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Mark Schenck - Contributing columnist



The recent mayoral race in Laurinburg produced mixed emotions for many.

Although as they say, “I didn’t have a dog in that fight”, but I do know Tommy Parker is a very likable gentleman and you’ll find it difficult to find anyone who has anything negative to say about him as a person.

However, there is an undertow pulling down both Democrats and Republicans alike that are perceived as failing to represent their constituent’s point of view. Speaker of the House John Boehner is one example just to name one.

As I pointed out in my Oct. 13 Laurinburg Exchange column, “Is the US a hollow republic?” many of “our representatives are not listening to the citizenry they are represent.”

This seems to be the reason for dumping anyone associated with the current establishment. So many of our public officials unknowingly take advise from those with personal agendas, make decisions based inadequate research or have a limited area of contact with only those having like preferences, commonly referred to “as living in a bubble.” Our representative government was created to do just that — represent the people which requires a lot less talk and a lot more listening. And listening to all the people, not just the ones in the politicians ‘bubble.

At the risk of offending Mayor-elect Block, but he does he seem to have a bit of a conservative financial streak which is good for the Laurinburg taxpayers. Mayor-elect Block’s advocating construction of a new Laurinburg Recreation Center, (a need), and delaying a new city building (a want), which in fact is exactly what the majority of Laurinburg asked for. Listening to the Laurinburg taxpayers, being a good steward of their hard-earned money, and spending it wisely for needs and not just wants is what most ask from their leaders.

I do apologize if I offended anyone, hinting they may be a little conservative, these days being called conservative, is likened to being called a a four letter word. Yet in reality true conservatives merely are those that believe in conserving the Constitution, our Bill of Rights, the American family with it’s traditional moral structure, Religious freedom and having faith in individuals as opposed to big government.

In so many words “a liberal will gladly give you someone else’s fish and a conservative will help you buy a pole.

A random sampling of Laurinburg’s populous including both political parties and various vocations, indicated the vast majority of Laurinburg citizens have far more urgent priorities than a new municipal building, and the remainder either had no opinion or were not aware a new municipal building was being sought.

On the other hand, if you could take some time to visit Wagram’s Community Recreation Center, you’ll probably agree with most that a facility such as this should have higher priority for Laurinburg than a new municipal building. Wagram’s 14,000-square-foot Community Recreation Center, complete with gymnasium, for the most part is self sustaining with revenue from various fitness classes, meeting rooms, and social activities.

If Laurinburg had a community recreation center such as Wagram’s and if, as some say, could be coupled with a properly scaled convention facility it could have obvious benefits for local retailers, motels and restaurants.

Mayor Milton Farmer and the Wagram City Council have done a extraordinary job of overseeing Wagram’s resurrection. Mayor Farmer tells of his unique operating principle of the three Ps: prayer, persistence, and patience. Mayor Farmer has earned his constituent’s respect by looking out for the peoples needs in Wagram. Mayor Farmer oversees the board meetings with the same organized efficiency that is reflected in the dynamic progress of Wagram.

Mayor Farmer retired in 2011 after 26 years in the National Guard, and still works as a computer specialist at Ft. Bragg. In the last 20 years, he has overseen to the infrastructure needs of Wagram as well attracting new businesses and the construction of Wagram’s Community Recreation Center.

Mayor Parker’s current incentive promoting Laurinburg as a retirement area is a good idea and would be difficult for me to oppose since that same program was part of objectives listed in my 2006 campaign for Scotland County commissioner, and it’s still a good idea nine years later, although in 2006 certificates to denote Laurinburg’s qualifications as a retirement area were unavailable,but Laurinburg has a certificate now.

In 2006, three Republicans — Linda Faulkner, Hal Culberson and myself — ran for Scotland County commissioner with the intent stopping those that would build a Mega Dump in Scotland County. Some of the politicians supporting the Mega Dump are still in office today so the fight isn’t over it is only taking a time Out.

Laurinburg’s new mayor must be willing to fight when the attack is resumed. A Scotland County Mega Dump would definitely kill any plans for a retirement area and could play a negative role in maintaining the pure water requirements of our new manufacturing facility.

The Scotland Republican Party wishes Laurinburg’s new Mayor Matthew Block “God’s Speed” in his quest and may he always remember to listen to the people he represents … all the people.

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Mark Schenck

Contributing columnist

Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party.

Mark Schenck is chairman of the Scotland County Republican Party.

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