Candidates for state offices speak at Democrats' meeting
By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
Rowan Democrats hosted two candidates for state office at their monthly meeting Thursday evening.Actually, you might say candidates for three offices spoke, since North Carolina’s insurance commissioner also gets the job of state fire marshal.
Wayne Goodwin, the Democratic nominee for the dual job, and Beth Wood, who wants to become the first woman elected state auditor, spoke to an audience of about 40 people.
Goodwin is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who practiced law for a time in his hometown of Hamlet.
Goodwin spoke enthusiastically and touted his experience as assistant insurance commissioner and assistant fire marshal under Jim Long, the incumbent commissioner who is not seeking re-election. Goodwin says the office needs new blood.
“If I am elected, I will be the first new insurance commissioner in a quarter century,” Goodwin said. Long served as commissioner 24 years.
Goodwin explained the importance of the position as an advocate between the insurance industry and taxpayers.
Beth Wood, the Democrats’ nominee for state auditor, has worked in that office for 10 years, including three under incumbent Les Merritt.
A native of Craven County, Wood is a 1985 graduate of East Carolina University and has been a certified public accountant since 1987.
“In these times,” Wood said, “I’m proud to be a Democrat.”
But she said will be the first candidate in the office with her credentials. “It’s not about the party,” Wood said. “It’s about the most qualified candidate.”
Wood said Merritt requires an adviser with a salary of $40,000 a year that she will not need if elected.
“You can’t afford to settle for Les,” Wood quipped.