By Catharin Shepard • Editor • With a few days still to go in the open filing period, nine candidates have so far filed to run for election to three seats on the Raeford City Council. 

Cathy Brown, Jackie McLean, Ricky Sandy and Shelley Wilburn had added their names to the ballot by Monday, according to the Hoke County Board of Elections. Two more candidates, Josh Bain and David Conoly, filed Tuesday just before The News-Journal’s print deadline.

Cathy Brown is an extension agent with the Hoke County Cooperative Extension, and also oversees 4-H youth development at the Hoke County Center. 

Jackie McLean is a dropout prevention coordinator with Hoke County Schools, president of the Hoke County branch of the NAACP and is currently working on a community violence prevention program.

Ricky Sandy worked for 34 years with Hoke County Farm Bureau, and has served multiple terms as president of the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Shelley Wilburn, who previously served six years on the Raeford City Council, is an educator at Hoke County High School who worked to improve downtown Raeford and was part of organizing the Downtown Raeford Business Association (DRBA).

Due to press deadline, more information about Bain and Conoly will be in next week’s issue of the newspaper.

City council candidates Johnny Boyles, Charles Tapp and Shirley Hart completed their paperwork the first week of filing.

Boyles is a longtime local farmer who previously ran for election to the Hoke County Board of Commissioners in 2022, and earlier this year was elected to serve on the Hoke County GOP Executive Board. 

Hart, who previously ran for the city council in 2015, is executive director of the Tia Hart Community Recovery Program in Raeford and has served with many organizations including as a member of the Sandhills Mental Health board. 

Tapp is former executive director for maintenance of Hoke County Schools, and a longtime firefighter and member of the Raeford-Hoke Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Filing opened Friday, July 7 for candidates interested in seeking election to one of three seats on the Raeford City Council that are up for contest this year. The three seats on the Raeford City Council that are up for election this year are currently occupied by incumbent council members Bobby Conoly, John Jordan and Mary Neil King.

The filing period to run for city council lasts for two weeks in total and closes at noon this Friday, July 21. Candidate filing takes place at the Hoke County Board of Elections office during regular business hours during the filing period. It costs $5 to file for the office.

More information about filing to run for the city council is available through the county elections office. Call (910) 875-9062 for details.

There was no primary election for the council race because the Raeford City Council is a nonpartisan board.

The race for city council is set to be the only local election this year, as 2023 is designated as a municipal elections year. There are no county-wide elections on the schedule for 2023. Only people who live in the Raeford city limits and who are registered to vote will be allowed to vote in the municipal election for city council.

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