Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 26, 2021

CHINA GROVE — In a bid for another term on the town council, Don Bringle is betting on his experience.

“Being a product of the area, living here in China Grove for as long as I have, I feel like with the experience I have, experience does count,” Bringle said. “For our town in the growth pattern we are in now, I would like to be a part of that if the voters vote for me.”

Bringle is no stranger to decision making in China Grove. When Charles Seaford was elected mayor of the town in 2019, Bringle was appointed by the council to fill the final two years of his term. Prior to his latest stint in office, Bringle served as a councilman and mayor at separate times, which means he’ll have held office for almost two decades even if he’s not reelected.

Bringle is one of three incumbent council members seeking another term, joining Arthur Heggins and Brandon Linn. There are six challengers vying for their seats. Early voting is already underway with election day coming up on Nov. 2.

Bringle, 68, is a Rowan County native who grew up near the Eighth Street ballpark in Spencer. After earning a bachelor’s degree in textile technology from North Carolina State University, Bringle returned to his home county and moved to China Grove to work for China Grove Textiles.

That’s where he met his wife, Gigi, and settled down. It was Bringle’s mother-in-law, Jamima DeMarcus, who first inspired him to get involved in town politics. Not only did DeMarcus make history by serving as the first female council member in China Grove, but she was also elected as the first female Rowan County commissioner.

The first time Bringle ran to serve on China Grove Town Council, he wasn’t elected. Undeterred, Bringle ran again.

“When I ran the second time, I was the leading vote getter, I believe,” Bringle said.

Whenever Bringle was in need of advice during his first term on council, he didn’t have to look far.

“(DeMarcus) was an ally and advocate for me,” Bringle said. “With her experience, I had someone I could reference to or lean on if I needed to. She would always offer constructive advice for me.”

Bringle served his four-year term, took a break from the council for several years, and then was elected mayor and held the office for 12 years. While he’s proud of ushering in new rules that have allowed citizens to drive golf carts on China Grove’s streets, Bringle said his biggest accomplishment while leading the town was helping merge the town’s water and sewer services with Salisbury-Rowan Utilities.

“We were able to merge our water sewer system, which was really failing with us financially as well as being able to maintain it, with the city of Salisbury,” Bringle said. “That was a major accomplishment and moving forward that was one of the best things our town has done.”

More recently, Bringle said he is proud that the town council recently approved several new residential developments that will bring hundreds of households to the growing town. 

“If they can meet the criteria we’ve established for these communities, we can go from 400 to close to 1,000 homes in the next year in growth,” Bringle said.

If elected to serve another term, Bringle said he would work with the Rowan Economic Development Council to embrace new industrial and commercial growth. Welcoming new business, Bringle said, would increase the town’s tax base and give the council the ability to provide more services to residents.

Bringle said he would also like to be a part of the hiring process if the town’s longtime manager, Ken Deal, retires within the next few years.

While Bringle would like to serve as a council member for four more years, he said he’s excited to see six challengers running in the election.

“I’m sure the townspeople will elect three good candidates through this process,” Bringle said.

Bringle currently serves as director of parks, recreation and facilities for Rowan County. In that role, he is responsible for overseeing the county’s myriad parks and West End Plaza.

Bringle has been a member of the Civitan Club for 41 years and can be found working the club’s concession stand at China Grove Little League games. Bringle lives in China Grove with his wife.