PEMBROKE — Businessman Harvey Godwin Jr. will enter the race for Lumbee tribal chairman, and has placed an advertisement in Sunday’s The Robesonian announcing his intent to do so.
Although several names have been circulating as potential candidates for the tribe’s top elected office, incumbent Paul Brooks and Godwin are the only two to step forward prior to the official Aug. 24 opening of the candidate filing period and legitimize their intent to run for office by purchasing advertising and launching public campaigns.
Brooks announced his candidacy through an advertisement in last Sunday’s edition of The Robesonian.
Godwin owns Two Hawk Employment Services in Lumberton, the business he founded 20 years ago. He said that he is running for chairman so he can expand his opportunities to serve the Lumbee people.
“This will not be a job for me,” he said. “It’s a chance for me to serve the people.”
A lifelong resident of the Moss Neck community, Godwin, 60, holds a pre-law degree from Pembroke State University. Before starting Two Hawk Employment Services he worked for 23 years in the grocery store business, starting as a store manager and working his way up to head buyer for Hills Food Stores.
Having been involved in community affairs all of his life, Godwin served as the campaign manager for the late Julian Pierce when Pierce was a candidate for a Robeson County Superior Court judgeship in 1988. An interest in his culture and history of his people led him to perform the role of Henry Berry Lowrie in the outdoor drama “Strike at the Wind!” from 1983 to 1990.
Currently Godwin is president of the Robeson Community College Foundation board of directors and is a member of the Lumber River Workforce Development Board. He is a past president of the Lumberton Rotary Club and a past member of the board of directors for the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce.
“My main objective is to bring back unity and spiritual and cultural pride to the people,” Godwin said. “We have to determine what our core values are as a people. Once we determine our values, we can take them into the future.”
Godwin said that he has the skills necessary to “solve existing and future problems” by building partnerships.
“I have the expertise and attributes not just to move the Lumbee Tribe forward, but to also move forward others in the area,” he said.
Godwin said that because of his business experience in workforce development and job training, if elected chairman there would be no need to call in a consultant to advise the tribe in these areas. He added, however, that he would hold “continuous roundtables” with large numbers of people to get their ideas on how to best move the tribe forward.
“We have to get ideas and engage people,” he said. “We need to engage people and encourage them to bring in ideas so we can formulate solutions to problems and form a vision of where we should be going in the future.”
Godwin said that if he becomes chairman, military veterans will have their needs addressed.
“Veterans are important to our people. They have served in all wars since the Revolutionary War,” he said.
Godwin added that his father, who had only a seventh-grade education, was a U.S. Army veteran of major campaigns in World War II who won numerous medals of recognition for his service.
“This gives me personal motivation to see that our veterans are taken care of,” he said.
The filing period runs from Aug. 24 through Sept. 18. The election is scheduled to be held on Nov. 17.