Two incumbents undecided, one ready to run for reelection to China Grove Town Council

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 10, 2021

CHINA GROVE — About a month away from the start of filing for municipal elections, two of the three China Grove Town Council members up for reelection are still undecided about making a run.

When China Grove voters take to the polls in November, they’ll choose who will take the council seats currently held by Brandon Linn, Don Bringle and Arthur Heggins, whose terms are set to expire.

After getting the blessing from his wife, Heggins said he plans to seek a second term in office. Heggins was the first African-American to seek and win election in China Grove when he was voted into office in 2017. Heggins said he was convinced to run by former Mayor Lee Withers and current Mayor Pro Tem Rodney Phillips.

“For a number of years, I was asked why I didn’t run,” said Heggins, interim pastor at Yadkin Grove Baptist Church. “I was just too busy at the time and finally, when approached over four years ago, I consulted my wife then and we talked about it and we had no representation for the community here off Kirk Street. It seems like at the time that we wanted to have some representation so I consented and went on and filed at that time.”

Heggins said his first year in office was a “learning experience,” but that he grew more comfortable over time. If he wins a second term, Heggins said his focus will be on bringing jobs to the area, fighting for infrastructure improvements around town and ushering in controlled growth.

While Heggins is prepared to campaign, Councilman Don Bringle is still mulling it over.

Bringle was appointed to the town council in 2019 to finish the remainder of Charles Seaford’s term once Seaford was elected mayor. Bringle, who works as parks and facilities director for Rowan County, previously served as China Grove’s mayor for 12 years and on the council for two terms.

Brandon Linn, who is near the end of his third term on the council, is also undecided.

“I’m praying over it, and again, just waiting to see how God leads and what doors he opens,” Linn said. “If he gives me the green light to run, I’ll do it. If not, I won’t.”

Linn, a deputy at the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, said he is proud of the measures the council has taken to transition the town’s water services over to Salisbury-Rowan Utilities and the way the town has prepared for growth by updating its zoning standards. 

If seeks a fourth term, Linn says he would prioritize bringing children’s activities to the town as a part of his campaign.

“I have a passion for kids,” Linn said. “I have two daughters of my own and I’ve said this since the beginning of running: We need something for kids and unfortunately there’s been some times we’ve hit roadblocks on grants and things to get some different types of activities for our youth.”

Although the opening of filing for municipal elections is July 2, Hunter Casper put his name in the ring for China Grove Town Council earlier this month. Casper’s campaign was short-lived, however, since the 18-year-old realized that he was too young to hold office under state law.

General statute asserts that a person must be 21 years old on election day to hold public office. And since the town of China Grove doesn’t have an age requirements in its charter, the state’s statute is the de facto rule. Casper said he could try to petition the town to alter its charter, but is unsure is he will do so.

The recent Carson High School graduate said he first thought about running after becoming a member of the Rowan Young Republicans Club last year and volunteering during campaign season.

“I was always interested in politics,” Casper said. “I have a really big passion for history and that led me into the political field. I want to be something big someday in politics, so I needed to start somewhere. City council seemed to be a good little start, but sadly I can’t run now.”

If he had been able to run, Casper said he would’ve focused on improving the town’s infrastructure and ensuring China Grove is a place people want to live. Although he likely won’t hold office in China Grove, Casper wants to stay involved in local politics.

“I just want to let the community know that I’m going to stay active and still talk about these issues even though I’m technically not in power and can’t do anything,” Casper said. “I will stay involved.”

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at ben.stansell@salisburypost.com.

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