Vance Co. Commissioner Tommy Hester Announces Plan to Run for NC Senate


Thomas “Tommy” Hester, Jr., lifelong Henderson native, long-serving Vance County Commissioner and local businessman, has announced that he will file for the NC Senate District Three seat in the 2020 election. The filing period begins Monday, December 2, 2019.

NC’s third district is currently represented by Democratic Senator Erica Smith-Ingram and includes Vance, Warren, Northampton, Bertie, Martin and Beaufort counties.

With Smith-Ingram expected to file for federal office as opposed to filing for reelection to the state senate, Hester said the time is right to seek an office that “can help bring jobs and education – the two most important factors in economic growth – to rural NC counties.”

Tommy Hester announces to the local media on Wednesday that he will file for the NC Senate District Three seat in the 2020 election. The filing period begins Monday, December 2, 2019. (WIZS photo)

All six of the counties comprising district three are considered Tier 1, a distinction that makes them among the most economically distressed in the state. Rankings are based on an assessment of a county’s unemployment rate, median household income, population growth and assessed property value per capita, according to the NC Department of Commerce.

As a resident and county commissioner in a Tier 1 county, Hester said he is prepared to bring jobs and education to the district and believes his experience on the North Carolina Golden Leaf Board of Directors and Chairman of the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, in part, make him an ideal candidate.

“Being involved in Golden Leaf and being in Raleigh with the Rural Infrastructure Authority for six years has given me the background on what needs to be done to help rural counties,” stated Hester.

In addition to his many service roles in Vance County, Hester has connections to other rural NC counties including the three years he was stationed in Warren County as part of his 15 years of National Guard service and connections made through wife Jenny, a Northampton County native.

Locally, Hester has served the Henderson-Vance Economic Development Committee as its elected Board Chair. He was also named Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 2017 and has been recognized with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian award.

A Vance County Commissioner for 14 years, Hester said he will only resign the local office if he wins the senate seat. If elected, Hester would also be required to resign from the Golden Leaf Foundation and the Rural Infrastructure Authority.

Hester pointed to recent examples of growth in Vance County, many of which he was either directly or indirectly involved with, as proof that the tide can turn in counties categorized as “economically distressed.” Examples included:

  • Expansion of the Henderson-Vance Industrial Park located off US-1
  • Mako Medical Laboratories opening in Henderson, bringing 100+ jobs (to date)
  • New Vance Charter School Building and Salvation Army Building in Henderson
  • Wireless Broadband agreement to provide service to 95-98% of Vance County
  • Vance County’s water expansion project, currently on phase 3

While he is proud of the strides made in Vance County in recent years, Hester said he also wants to help expand that growth to other rural counties via the third district senate seat.

“There’s no one running right now or announced to run except for me. I’m running for it because I care about NC and I care about rural counties. If we help one rural county, we are helping all surrounding counties.”

The general election for the North Carolina State Senate will be held on November 3, 2020. A primary is scheduled for March 3, 2020.

If elected, Hester would assume office the first day of the new General Assembly in January 2021. Members of the state senate serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits.

Warrenton Christmas Parade to Delight Main Street Sat., Dec. 14

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-Information courtesy the Rotary Club of Warrenton

The 2019 Warrenton Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, December 14 beginning at 5 p.m. on Main Street in Historic Downtown Warrenton. The parade is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Warrenton and the Town of Warrenton.

In case of rain, the parade will be held Sunday, December 15 beginning at 5 p.m.

Applications and additional information for those interested in entering the parade are available at Town Hall (113 S. Bragg Street), Tar Heel Tire and on the Rotary Club of Warrenton’s Facebook page. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best floats!

Warren County Farm City Dinner to be Held at Armory Nov. 19

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-Information courtesy Warren Co. Cooperative Extension

The Warren County 2019 Farm City Dinner will be held on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Warren County Armory Civic Center. Come and celebrate the relationship between farm and city.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Blake Brown, Hugh C. Kiger Professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics at NC State University. Find out about current global trends in agriculture and how they affect our local communities.

Please RSVP by November 15. Register online by clicking here.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ridgeway to Hold Fall Bazaar

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-Information courtesy Annie Bender, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

The Lutheran Women’s Missionary League of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, located at 114 Poplar Mount Road in Ridgeway, NC, will hold its annual Fall Bazaar on Saturday, November 9, 2019. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the church.

For sale will be homemade baked goods, preserves, pickles, soups, chili, crafts, RADA cutlery and a variety of White Elephant (yard sale type) items.

Visit our snack bar for ham biscuits, homemade soups and chili, chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, desserts, soft drinks and coffee.

All proceeds go to various mission projects.

Pesticide Collection Day Scheduled for Warren, Surrounding Counties

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-Information courtesy Paul McKenzie, Agricultural Extension Agent, Vance/Warren Counties

NC Cooperative Extension will offer a Pesticide Collection Day for residents in Warren and surrounding counties on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the NC Cooperative Extension office located at 158 Rafters Ln. in Warrenton, NC.

NC Cooperative Extension will offer this service in collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The local site manager will be Matthew Place, Agricultural Extension Agent for Warren County.

Nearly all pesticide products will be accepted, including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, etc. For liquid pesticide containers larger than 5 gallons or for unlabeled pesticides, please contact the NC Cooperative Extension office for information before bringing to the collection event. Although no gas cylinders will be accepted, assistance information can be provided.

For more information, contact Matthew Place at the NC Cooperative Extension office at (252) 257-3640.

VGCC to Hold 8th Annual Small Business Summit

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-Information courtesy Sheri Jones, Director, VGCC Small Business Center

Vance-Granville Community College’s upcoming 8th Annual Small Business Summit entitled “It’s All About the Path You Choose – Using the Right Strategy to Make the Best Moves.” will be held on Tuesday, October 29 from 6 to 9 p.m., with registration starting at 5:30 p.m., at the Warren County Armory & Convention Center.

Cost is $1o and includes dinner; attendance limited to the first 300 that register.

The registration deadline is Thursday, October 24. To register, visit

Maurice Ashley, the first African – American International Grandmaster in Chess, will serve as the speaker. He is a commentator for the biggest chess events in the world including the World Chess Championships, the US Chess Championships, the Grand Chess Tour and the legendary Man vs. Machine matches between Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue.

He is also the co-organizer of the Millionaire Chess Open, the highest stakes Open chess tournament in history and was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 2016. His motivational speeches look at the character-building effects of chess and how the strategies used in the game translate into strategies for life.

The presenting sponsor for this year’s event is NC IDEA, a private foundation with a mission to maximize the economic potential of the people of North Carolina by supporting the formation and fruition of high-growth entrepreneurial endeavors in the state.

NC IDEA President and CEO Thom Ruhe will give a brief presentation on Ice House Entrepreneurship – an experiential, problem-based program designed to empower learners by exposing them to entrepreneurial thinking while immersing them in entrepreneurial experiences that will enable them to develop creativity and critical thinking, effective problem solving, teamwork, and other entrepreneurial skills – skills that will enable them to succeed regardless of their chosen path.

The event is brought to the area by the VGCC Small Business Center, the Warren County Economic Development Commission, Chamber of Commerce of Warren County and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Warrenton’s Kid-Friendly ‘Fright Night’ to Offer Prizes, Face Painting & More

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-Information and flyer courtesy the Warrenton Festivals Facebook page

The Warrenton Revitalization Committee presents a kid-friendly “Fright Night” on Saturday, October 26, 2019, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse Square, 109 S. Main St., Warrenton.

Wear your costume, register for prizes, enter drawings, get your face painted by the Warren County Arts Council and take a ghost walk. A “local spirit” will lead the ghost walk at 8 p.m.

Music will be provided by DJ Lee Burrows with Solid Sound Productions and refreshments will be available for purchase.

(This is not a paid advertisement)

Warrenton Harvest Market Set for Fall Fun in Historic Courthouse Square

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-Information and flyer courtesy the Visit Warren County NC Facebook page

The Warrenton Revitalization Committee will hold a Harvest Market event on Saturday, October 12, 2019, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse Square in downtown Warrenton.

Crafts, art, gifts, jewelry, candles, produce, festival foods and more will be available. Enjoy live music by Ally J.

Vendor applications are due by October 8 and can be viewed by clicking here.

For more information, please contact (252) 257-1122 or email [email protected]

Warren Co. 4-H: Youth Mentors Needed for Community Service Hours Opportunity

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-Information courtesy Warren County NC Coop. Extension

Know a youth in need of internship or community service hours?

Warren County 4-H will be staring a mentoring program called “4-H L.I.T.” (Leading Into Tomorrow) and is in need of youth mentors.

Seven youth mentors are needed and must:

  • Love working with youth
  • Attend required training on Monday, Sept. 30
  • Complete mentor application
  • Commit to 60 hours by the end of the school year

An online application is available on the Warren County 4-H website (click here). The application deadline is Saturday, September 28.

With additional questions, please contact Rashawn Steverson at (252) 257-3640 or email [email protected]

Warren Co. Board of Elections to Hold Voting Systems Demonstration

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-Information courtesy Warren County, NC

Notice is hereby given that the Warren County Board of Elections will hold a public demonstration of voting systems recommended for use in Warren County, NC.

The demonstration will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 2019, at the Warren County Armory Civic Center, 501 US Hwy 158-Bus E, Warrenton, NC.

This notice is given by order of Esther Terry, Chairman, Warren County Board of Elections.

For further information, contact Warren County BOE staff at (252) 257-2114.