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Article 14

October 23, 2002

When you stand in front of the voting machine on Nov. 5, our hope is that you will resist the temptation to leave the voting booth after pressing just one button for a straight ticket.

Not included in the straight-party ticket are hotly contested nonpartisan races for judges of superior court and district court and ó for voters outside of the Lexington and Thomasville school districts ó members of the Davidson County Board of Education.

In addition, there are outstanding candidates for other offices from both the Republican and Democratic parties and several dedicated Libertarian candidates, too.

We think this is especially true in the selection of four members of the Davidson County Board of Commissioners from nine candidates.

Our favorites are, in alphabetical order, Watson Gregg, Loretta Martin, Max Walser and Sam Watford. What a terrific board it would be if these four were elected to join the three Republicans who are in the middle of their four-year terms.

Watson Gregg would bring a business perspective to the job. Gregg, who owns Wagner Tire Service in Lexington, has been a successful businessman for 30 years and knows what itís like to make a payroll in tough times.

He has focused on the need for industrial recruitment and sewer expansion to broaden the tax base. He has promised not to vote for any tax hike and wants an efficiency expert to look at every function of county government to find savings.

Loretta Martin, a teacher for 21 years, an employee of the state Department of Public Instruction for nine years and administrator of a $30 million education program in the governorís office, is naturally interested in our schools. She notes with alarm that Davidson County education expenditures rank us at 116 out of the stateís 117 school systems in per-pupil financial support.

She rightly questions some priorities of the current board of commissioners, which cut back the seniorsí Country Store in Welcome to save $41,500 a year while maintaining a rainy day fund of $22 million in the bank. Her intelligence and experience would serve our county well.

Max Walser did an outstanding job for 12 years as superintendent of the county school system, where he administered a $100 million budget and led 2,300 employees in 26 schools. He estimates he has attended 458 board of commissioners meetings in the past 25 years, so he is ready to serve.

Walser, who is active in civic and charitable activities, is focusing on economic development as the best way to pay for improvements in education.

Sam Watford, a member of the county planning and zoning board, is a civil engineer with his own construction company. His expertise in economic development matters would be invaluable on the board

He promises to oppose any tax increases and is widely known in Thomasville for his activity in civic organizations. A pilot, he would promote as a favored location our under-promoted county airport if FedEx displaces some private planes in Greensboro.

The five candidates not recommended are invited to submit for publication up to 200 words to explain to Dispatch readers why we made a mistake today. Deadline for receipt is next Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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