” she said.
Bringing new businesses and industries to the area would be a top priority for her, Furlough Ruffin said.
As a part-time instructor at Edgecombe Community College, she said, she has seen first-hand the need for quality jobs in the community. Many of her students are adults who have gone back to school because they were laid off during the economic downturn, Furlough Ruffin said.
She also works as manager of finance for Telco Credit Union.
Furlough Ruffin said she has been interested in serving on the Town Council for a while, and this year things fell in place for her to run.
“I think it’s time to get some new faces and new ideas on the council to help grow Tarboro in the direction it needs to go,” Furlough Ruffin said.
Williams said he wants to better his community. He has been an ordained minister for 52 years.
During his career, Williams has served nine congregations belonging to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina. He has served on a number of boards, including the board of trustees for Barton College in Wilson on two different occasions.
He is working part-time at Grove Park Christian Church in Kinston.
“I’ve always been a person who is people-oriented, who is willing to help people,” Williams said. “I want to see what I can do.”
Williams said he has adopted the theme of “look again.” He said he would look again at where the town has been and the conditions the town is now facing. Then he would determine how to best move forward.
He said he would like to help beautify his ward and the town, which he said would help attract tourists and improve the town’s economy.
“I’m excited about the possibilities,” he said.