Josh McLamb believes being a county commissioner means two things — serving the public and being its voice. He wants to be both, and Friday he made those intentions known, tossing his hat into the Democratic race for the Dist. 4 seat.
“It’s about being a public servant,” McLamb stressed Friday afternoon, “and to be a true public servant I believe one must listen. That’s why God gave you two ears and only one mouth. And that’s what I want to be — a good listener and a voice for those not only in my district but across the county.”
With supporters behind him and his parents, Amos and Merrie McLamb, by his side, the 41-year-old McLamb signed the paperwork and paid the filing fee Friday, making his candidacy official.
He will face at least one other Democratic candidate, Harry Parker, in the May 8 primary, both vying for the seat currently held by John Blanton who has said he will not seek re-election. The filing period for all seats ends Wednesday.
McLamb ran four years ago for the Dist. 4 seat and has often challenged county government on issues relating to property taxes, going as far as to file suit in regards to present-use land values during the 2011 revaluation.
But his decision to try again to secure the Dist. 4 seat goes far deeper than his disagreements with the current Board of Commissioners, he said, and stems more from his desire to be a representative for the people, particularly in the southern end of the county but also for those across Sampson.
“I had a lot of support when I ran the first time,” McLamb pointed out, and I’ve had people asking me if I planned to run again. I’ve given it a great deal of thought, and the truth is, I really want to serve, and I believe I have something to offer to this county, a unique perspective.”
McLamb said listened to people in his community and in other areas of the county and truly believed he could represent their interests at the county commissioners table, something, he stressed, that should be utmost in the minds of all those serving in such a capacity.
He sees government’s role as one that is both heavy-handed and even-handed, asserting its authority when needed to protect citizens and make life better for them and backing off when the need arose in order to grow the county in a visionary manner.
“I believe county government, like all government, has to be glorious and dirty work, serving the people to the very best of our ability, providing opportunities for all citizens, for every child.”
He doesn’t come into the race believing he has all the answers, McLamb said, but understanding that he has much to offer yet still much to learn.
“Sure this will be a learning experience. I don’t believe I know it all by any means, but I’m also not behind the eight-ball either .A lot of people don’t want to learn, thinking they have it all figured out and they’re stuck in their ways. I think I’ll offer a different perspective, certainly, but I’ll also be willing to listen and learn.
“I will bring to the table my own confidence, but I won’t be close-minded. I’ve never been a county commissioner and I realize that it is a tremendous responsibility. It takes a person willing to step up to the challenge, and I’m willing to do that.”
McLamb believes strong in an open government, one which deals with putting everything that legally can be put on the table out there for everyone to see.
“To me that’s great government, not doing everything behind closed doors and away from the public. If there’s one thing I’ve preached it having a 100 percent open government. In my humble opinion, any appearance of impropriety is a whole lot worse than just putting things out there from the start. It takes away the perspective that something isn’t right,” he asserted.
Running for county commissioner, he said, was triggered by his strong desire to be that voice for the people, one he believes can sometimes be lacking.
“Government is there for the people, and should represent the people’s interests. For me, that means being there voice, listening to what they think and then expressing that at the table.
“I think I would come to the table with a unique quality to be able, once I understand a situation, to represent it to the very best of my ability. I just want to serve the people and I would really appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of Sampson County.”