Phillips nabs another term on board

By Keith Strange kstrange@civitasmedia.com

May 10, 2014

The commissioner originally appointed to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Commissioner Garry Scearce has been elected to serve his first full term.

Larry Phillips defeated challenger Ken Klamfoth for the Mount Airy District seat by a margin of 65.5 percent to 27.3 percent.

Long-time county veteran’s advocate Rawley King, who initially threw his hat in the ring but then chose to lend his support to Klamfoth, received 7.1 percent, or 230 votes.

While voter turnout was light for this year’s primary elections, that percentage translated to 2,113 votes for Phillips to 881 votes for Klamfoth.

Shortly after being notified of his victory, Phillips said he was humbled by the confidence showed by the voters.

“It’s obviously an honor to be able to represent the citizens of Surry County as a member of the board,” he said. “It’s probably the greatest honor this community can give me.”

Phillips, a 55-year-old Republican, said the tone of this year’s primary was also something to commend.

“I’m proud of the Republican party for rejecting the old-school Dobson politics of slander and character attack,” he said. “I’m really proud the party decided not to go in that direction.”

Klamfoth said he has no regrets looking back on the race.

“I was proud of the race I ran,” he said. “I worked hard to try and win this election, but I want to thank the people who voted for me and all the supporters who worked hard for me. But I certainly want to congratulate (Phillips) on his win.”

Phillips said his goals during the upcoming four-year term have not changed from the moment he took a seat on the board.

“It has to continue to be economic growth and development,” Phillips said. “We have to continually work to put this county in a favorable position to be attractive for economic growth and business.”

Part of that positioning includes continuing to invest in the county’s educational system.

“If we don’t have strong schools and the community college isn’t strong, we’re not going to have the kind of workforce we need if the jobs do come,” Phillips said.

Speaking to the voters, the newly re-elected commissioner said he appreciates their confidence.

“Thank you,” he said. “It’s an honor to serve and represent you. I’ve worked my heart out for two years, and I’m going to give you my best for the next four.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.