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Pierce’s brazen play for power

Power play?

Craig Pierce

Craig Pierce thinks the voters of Rowan County are gullible.

In the middle of his second term on the Board of Commissioners, Pierce took the unprecedented step Monday of filing for re-election though he still has two years to serve. He says he wants to ensure his place on the board through 2022 without having to run in 2020. It’s a must, he says, to be sure the infrastructure expansion he promised voters in 2016 gets done.

Does anyone really believe that?

This is a brazen power play that insults the intelligence of local Republicans. Pierce wants to extend his stay on the board, all right. In the process, he would open up a seat — his old one — to which he and the rest of the new commission could appoint a replacement. Pierce’s goal is control of the county commission and a return to the negative tone Rowan government finally escaped four years ago.

Call him the man who would be chairman — except, well, he’s not. Always a bridesmaid and all that.

Pierce, you’ll remember, voted for the county to buy the former Salisbury Mall and was eager to move more county departments there. More recently, he opposed the school system’s contract with Apple for digital devices, suggesting that teachers wanted to do “easy stuff.” He went on, “Well, I don’t want you to do that. I want you to go to work and teach our children.”

Pierce has chafed under the leadership of Commission Chairman Greg Edds, who can usually count on the support of Vice Chairman Jim Greene and Commissioner Judy Klusman. The three were elected at the same time four years ago and held a campaign event Monday to announce they are running again. If Pierce were to win the primary, one of those commissioners would be unseated by the end of the year, and that voting bloc would be broken.

The county has taken several positive steps in the past four years to improve Rowan’s economic development prospects. A revived Rowan EDC, the new GroRoCo initiative and the IDEA Center to foster entrepreneurship have brought new energy, enthusiasm and collaboration to the local economic scene.

Rowan County has also made tremendous strides toward extending water and sewer services on Long Ferry Road — something Duke Energy had a much bigger hand in than any individual commissioner. To the southern end of the county, casings are to be laid under the expanding interstate highway so that area also will have access to water and sewer. Those plans are progressing.

If Pierce wants to play political games, he has that right. But he won’t get away with playing the martyr who only wants to see an infrastructure project completed. He is a power-hungry politician, pure and simple. Let the games begin.

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