Local Politics

Wilson sheriff candidates talk experience, crime

Posted October 12, 2010

— Hundreds turned out Tuesday night to hear from the two candidates vying for the position of sheriff in Wilson County.

“This is the first time there is a sheriff’s debate,” resident Alonzo Bragg said.

For nearly three decades, the county has been under the protection of Sheriff Wayne Gay. In May, Gay lost in the Democratic primary to challenger Calvin Woodard.

Woodard, an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation, has worked with the sheriff’s office for 15 years. His sales pitch to voters on Tuesday night was change.

“The Wilson County Sheriff’s Department needs new leadership and new direction,” Woodard said.

John Farmer, an officer at the sheriff's office for 30 years, is running against Woodard. In opening statements, he stressed his experience.

“I have worked hundreds of cases, made arrests for murder, robbery, rape, drugs,” Farmer said.

After losing the primary in May, Gay blamed race for his loss. He later apologized.

Race found itself back into the debate on Tuesday.

Woodard said there are diversity issues in the community.

Wilson sheriff candidates debate Wilson sheriff candidates debate

“I will not only be a hard-working law enforcement officer, but a fair law enforcement officer to everyone,” he said.

Farmer does not think race issues are as large as some perceive.

“I think racial issues are what people make them and not what they really are,” he said.

Another hot topic was keeping good deputies in the county. Farmer stressed the importance of increasing salaries.

“We need to figure out how to keep good people,” he said.

Woodard also suggested the atmosphere in the department needs to change.

“Advancement is on who you know and politics,” he said.

The biggest concern in the crowd was on drugs and gangs.

“The gang issue we have in this county has grown,” resident Martha Pridgen said.

Both candidates said they will attack the problem directly. They are also in favor of felony charges for drug pushers.

Voters go to the polls November 2nd.


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  • blahh Oct 14, 2010

    didisaythat...Don't post if you do not know whats going on in Wilson.

  • didisaythat Oct 13, 2010

    Don't know either gentlemen, but the comment about if you vote for John, you are just voting in the last Sheriff, seems wrong, because both worked under the old Sheriff. So, with that logic voting for either would be like voting for the old one.

  • luvdolphin2 Oct 13, 2010

    My vote is for Calvin. Wilson County residents are tired and ready for a change. That's why Wayne Gay lost!! John Farmer is nothing more than one of Wayne Gay's apprentices. I feel that if you vote for John Farmer, you're voting Wayne Gay right back into position!

  • 2SWEETBOYS Oct 13, 2010

    Go Calvin!!!!

  • fiesty Oct 13, 2010

    anytime you run for office that is one of the issues that would be used to smear the name of a candidate....it is also a sign of good character if said candidate does not have that type of reputation. Some of the deputies here in Wilson and NOTORIOUS for adultry...John is NOT one of those.....I have nothing bad to say about Calvin...I just don't believe he is the best man for the job.

  • lisa4 Oct 13, 2010

    "He does not cheat on his wife" - what in the world does that have to do with anything Fiesty?????????????? Mr. Farmer is running for sheriff - not the "most faithful husband award"!!!!!
    May the best man win!!!

  • whatusay Oct 13, 2010

    If you don't know anything about either of these candidates you should not vote for either one...otherwise, it "is" a race issue.

  • blahh Oct 13, 2010

    My vote is for Calvin Woodard! He was very professional and organized at last nights debate.

  • EKS has gone rogue Oct 13, 2010

    People should just vote for whoever they feel can truthfulness to the department. There has been alot of rumors and lies going around over the years and its time to stop all of that here say and vote for truth.

  • fiesty Oct 13, 2010

    John Farmer has my vote!! He may not be the greatest speaker and he is not a politician (aren't we sick of those anyway??)but he has always been a good deputy and good deputies make good SHERIFF'S!! He doesn't make unrealistic promises.....he only has his past experience (and alot of it) to sell to you. He is not arrogant, does not cheat on his wife, he's not flashy....he just wants to do his job....a job that he has proven for many years that he can do and do it well. Isn't that what we all have been waiting for???? Good luck John!!! I will be voting for you next month!!!