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Three new candidates join city election field

The number of contested races continues to pile up in the municipal elections, though a number of incumbents have yet to decide whether they will seek office again.

     Randy Belcher qualified last week as a Democratic candidate in Ward One, opposing the 16-year incumbent Dorsey Cameron, also a Democrat.

     Challenger Lennie Lewis-Bracey has stepped into the Ward Three race. Qualifying as a Democratic candidate, she’s squaring off against the incumbent Mary Wilson, also a Democrat.

     Neither race has picked up a Republican candidate. If a Republican or an independent doesn’t emerge, the Democratic primary would settle the election in those wards.

     Ward Six also saw its first candidate enter the race last week. David McCoy qualified as a Democratic candidate in the race.

     Ward Six incumbent David Phillips, an independent, has not yet indicated his intentions for the upcoming elections.

     McCoy couldn’t be reached for comment, but the challengers in Wards One and Three both have a history in law enforcement and offer similar goals.

     Belcher worked seven years with the Brookhaven Police Department and has now been with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department seven years.

     A 27-year resident of Brookhaven, Belcher ran for the Ward One post 16 years ago, when Cameron first won the office.

     Cameron’s held the job ever since, and Belcher thinks it’s time to take another stab at elected office.

     “I just think it’s time for a change,” he said.

     A love of the public has motivated Belcher throughout his law enforcement career and is behind his second campaign for alderman.

     “I want to help my community out,” he said.

     Belcher wants to see more done to help guide teenagers out of trouble. A longtime volunteer with youth baseball programs in the area, Belcher said he has a passion for helping youth.

     Unfortunately, as a law enforcement officer, he often sees youngsters he worked with grow older and fall afoul of the law.

     “That hurts,” Belcher said.

     He thinks more citywide effort can be made.

     “We can do a whole lot better than we’re doing,” he said.

     In Ward Three, Lewis-Bracey, who’s never sought elected office before, has been a corrections officer with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office about five years.

     Prior to her law enforcement work, Lewis-Bracey was at King’s Daughters Medical Center. At the hospital, she was a dispatcher among other jobs.

     Out of a sense of commitment to the community, Lewis-Bracey said she’s mulled a run for several years.

     “I believe in doing your civic duty,” she said.

     A member of the gospel music group The Harmoniques and an ordained minister, Lewis-Bracey believes she’ll be a familiar face to many in her ward.

     “I have a lot of interaction with the people in the community,” she said.

     Due to her work as a minister, Lewis-Bracey said she’s very committed to showing equality and charity to all people.

     She also believes she would provide a strong voice for Ward Three.

     “I’m an outspoken person for the rights of the citizens,” she said.

     Much like Belcher, Lewis-Bracey wants to see more programs in the city designed to keep young people busy and off the streets.

     She’s also dismayed by the lack of sidewalks she sees throughout Ward Three and wants a walking trail in the ward that young and elderly alike can enjoy.

     In other city races, Republican challenger Fletcher Grice is seeking the Ward Five seat. Democrat incumbent D.W. Maxwell has not yet entered the race.

     Incumbent Alderman at Large Karen Sullivan, a Republican, has mounted a re-election campaign, and Ed Thompson has plans to challenge her as an independent.

     Thompson, though, hasn’t yet filed a petition with the supporting signatures required of independent candidates.

     Incumbent City Clerk Mike Jinks, Republican, is running again. He has no challenger thus far.

     There are three in the race for police chief: Bobby Bell and Larry Warren, both Democrats, and Republican Ted Goleman.Incumbent Police Chief Pap Henderson has said he’ll retire.

     There are so far no candidates in the race for Ward Two alderman and mayor. The incumbents, Terry Bates and Les Bumgarner, respectively, haven’t made their plans known yet.