First Posted: 1/15/2009
Cites other demands on time
LUMBERTON - Leroy Freeman says added business and civic responsibilities have made it impossible for him to remain a candidate for one of the three at-large seats on the school board.
Freeman said he spent last week mulling over the situation and met with his campaign manager Tuesday morning to talk about getting out of the race.
“This position on the school board is not something to be taken lightly,” Freeman said. “It will require a great deal of time to get in there, learn what you need to know and be effective. Right now my plate is too full to give that position the kind of commitment it needs.”
Freeman, 58, is co-manager of Ampack. The Lumberton plant was recently awarded several multimillion dollar contracts to supply sandbags to the U.S. military.
Freeman bought the Snack Shak in Fairmont and reopened the restaurant last month.
A longtime supporter of Sen. John Edwards, Freeman will join the vice presidential candidate on Monday in Raleigh to help the Democratic ticket raise money for the campaign. Freeman also serves as chairman of the Lumbee Regional Development Association board of directors.
“I've had so many added responsibilities over the last little while, that I thought it would be better to get out of the race rather than short-change the school system,” Freeman said. “Education is so important and we need someone in there who is able to devote the time needed.”
Freeman said he is not concerned that there are three other American Indians - JoAnn Chavis Lowery, Billy “Dollar Bill” Oxendine and Norman “Woody” Sampson - in the at-large race and that the Indian vote might be split.
“That's not the reason for getting out,” Freeman said. “I had great support throughout the county and was pretty certain that I could win a seat. My overriding concern was would I have the time to do the kind of job voters would expect.”
Freeman is the second at-large candidate to withdraw from the race. John McCoy of Maxton withdrew as a candidate in June.
Freeman and McCoy's name will appear on the ballot Tuesday because the ballots have already been printed.
“I've already starting calling supporters to let then know what was going on and telling them they may want to support someone else,” he said.
Freeman said he has yet to endorse another candidate, but plans to talk with the remaining office seekers about his support.
There are seven candidates remaining seeking the three at-large seats. They are incumbents John Campbell and Millicent Nealy, and challengers Jerry Long, Lowery, James McEachern, Oxendine and Sampson.
At-large incumbent Bosco Locklear did not file for re-election.