Jones: Experience key to his victory
By Reggie Ponder and William F. West
Thursday, November 8, 2018
CAMDEN — Sheriff-elect Kevin Jones said Wednesday he believes Camden voters elected him on Tuesday largely because of his experience.
Jones, who recently retired from a career as a state highway patrolman, defeated Democrat Rick Trevena by 1,776 votes in Tuesday’s election, garnering 72 percent of all votes cast. On Wednesday, the Republican said he was both pleased and humbled by the results.
"I'm very appreciative of the citizens of Camden County," Jones said.
Jones said he had wonderful supporters and volunteers. Without them, he said, "This would not have been possible."
Jones also believes his decisive margin of his victory showed Camden voters’ confidence in his ability to lead the Camden Sheriff's Office.
"I'm going to give it my all to make Camden County proud of this sheriff's department," he said.
Jones, who will be sworn in next month, will succeed Rodney Meads, who was appointed Camden sheriff earlier this year following former Sheriff Tony Perry’s retirement and whom Jones defeated in the May Republican primary. Meads will remain with the department as Jones’ chief deputy, Jones has said.
As for his goals, Jones said they include: restructuring the internal operations at the sheriff's office; targeting problem areas in the county with more deputies; and implementing more community-oriented law enforcement.
"I want the patrol cars seen more in the communities and around businesses," he said.
Trevena, who's a lieutenant with the Norfolk, Virginia, Sheriff's Office, couldn't immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
In the only other contested local race on the Camden ballot on Tuesday, county voters also filled three open seats on the Camden Board of Education. Jason Banks, Sissy Aydlett and Chris Purcell won the seats by finished first, second and third in the race. Also in the race were Eleanora Doane-Butts, Roger Morgan and Tiffany Bounds.
Purcell, a first-time candidate. said he believes his call for expanding the school district's offerings in career and technical education resonated with voters.
“I think the biggest thing I heard in talking to people in the community is the desire to grow our CTE (career and technical education) program that I campaigned on,” Purcell said.
Purcell said in the upcoming term the school board will need to work toward the construction of a new high school. A plan is needed now, he said, because the county probably will need the new high school in four or five years if current trends in residential growth continue.
Banks, who won a second term, expressed appreciation for the community's vote of confidence in his service on the board.
“People have told me it is because they find me to be kind, fair and trustworthy,” Banks said. “People know that I truly care about others, and I have our students' best interest at heart. People familiar with our schools feel that we have had a very productive board and want to see that trend continue.”
Banks said the challenges of the upcoming term will include fostering continued growth for students, staff and administrators, implementation of the new strategic plan that's being developed, continued improvement of facilities, and “most importantly, working to keep our children safe.”
Aydlett, who also won a second term on Tuesday, also expressed appreciation to county voters for their support.
“I would like to believe that I was re-elected because I have worked hard and have done a good job over the last four years,” Aydlett said. “Being on the board is no easy task and it takes a great deal of time. I think the voters know that I have a passion for what I am doing and that I will continue to do my very best for our children and school system over the next four years.”
Aydlett said safety will be a focus during the upcoming term.
“My main goal for the upcoming term would probably have to be the safety of our children,” Aydlett said. “Although it is hard to pick just one goal, keeping our kids safe and providing the best learning environment possible is at the top of my list.”
Morgan, a retired school administrator, said he is still weighing whether he’ll run again for a school board seat.
“I have not really made that decision yet,” he said.
Morgan said that looking back on the race he realizes he was not able to devote enough time to the campaign and also did not spend as much money as some other candidates.
“This really was not a good time for me to have gotten involved in a race,” Morgan said.
Doane-Butts and Bounds couldn’t be reached Wednesday.