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Elect 2012: Education a priority for Genes eyeing 25th Senate seat

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY – Republican Gene McIntyre is a former educator of 33 years. Gene McLaurin, a Democratic businessman, has also said education is a top priority.
Both men are vying for the N.C. Senate District 25 seat.
McIntyre and McLaurin have each said they will focus on improving the economy and job creation if elected.
But education reform is important, they said.
“I’m a business person with 32 years of business experience and I know that good jobs start with good schools,” McLaurin said.
McLaurin, president of Swink-Quality Oil Co. and mayor of Rockingham for 15 years, said he’s a product of both the community college and university systems.
“In order to have a thriving economy, we have to invest in the public education system,” he said.
Gene McIntyre, serving in his fourth term as county commissioner, said he and McLaurin “want some of the same things” but their processes are different.
One of those differences is investing back into a system, he said, is broken.
“It hasn’t failed completely,” McIntyre said, citing a stat that most fourth graders’ reading levels aren’t proficient. “But it’s failing miserably.”
On the other hand, McIntyre said, he would look at how to “fix” the education system.
“We need to look at what we’ve got and make sure it’s working,” McIntyre said.
Both men agreed that local school systems should have more control in how funding is spent.
“Each school system is different,” McIntyre said. “Having been there, you have different needs and the local systems should have more control and say so in how their funds are spent.”
McLaurin, who was endorsed by the North Carolina Association of Educators, said funding for community colleges should also be restored.
“Community colleges are the training ground for job training and we’re asking them to do more with less,” McLaurin said.
The Senate District 25 seat is up for grabs after incumbent Sen. Bill Purcell decided not to run for reelection.
The 2011 redistricting brought southeastern Rowan County into the new District 25. The district’s boundaries also will include Scotland, Richmond, Anson and Stanly counties.
Following the redistricting, each candidate said, county lines are still important.
But McLaurin said a independent group should be commissioned to look at the congressional and state legislative districts.
“It’s important that we not have elected officials in Raleigh drawing the boundaries for partisan purposes,” he said.
In May, McIntyre beat Republican Jack Benoy. McLaurin beat Democrat Daniel Wilson.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

Meet the candidates
Gene McLaurin
Office sought: 25th N.C. Senate District
Age: 55
Address: 905 Fayetteville Road, Rockingham, NC 28379
Phone: (910) 997-3101
Occupation: President, Swink-Quality Oil Company
Education: Attended Richmond Technical Institute (now Richmond Community College) and graduated in 1978 from UNC Charlotte
Elective Office:  Mayor of Rockingham (1997-present)
Community involvement: Elder and Sunday School Teacher, First Presbyterian Church of Rockingham; 
Past President, Richmond County Chamber of Commerce; Past Campaign Chairman, Richmond County United Way; Past President, active member of Rockingham Rotary (Paul Harris Fellow); Former trustee and finance chair, Richmond Community College; Chairman, Foundation for Richmond County (affiliate of Foundation for the Carolinas); Campaign Cabinet, Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham
Family: Married to Donna for 36 years.  Three children and one grandson. 

Gene McIntyre
Office sought: 25th N.C. Senate District
Address: 44074 Cat Fish Road, New London, 28127
Phone: 704-463-5931
Age: 67 years old
Party: Republican
Occupation: Retired educator.
Education: B.S. App State. Masters in Education from UNC-Charlotte, Principal certificate from School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill
Previous elected office: Currently a County Commissioner, fourth term.
Community involvement: New London United Methodist Church, member of the West Stanly Lions Club, Puppy raisers for a guide dog school in Florida.
Family: Sue (wife) , two grown children, four grandchildren

Who votes in the 25th District?
Rowan County precincts
Barnhardt Mill – W. Park Baptist Ch.
Bostian Crossroads – Bostian Hts. VFD
China Grove – CG Community Building
Rock Grove – Rock Grove UMC
Morgan I – Pooletown VFD
Morgan II – Morgan Elem. School
Rockwell – East Branch Public Library
Gold Knob – E. Rowan High School
Bostian School – Bostian Elementary
*The rest of Rowan is in the 34th District, where Sen. Andrew Brock faces no opposition.
Coming up:
• Friday: 77th District, N.C. House: Bill Batterman vs. Harry Warren
• Sunday: Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education: three seats up for election. 
• Wednesday, Oct. 17: Salisbury Post Early Voters Guide
• Sunday, Nov. 4: Salisbury Post Election Day Voters Guide

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