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Candidate feels county needs a woman's touch

Richmond County Daily Journal - 1/31/2020

Jan. 30--ROCKINGHAM -- One of the candidates running for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners is looking to bring a woman's touch to issues of importance in the county.

Susan Bruce said she wants to offer a new perspective on the board. Among the issues she's concerned with are improving the conditions at the Richmond County Animal Shelter, more access to recreation for people with disabilities, and supporting the homeless.

Bruce, a Democrat, expressed concern over the recent controversy at the Animal Shelter involving accusations of animals being kept in poor conditions and allegations of mishandling, as well as a fine from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Division.

"I'm a huge animal advocate," said Bruce, who has four rescue dogs of her own. "The Animal Shelter is a huge thing that needs to be squared away."

Bruce has recently had back surgery which has made her unable to work, which has given her "a lot of time to think" about what the county needs. And handicapped accessibility is one of those needs. Some of Richmond County's biggest attractions, such as Hinson Lake, aren't accessible to individuals in wheelchairs, Bruce pointed out.

"(We need) a nice area where somebody can take a family member that's in a wheelchair to be able to get them out in the sun and get some fresh air," Bruce said. "We've got areas in Richmond County that are very nice that I think would be great to (allow disabled people to take advantage of). Getting back to nature and grounding yourself is a good thing."

She also noted that she was troubled by the sight of a homeless man out in the cold with a small dog in a baby stroller. Bruce said she wants to see a shelter where the homeless can bring their pets in out of the cold.

"I want to hear what people have to say ... I'm carrying a notepad around so I can write down people's concerns," Bruce said. "There are plenty of concerns: bringing in more industry, bringing in more or better eating places for families to go out and sit down and have a nice meal."

Bruce, a Richmond County-native, has worked as an EMT for both the Hamlet Fire Department (where she was also a firefighter) and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital-Richmond before suffering an injury while transporting a patient. Since her injury, she has been a softball and basketball coach, and physical education teacher at schools across the state, including in Montgomery and Moore counties.

Most recently, Bruce was a telemetry technician at Sandhills Regional Medical Center. She earned a Bachelor's of Science in physical education from Lees-McRae College in 2004.

She said this work experience has prepared her for the job of a county commissioner because of the "compassion" she had to have to work with the public throughout her career.

"When you're running for office, you tell (the public) a little about yourself and then you listen," Bruce said of her campaign's philosophy. "You have to be a good listener."

There are three seats open on the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, with the only incumbent being Jimmy Capps, who is running as a Democrat. The other candidates gunning for a seat are (D) Michael Legrand, (R) Lee Berry, (R) Jeff Smart, (unaffiliated) T.J. Davenport, (D) Kevin Clark, (R) Andy Grooms, (R) Jim Entwistle, and (D) Dewey L. Brower.

Feb. 7 is the voter registration deadline for the 2020 primary election to be held March 3. If you have not registered by that date you will still be able to register and vote during the early voting period but not on the day of the primary, March 3. For more information call the Richmond County Board of Elections at 910-997-8253.

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]


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