Why I'm Running

We have raised taxes on the middle class, but have given millionaires and big corporations tax breaks.

We have cut funding for education, but college tuition costs keep skyrocketing.

It’s time to restore faith in our middle class and our state’s future. That’s why I’m running for the North Carolina House.

I believe the people of Wilson and Pitt counties need someone who will fight for all of us in the General Assembly – not special interests or a select few. Our citizens need someone who will focus on strengthening our state’s economy.

It’s time to build a better North Carolina, and it starts right here at home.

Turning our state around isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. Throughout my career, I have represented people from all walks of life. I know the distress of our citizens and the struggles we face as a society every day. I am ready to go to Raleigh to put these ideas to work for you and represent the best interest of ALL of the citizens of District 8 in Wilson and Pitt counties.

About

Background

Charlie Farris is a native son of eastern North Carolina where he has lived all his life.

Charlie grew up right here in Wilson. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree and law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, and returned to Wilson to work, where has remained ever since. He served 6 Years in the N.C. National Guard, attaining the rank of E-5. He is the father of two sons, Charlie and Benjamin. Charlie and his boys enjoy hunting, fishing, skeet shooting, and are strong advocates for Second Amendment rights as well as all of the Constitutional Amendments.

Charlie has received prestigious honors and awards, including:

  • Recipient, Order of the Long Leaf Pine
  • Governor’s Crime Commission Commissioner, 1995-2001
  • North Carolina Criminal Justice Education & Training Standards Commission, 1988-1994

Throughout his career, Charlie has been recognized by many organizations for his service to the community. He serves as a member of numerous organizations, including:

  • WCC Paralegal Technology Board Member
  • Kiwanis Club Member
  • Knights of Columbus Member
  • North Carolina State Bar Association, 1974-present
  • North Carolina Advocates of Justice
  • Former Chairman of the Wilson/Greene Red Cross
  • Volunteered as a water safety instructor and trainer for just under fifty years with the Red Cross
  • Proud Member of the Wilson Community College Foundation Board
  • Currently sits on the City of Wilson Zoning Board, Wilson County Zoning Board, Wilson County Board of Equalization and Review

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CHARLIE ON THE ISSUES

Charlie Pat Farris knows we have to get state government working again. Charlie will reach across the party aisle so that all our lawmakers can work together to build a better North Carolina.

Charlie Farris will always put the people of Wilson and Pitt Counties first – making sure their voice is heard in Raleigh.

EDUCATION

A good education is the foundation to a successful, productive, rewarding life.

Charlie strongly believes in supporting our public education institutions. "We must make sure our children, the next generation, get the education and instruction they need to be successful, productive citizens.”

Charlie’s Education Platform:

  • Support pay hikes for our classroom teachers
  • Invest in our community colleges for workforce training
  • Enhance our economy through our research universities

He strongly believes that the right to public education, explicitly stated in NC’s Constitution, must be protected.

"I believe in fair pay and benefits for all working and retired teachers, assistants and state employees. We can provide for our teachers and state employees without raising taxes, I will work to make that happen.

JOBS AND ECONOMY

"A paycheck is part of the fabric that holds together our families.”

Charlie knows that good jobs start with good schools. He understands the strong correlation between a region’s public education system and its attractiveness to job creators. Companies look at how a state invests in its education when deciding whether or not it will invest in that state.

Charlie supports economic development incentives as a public policy to provide state government the tools it needs to compete with neighboring states such as South Carolina and Georgia.

"Economic development is more than just tax tables. It is about our schools, our community colleges, our university system and having the recruitment tools needed to close the deal.”

ENVIRONMENT

Our beautiful coast and rivers in Eastern North Carolina are responsible for a vital eco-system fueled by tourism and our natural resources. It is critical that we preserve our environment for future generations.

That’s why Charlie opposes efforts by the oil and gas industries to drill off our North Carolina shoreline.

"We have to have some common-sense when it comes to developing our natural resources. I do not want a situation where we end up with millions of barrels of black, gummy oil on our shoreline one morning. We must turn to renewable energy options to drive our economy in the future.”

INTERSTATE 95

Charlie Farris knows we must fix I-95. He believes the state should consider a bond plan to repair, update and improve I-95 from border to border. If elected, Charlie Farris will offer a bond plan to fix I-95 without tolls on Interstates.

"This past session of the General Assembly made great strides in providing more monies for the Highway Fund. Yet, there are still critical unfunded needs for major road repair on I-95, I-85, I-77 and I-74. I will work with the Governor to present a bond plan for our Interstates that will update these major roadways for generations to come. We must invest in our roads for today and the next generation.”

HIGH SPEED INTERNET

Too many communities in Eastern North Carolina don’t have high speed internet or even access to broadband service. Wilson County is an exception. The city was a leader in our state by providing digital fiber optic cable to our businesses and our residential communities.

But in 2011, the State Legislature put a cap on the city’s ability to expand its internet and broadband service, known as Greenlight. The City of Wilson appealed that effort and last year the Federal Communications Commission reversed the action of the State Legislature.

However, the state has appealed that ruling from the FCC and the matter is now pending in our federal courts. Even if Pitt County or other nearby communities wanted the fiber optic, high-speed internet service, the City of Wilson couldn’t provide it.

I believe we need to expand public-private partnerships that will provide rural North Carolina with improved service and access to high-speed internet.

I will work with our local county and municipal governments to develop plans with our telecom industry to improve access to broadband and high-speed internet.

We need to expand the public-private partnerships with the telecom industry to speed up fiber optic cable service for Eastern North Carolina so our schools, our businesses and local governments can utilize the benefits of the digital world.

Our Services

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UX design

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UI design

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SEO Services

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iOS App

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Our Works

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Our Process

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1

MEET

2

PLAN

3

DESIGN

4

DEVELOP

5

TESTING

6

LAUNCH

Meet The Team

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Bin Burhan

Co-Founder

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Jane Man

Project Manager

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Pahlwan

Designer

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UI/UX

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Our Skills

GRAPHIC DESIGN
85%
WEB DESIGN
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WORDPRESS DEVELOPMENT
90%
JOOMLA DEVELOPMENT
65%

Our History

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Faqs

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Newsroom

N.C. Council of State endorsements

The N.C. Council of State consists of nine executive offices elected by the voters. The offices are: Lieutenant Governor; Secretary of State; Attorney General; Agriculture Commissioner; Insurance Commissioner; Labor Commissioner; Superintendent of Public Instruction; State Treasurer; and State Auditor.

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The N.C. Council of State consists of nine executive offices elected by the voters. The offices are: Lieutenant Governor; Secretary of State; Attorney General; Agriculture Commissioner; Insurance Commissioner; Labor Commissioner; Superintendent of Public Instruction; State Treasurer; and State Auditor.

The Daily Reflector offers its endorsements for the following candidates:

Lieutenant Governor: endorses Pitt County native Democrat Linda Coleman over Republican incumbent Dan Forrest. Coleman is a strong public education supporter, supports workforce development through the community college system and will fight for a more robust middle-class. She opposes HB2 and supports Medicaid expansion. Forrest is a strong advocate for privatized education. He led the legislative action that created HB2, opposes women's reproductive health care choices and opposes Medicaid expansion.

Secretary of State: endorses Democratic incumbent Elaine Marshall over Republican Michael LaPaglia. She has decades of experience overseeing the state's business-related operations and holding down costs for business owners while preserving government transparency. LaPaglia has no government experience, and proposes less government oversight, liabilities at this juncture in state economic development efforts.

Attorney General: endorses Democratic former N.C. Senate minority whip Josh Stein over Republican N.C. Sen. Buck Newton. Stein favors stronger protections against domestic violence and LGBT discrimination, DNA sampling of convicted of violent criminals and strengthened safety in public schools. He will be a strong consumer protection advocate. Newton is extremely conservative on all social issues, sponsored the hastily enacted HB2, opposes legalized same-sex marriage, supports voter ID and gerrymandering and has had most of his initiatives overturned by federal courts.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: endorses incumbent Democrat June Atkinson over Republican challenger Mark Johnson. The two candidates share similar views on many educational issues, but Atkinson's experience and strength opposite the State Legislature to preserve public education against the current tide of privatization efforts makes her continued service at this time critical.

Agriculture Commissioner: endorses Republican incumbent Steve Troxler over Democratic challenger Walter Smith. Troxler has done a good job of helping farmers preserve their land and find innovative business management avenues.

Labor Commissioner: endorses Democratic challenger Charles Meeker over Republican incumbent Cherie Berry, who favors abolishing the minimum wage. She is best known for requiring her photo to be visible in every elevator in the state. Meeker would replace those photos with portraits of first responders.

Insurance Commissioner: endorses Democratic incumbent Wayne Goodwin over Republican challenger John Causey. Goodwin is a proven consumer watchdog and cost saver. Causey favors deregulation and allowing out-of-state-insurance companies to compete in North Carolina, including in the health-care market, a dangerous combination for consumers.

State Treasurer: endorses Republican former state legislator and assistant commerce secretary Dale Folwell over Democratic lawyer and Wall Street investment banker Dan Blue III. Folwell is dedicated to preserving the state employees' pension fund by closing the gap between funds and payments. Blue is a sharp investment expert and fund manager. It's a tough choice.

State Auditor: endorses incumbent Democrat Beth Wood over Republican challenger and former FBI agent Charles Stuber Jr. Wood has decades of auditing experience and has been instrumental in uncovering millions in excessive health care costs.

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Candidates answer voters’ questions in forum

Rep. Susan Martin, left, John P. McNeil, center, and Charlie Pat Farris, right, discuss issues raised at a community political forum Tuesday evening at Wilson Community College's Del Maestro auditorium. McNeil faces incumbent Rep. George Holding for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Farris is vying to represent District 8 in the North Carolina House.

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Local candidates met residents face to face and answered their questions on a variety of issues at a open forum Tuesday evening.

The political forum, held at Wilson Community College’s Del Maestro Auditorium for the public, was sponsored by C.L.A.S.S. and the Wilson Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.

Although most of the night revolved around topics including education, the economy, health care and the district court system, two candidates sparred over a campaign mailer received in homes this week. The forum panel included Democratic candidate Charlie Pat Farris and incumbent Rep. Susan Martin, a Republican, who are vying to represent District 8 in the North Carolina House.

An audience member asked Farris, an attorney, and Martin what their position was on attack ads.

Farris said his opponent has attacked him four times including in two campaign mailers. Farris held up the latest attack ad which said he thinks “suing people is fun.” The mailer also used a Wilson Times business advertisement that shows a photo of the Farris & Farris law firm attorneys. He told the crowd that he resented Martin for attacking not only him, but the law firm and his family. He said one ad had said he made a “fortune on the backs of others by suing.”

“I resent it,” he told the audience. Farris said he works primarily on administrative law hearings, including Social Security and disability as well as traffic tickets. He said his job is about helping others during difficult times. The mailers said they were paid for by the N.C. Republican Party and that they weren’t authorized by the candidate.

Martin said she didn’t know anything about the ads.

She also said Farris “talks smack” about her on Facebook.

“He brought my family into the sticker debacle,” she told the audience. Martin was referring to a September incident where her husband removed Farris’ campaign sticker from the front door of Brewsmasters and replaced it with one supporting his wife’s bid for re-election. Martin went on to say that Farris was attacking the Republican legislature’s $1.6 billion rainy day fund.

Martin also said in his campaign ads he touts being, “Wilson’s native son.”

“That’s attacking me,” she said.

EDUCATION

An audience question included Martin and Farris’ thoughts on North Carolina’s ranking in education as well as teacher pay. Martin said education is important and that students need more options when it comes to how they learn. She also said she was excited about helping bring together Wilson Academy of Applied Technology. She said she also supports charter schools and that Republicans raised teacher pay. She added that she is fully committed to ensuring that North Carolina moves up in its ranking on education.

Farris argued that teacher salaries “being bragged” by Republicans as $50,000 is not true. He said teachers can’t live on the salaries they are provided. He said he supports investing more money into the classroom for students to be able to have textbooks as well as teacher pay hikes.

CONGRESSIONAL SEAT

John P. McNeil who faces incumbent Rep. George Holding for the 2nd Congressional District seat, addressed specific questions including one that included what could be done to improve the Affordable Care Act.

McNeil, an attorney, said he is a small business owner, and while his personal insurance has increased, his employees are now able to afford to go to the doctor. He said it’s better for him to pay a little more and that it helps him in the long run because his employees are able to stay healthy and work and not be out sick.

He said that special interest groups knew there would be problems with the Affordable Care Act. He said there are improvements that could be made to ensure that the law works better for all. And that can happen if Democrats and Republicans work together.

McNeil said there also needs to be criminal justice reform to end mass incarceration for nonviolent offenses. He was asked how he would work to end political gridlock in Washington, D.C.

“We continue to elect people who stand in the corner and scream at each other,” he said. McNeil said he would use his experience as a lawyer and mediator to bring both sides together and work on solutions. He said he’s led Marines and believes he would be a good leader, representing the people and getting things done.

Holding could not attend Tuesday’s event due to a previously scheduled engagement.

DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

Wilson County District Court Judge Beth Freshwater-Smith and Rocky Mount attorney Lamont Wiggins will vie for the permanent District 7 seat which covers Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties.

Wiggins, Rocky Mount city councilman and mayor pro tem, said he is knowledgeable on all facets of district court. He said he believes in more technological access by the public at large. He said there are certain things people should be able to file electronically. He said he has 22-plus years experience as an attorney and is in tune with the community and believes in proactive community-based solutions.

The biggest complaints with district court, he said, are the time factor and citizens waiting for their case to be heard. Wiggins said each case is presented in district court, and judges do have discretion on sentencing that is mainly misdemeanors. He said they need to move less toward incarceration and more toward community-based solutions where it’s allowed in cases. Sentencing for misdemeanors in district court ranges from one to 150 days depending on the sentencing guidelines, he said.

Freshwater-Smith said a district court judge is supposed to take the law and apply the facts. She said her passion is making a difference in the community, and she knows the courtroom. She said she has expertise in all areas, including juvenile law. She told the audience she teaches North Carolina judges how to apply juvenile law.

“What we do in the courtroom affects everybody,” she said about the judgeship.

Freshwater-Smith was an assistant district attorney in Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties for nearly 30 years. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed her to fill the vacant District Court Judge District 7 seat in April after Wilson District Court Judge William G. Stewart retired. That term ends in December.

Before joining the district attorney’s office, she was in private practice handling district court matters.

Freshwater-Smith and Wiggins emerged as winners in the primary in March. Voters will now decide which candidate will fill the seat permanently.

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Teachers endorse Farris; chamber, NRA back Martin

North Carolina’s teachers’ association is backing Wilson attorney Charlie Pat Farris in his bid for the state House, while the business lobby and the nation’s largest gun-rights group have lined up behind incumbent Rep. Susan Martin.

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North Carolina’s teachers’ association is backing Wilson attorney Charlie Pat Farris in his bid for the state House, while the business lobby and the nation’s largest gun-rights group have lined up behind incumbent Rep. Susan Martin.

Martin, R-Wilson, announced the National Rifle Association and N.C. Chamber of Commerce endorsements on Wednesday. The North Carolina Association of Educators pledged its support for Farris, a Democrat, on Sept. 15.

Endorsements from these high-profile groups can serve as “mental shortcuts” for voters that help identify where the candidates line up on the ideological spectrum, according to D. Sunshine Hillygus, a professor of political science at Duke University who has published research on public opinion, campaigns and elections.

“Typically, endorsements don’t carry a lot of weight in the general election,” Hillygus said. “In most election cycles, you get a pretty clear lineup of Democrats supporting Democrats, Republicans supporting Republicans and people lining up in very expected ways. In (down-ballot races), endorsements can provide helpful heuristics if people don’t have a lot of information about a particular race.”

Farris and Martin are vying to represent District 8 in the North Carolina House, which includes most of rural Wilson County and a southwestern swath of Pitt County.

TEACHERS FOR FARRIS

The North Carolina Association of Educators has been critical of the Republican-led General Assembly’s education initiatives. Its 2016 legislative agenda calls for increasing per-pupil expenditures, where North Carolina ranks 43rd among the 50 states, and boosting overall teacher compensation, where the Tar Heel State ranks 41st.

“Educators have chosen to endorse Charlie Pat Farris for N.C. House 8 due to his commitment to personally meeting with educators to better understand the issues facing public education in North Carolina,” NCAE President Lauren Piner said in a prepared statement. “He views educators as experts and seeks to improve education for all students, regardless of their background.”

Farris has campaigned for teacher pay raises and greater investment in North Carolina’s research universities and community colleges.

Hillygus said the NCAE endorsement could benefit Farris among unaffiliated and undecided voters because support for public schools is less polarizing than a wedge issue like gun control. The NCAE has roughly 60,000 members statewide.

“I think that people have somewhat less solidified assumptions and stereotypes about the ideological positions of teachers,” she said, “so it could very well carry a little more weight.”

The teachers’ association also endorsed state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, D-Wilson, who is running unopposed for her eighth term in the N.C. House.

MARTIN A ‘JOBS CHAMPION’

A rising star in the Repulican ranks, Martin is seeking her third term in the General Assembly. The National Rifle Association gave her an A grade on her voting record and positions on gun issues, and the North Carolina Chamber recognized her as one of the legislature’s 2016 jobs champions.

“I am honored to have received the endorsement of North Carolina’s job creators,” Martin said in a release. “I have worked hard to implement policies to improve the environment for job creation in Wilson and Pitt counties, and it’s nice to see these efforts recognized. We are achieving tangible economic results with one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, but there is still a lot to do to reach our goals and provide more opportunities for families across the state.”

The N.C. Chamber has 35,000 members who employ a combined 1.26 million workers, according to the business group. The NRA, the nation’s most prominent gun-rights organization and a group well-known for its legislative lobbying, claimed more than 4 million members in 2013.

“I am proud to also receive the endorsement of the NRA,” Martin said. “I’m a firm believer in our Second Amendment rights and will continue to defend them against any efforts to dilute or overturn those rights.”

While the NRA’s nod still carries political capital, Hillygus said the group takes a firmer stance on opposing gun control measures than many American gun owners.

“There’s actually a quite large disconnect between the views of gun owners and the views of the NRA,” she said. “I think that has been made salient following mass shootings in recent years. However, for those individuals for whom gun control policy might be a salient issue, it becomes a useful piece of information.”

VALUE THE UNEXPECTED

While the endorsements may help Martin and Farris rally their parties’ bases, few voters will be surprised that gun-rights and pro-business groups endorsed the Republican candidate and the teachers’ association supports her Democratic opponent.

Hillygus said either candidate could gain traction by scoring an unexpected endorsement, one from a group that may not ordinarily align with the positions of his or her party. Her research points to such an “expectancy violation” having a persuasive effect.

“If a candidate can get an unexpected endorsement, one that doesn’t follow along the ideological divide, it can be especially effective,” she said.

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Candidates begin filing for office -- Race taking shape for House District 8

Candidates began filing Tuesday for the 2016 state and local election races.

Wilson attorney Charlie Pat Farris, a Democrat, was the first person to file in Wilson County.

Farris will face Republican incumbent Susan Martin in this race for N.C. House District 8. Martin also filed on Tuesday.

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Candidates began filing Tuesday for the 2016 state and local election races.

Wilson attorney Charlie Pat Farris, a Democrat, was the first person to file in Wilson County.

Farris will face Republican incumbent Susan Martin in this race for N.C. House District 8. Martin also filed on Tuesday.

"I have wanted to do this nearly all of my life," Farris said. "It has been a longtime dream since my high school days at Fike."

Farris said he could hardly sleep the night before. There was a host of friends and family members there to support him.

Farris said he will support public education.

"I will be a voice for public education," Farris said. "I believe that a strong local economy starts in our elementary schools. We must have pay schedules that treat our educators as the professionals they are. We must invest in our community colleges so they can help train our workforce and keep us competitive."

Farris said as a small businessman he sees firsthand the value of high-speed Internet service.

"I will push for more digital fiber cable and broadband service and I will work to hold the public utilities and tele-com providers accountable for providing these vital services to rural regions of the state," Farris said.

Robert Smith, founder of Wilson 360, an anti-bullying program, said Farris has always worked with him on projects to help others.

"We have worked together since 1984," Smith said. "He is the kind of man that does what he says. That is why I support him."

SUSAN MARTIN

Rep. Susan Martin filed to run for her third term Tuesday.

"I got into this to make a difference," Martin said. "It's not been a lifelong goal of mine to run for office. I've never imagined that. It is making a difference. I am helping people in the community."

Martin said she is now positioned at the Legislature to have more influence.

"I've proven myself and become a leader," Martin said. "So I feel like this is the time to keep working for the community and I have a seat at the big table now and I can really get some things done."

Martin said she will continue to make a difference for the people here at home.

Martin said she served as a House budget conferee, helping to negotiate the compromise budget package that increased spending on education and transportation while offering income tax relief for all. House Speaker Tim Moore recently appointed Martin as chair of the Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee, which recommends new ways to promote economic development initiatives.

Martin also said she helped craft bipartisan legislation enabling N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) to eliminate $1.2 billion in debt, which led to lower electric bills throughout the region.

"Doing the right job for the people consistently is how I think I will win the race," Martin said.

LISA STITH

Democrat Lisa Stith filed for her position as register of deeds for Wilson County.

"I have a great staff and they have been great to work with," Stith said. "I plan to continue working for the citizens of Wilson County."

RICK HORNER

Republican Richard Horner filed to run for Senate Seat 11, which is now held by Sen. Buck Newton.

Horner said he was born in eastern North Carolina.

"This is where I learned to swim — at The Rec," Horner said. "I came here to the first Hardees."

Horner said his background is in education and he served on the Nash/Rocky Mount Board of Education for 14 years.

He now serves on the Wilson Community College board.

"I feel strongly about public schools and we spend the largest part of the budget there — in education," Horner said.

Horner said he decided to be on the community college board because it allowed him to serve the community without running for election.

"The community college gives working folks a chance to get ahead," Horner said.

Horner said about a third of the Senate district is in a part of his school board district that he served on for so long.

"This whole area is home and is perfect," Horner said. "This district is a little more conservative than when I ran in 2000 against A.B. Swindell."

The district lines have been redrawn since that time.

"This is a good district to run in and I think if I have a shortcoming it is that I have to get myself immersed in the issues of Johnston County," Horner said. "I have to know what is important to them. I've started doing that. I will work well with the city."

Newton plans to seek the state attorney general seat, and does not intend to file for re-election to the Senate.

ANGELA BRYANT

Democrat Sen. Angela Bryant filed for re-election in District 4, which serves Nash, Halifax, Vance, Warren and Wilson counties.

"I am very respectful of the confidence voters have shown in me for four different elections in four different districts – one local and three legislative," Bryant said. "This year I had the privilege to be a primary sponsor of the most important legislation of my career — the bill to approve the sale of our ElectriCities' share in nuclear and coal plants to Duke Progress and reduce our debt and electric costs for years to come and to provide needed additional energy resources across the state."

Bryant, a lawyer, said she also sponsored a requested increase in the Wilson County occupancy tax to a conference status with the House and fought for regional sales tax fairness and to preserve some vestige of the historic preservation tax credit program.

"I will continue to fight for the priorities that matter to the hardworking people of eastern and rural North Carolina – for teachers, small businesses, community economic development and good-paying jobs," Bryant said.

Beth Freshwater-Smith

Beth Freshwater-Smith filed for the nonpartisan District 7 district judge seat.

The cut-off date for filing is Dec. 21 at noon. North Carolina will have a March 15 primary for races with more than one candidate of the same political party. The winners head to the Nov. 8 general election.

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Charlie Farris nears legislative run

When Carlie "Pat" Farris looks at Raleigh and the legislature, he said it makes him consider urgency in running for office.

"We're starting the third month of the new budget and we don't even know if we can have teachers aids or what about drivers ed -- the budget is just not set," Farris said. "I don't understand what they are doing up there. It's not fair to the school system and especially not fair to the children."

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When Carlie "Pat" Farris looks at Raleigh and the legislature, he said it makes him consider urgency in running for office.

"We're starting the third month of the new budget and we don't even know if we can have teachers aids or what about drivers ed -- the budget is just not set," Farris said. "I don't understand what they are doing up there. It's not fair to the school system and especially not fair to the children."

Farris, who practices law at Farris & Farris law firm, has been a lawyer for more than 40 years. He said running for office has been a dream he has had since his teens. He said his law firm supports his running for office if he chooses to do so.

Farris would run against either Rep. Susan Martin or Sen. Buck Newton's seat, he said. Newton is presently running for N.C. Attorney General. A win for Newton would leave the Senate seat available.

"I am actively considering a run for the North Carolina Legislature," Farris said. "I have started forming an exploratory committee to help gauge how the voters will view this candidacy and will begin raising funds for the campaign."

Farris said he is interested in meeting and listening to people of the district and wants to know what they are thinking on diverse topics.

The failure of the Legislature to pass a budget got Farris' attention.

"Nothing is happening. That is the problem," Farris said. "It is a waste of everybody's time. These people are paid every day. They don't care how long this session lasts."

Farris said lots of Legislators are retired and getting a per diem and other benefits.

"The job is to go in and get the job done and get out," Farris said. "I would have thought they would have gone in and gotten the budget done before going into all of the peripheral things so people can know what they can spend the money on."

Farris said he is aware as soon as the session starts they can't immediately do the budget and have to wait on tax numbers, but said they should have an idea of what it will look like.

Farris said North Carolina schools are left in limbo not knowing how much money is available to them.

Farris said he wants to know if the schools will have teachers' aids or not.

"These legislators who say you don't need aides -- let them go into the classrooms," Farris challenges, "Let them teach some for a while. That's what I'd like to see them do and I think they would think differently when they see the challenge without aides."

Farris said one of the most ridiculous things anyone could have said is 'let's not have drivers' education.'

"Whoever had that idea does not deserve to be re-elected. We have enough trouble on the road," Farris said.

Farris said he is also concerned about the salaries and benefits paid to state employees and in the public sector.

"Raises and benefits to help them survive adequately in society without having to work additional jobs to meet the reasonable needs of their families is one of my goals," Farris said.

Farris said getting jobs for people in order to reduce dependence on entitlements is also high on his list.

"Of course I believe the use of mental health centers for the mentally ill needs to be reinstated," Farris said. "Taking better care of the elderly and the young also must be addressed and cannot be overemphasized."

Farris said if the people of the state still have not awakened to the fact that nothing is getting done in Raleigh, except personal agendas, and vote the same people back in, they will get more of the same.

"If this is going to be a year to make some Democrat gains, I'd love to be part of it," Farris said. "I've just got to decide what I am going to finally do. I am ready. I'm just trying to decide which seat."

Farris said Democrats did not get everything right when they were in the majority, but he said nobody has hurt the system the way the Republican-run Legislature has.

"And nobody is talking about what they are going to do with the surplus money," Farris said.

Even though he has not made a final decision, he said he is leaning for the representative seat.

Farris said he would like to know if people would be excited about his candidacy and support him.

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Farris seeks N.C. House seat

Charlie "Pat" Farris announced Friday that he is a Democratic candidate for the N.C. House of Representatives District 8 seat.

Farris, who turns 68 years old today, will face Republican incumbent Susan Martin, who has held the seat for two terms.

District 8 encompasses portions of Wilson and Pitt counties.

Strengthening all North Carolina’s schools and bringing jobs to eastern North Carolina are on the top of the list, said Farris, a Wilson attorney.

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Charlie "Pat" Farris announced Friday that he is a Democratic candidate for the N.C. House of Representatives District 8 seat.

Farris, who turns 68 years old today, will face Republican incumbent Susan Martin, who has held the seat for two terms.

District 8 encompasses portions of Wilson and Pitt counties.

Strengthening all North Carolina’s schools and bringing jobs to eastern North Carolina are on the top of the list, said Farris, a Wilson attorney.

"I believe all schools should have whatever technical tools they need to teach children, as technology is their future as it becomes ours," Farris said. "It is time to return to the philosophy of linking education and industry."

Farris said years of needless cuts to public education have left North Carolina’s classrooms underfunded.

"Cuts to public education have forced some of our best teachers to leave for other states," Farris said. "This is shortsighted. One of the keys to attracting new business to eastern North Carolina is giving them access to a talented and trained workforce through our public schools, community colleges, and universities. My goal is simple. I want to be sure our kids can get a world-class education right here in North Carolina and then return home to our community and find a good-paying job."

Farris said "North Carolina teachers are at the bottom when it comes to pay and to locate in Wilson or Pitt counties requires sacrifice on the teachers’ part."

Farris said he strongly supports permanent raises and other benefits for teachers, assistants, and all state employees.

Farris said the money can be found in reverted funds leftover in departments’ budgets. He said departments are sometimes forced to spend at the end of the fiscal year or return the money to the general fund.

"This year approximately $415 million has been reverted by departments according to the state budget office," Farris said. "All revenue sources must be reviewed to find money for benefits and raises. We should look closely at benefits that don’t have to involve infusions of fresh money."

Farris said he is disturbed that the unemployment rates are so high in both Pitt and Wilson counties.

"Too many families are still struggling to make ends meet," Farris said. "In Pitt County our unemployment rate is 6.8 and in Wilson County is now a staggering 10.3 percent. That is simply unacceptable. Our communities are filled with hard-working people who are looking for an opportunity to provide for their families and earn a decent wage."

Farris said legislators have taken their eye off the ball.

"I’m running for the State House because it is time we make job creation and economic development our top priority again," Farris said.

Health care is another major concern, Farris said.

"Everyone must have equal access," Farris explained. "The cost of private insurance rates must be kept reasonable. Medicaid should include all that is needed. It does not now do that."

Farris said some people don’t realize that when millions in federal aid is rejected, those who need treatment will go to emergency rooms, which will see them at no cost. But that cost goes to those who do pay insurance premiums.

"We are saving dimes and losing dollars," Farris said. "There is a constant search for answers in Raleigh to these problems. Why not encourage our own East Carolina University to address the issue through a study to help not just the district but the entire state?"

Farris said the mentally ill and elderly cannot be forgotten. Farris said many elderly don’t have family or friends to help them. He said there are many cases where a person could have received mental health treatment and it could have made a difference.

"The mentally ill and the elderly have a right to age gracefully in our communities and not in the jails and prisons we so often confine them in at great cost -- saving dimes and losing dollars," Farris said.

Farris said he is concerned about the effects fracking and offshore drilling has on the environment.

"North Carolina is our home. It is a treasure," Farris said. "We have to make sure our home is safe from environmental harm before agreeing to any new undertaking."

Farris is a lifelong resident of Wilson county and said his family has strong historical ties in Pitt County.

Farris is the father of two sons; Charlie Pat III, and Benjamin.

A graduate of Pike High School, Farris was class president. He went on to get his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went to law school there.

Farris began practicing law with his uncle and cousins in Wilson in 1974.

He is now with Farris & Farris.

Farris is the past president of Wilson County Bar Association. Farris has served on the Wilson Recreation Commission and the Human Relations Commission. For nearly 50 years, Farris has been a water safety instructor and water safety trainer for the Wilson County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Farris is presently on the Wilson County Planning and Zoning Board, the Wilson County Board of Equalization and Review, the city of Wilson’s Planning Board, the Wilson Community College Foundation Board, as well as a member of the community college’s paralegal advisory committee.

Farris is a member of St. Therese Catholic church.

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Water safety stressed as heat persists

When Carol Walters heard that her friend had drowned after falling off a boat, she had a lot of questions.

"I wondered how he fell off of the boat," Wal­ters asked. "Could he swim? If he couldn't, was he on a boat without a life vest?"

Walters is a former Water Safety Instructor (WSI) and she along with Charlie Farris, who is a WSI, said they want everyone to know how to stay safe around water.

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When Carol Walters heard that her friend had drowned after falling off a boat, she had a lot of questions.

"I wondered how he fell off of the boat," Wal­ters asked. "Could he swim? If he couldn't, was he on a boat without a life vest?"

Walters is a former Water Safety Instructor (WSI) and she along with Charlie Farris, who is a WSI, said they want everyone to know how to stay safe around water.

Farris is certified to teach classes on water safety. He said with soaring temperatures, people will want to get in the water to cool off. "The whole reason we are talking about this is that we don't want any drownings," Farris said. "We want to swim proof Wilson."

Public pools have life­guards, but obviously there are places where there are no lifeguards and folks might just jump in without taking the proper precautions, Farris said.

"We are stressing farm pond safety," Farris said. There are a few things that can be done to pre­vent drownings at ponds.

Farris said if you don't swim, you should not be near the water without a life jacket.

Walters said one of the best life jackets is the one that Will pop your head back out of the water when you fall in.

"You don't have to take in that much water in your lungs before you drown," Walters said. "So, if your child can't swim and they are going to be around wa­ter, you need a life jacket. Or they are sometimes called a personal flotation device."

Farris said life jackets for children and adults are available at many retail and all sporting goods stores.

"They go by your weight to find the correct life jacket for you," Farris said.

Farris said when on a boat, make sure you include the seat cushion that doubles as a flotation device.

"So, if you are sitting there and somebody falls in, and they didn't have their life jacket on, you can throw that to them and they can hold on until you can get to them," Far­ris explains.

Farris said when some­one is in the water, the person rescuing them should remain calm.

"It can be tense, how­ever, and you need to remember the person in the water needs to remain calm so they can get out of the water," Farris said.

Walters said the person at risk of drowning will take their cues from the person trying to save them.

"If you're excited, then they're going to be excited and not follow your direc­tions," Walters said.

"But if you act as if it isn't a big deal, you can get them to shore a lot easier."

Farris said even a nonswimmer can save a person from drowning by throwing a towel to the person so they can grab it.

"So, I see the person is in trouble and I say, here catch - and I throw the towel to them," Far­ris explains. "You pull them in slowly, hand over hand. You have to brace yourself. That's about as simple as it comes."

Farris said a cooler can be thrown to a person and they can hold on to the cooler and give them instructions to kick until they get to where they can stand and walk ashore.

"The whole idea is to avoid panic," Farris said. "If people will take the time to think- don't pan­ic, use your reasoning."

Walters said it is good to talk to the person as you get them to safety.

Farris said any farmer can make his pond a safer place and do it cheaply.

Farris said a $6 post with a tenpenny nail in it holding 50 feet of floatable rope and a gallon jug with an inch or so of water in it should be at every farm­ers' pond.

"This is as simple and inexpensive a thing as anyone can have that will save lives," Farris said.

Farris and Walters said there used to be a time when all third-graders were taught to swim but now that does not happen.

"Learning to swim is good no matter what your age is," Farris said. "And there are programs out there to teach swimming."

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Charlie Pat Farris for the General Assembly
P. O. Box 97
Wilson, N.C. 27894
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