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Candidate profile: J. Rives ‘Judge’ Manning Jr.

The following are answers to rrspin.com questions for the Halifax County Board of Commissioners race:

Yam

J. Rives “Judge” Manning Jr.

Occupation

semi-retired

Education

North Carolina State College—BS in Animal Science

Professional affiliations

American Legion, AmVets, The Independent Insurance Agents Association, the Sons of American Revolution and several other historical and preservation associations.

Staff

I was born and raised in Roanoke Rapids and attend the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District’s school. I graduated from Roanoke Rapids Jr.-Sr. High School.

I was drafted into the US Army. After Basic and Advanced training I was assigned to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. I was a Personnel Specialist.

While in Arizona, I met and soon married Judy Manning. After separation from the Army, we came back to Roanoke Rapids and I started farming.

After several bad farming years, I went to work at the USDA-ASCS in Halifax.

In early 1972 I joined NC Farm Bureau Insurance as the Halifax County Agency Manager.

In early 1981, my wife and I started Halifax Farmers Insurance Service, Inc. We operated the Halifax Farmers Insurance Service until my wife retired in 2001.

I sold our book of business to McCoy Hackney Insurance in Scotland Neck and I worked for them as an agent until 2021 when I semi-retired.

My wife, Judy and I had two sons, John and Arlie. We were married for over 50 years, until she died in 2014.

I was brought up in the First Presbyterian Church and we moved our membership in 1964 over to the Stanley White Presbyterian Church. In about 2005 Judy and I moved our membership to Rosemary Methodist Church. I now attend the Open Door Fellowship Church.

Why are you seeking this office and what makes you qualified to hold it when elected?

In 2001, after I went to work with McCoy Hackney, I decided that I wanted to help Halifax Co. to run a more efficient county government. I was elected in 2002 and we have had a more efficient county government. In 2003 we had to raise the property tax rate to balance the budget. Since then we have brought our spending under control. I have served as a Halifax County commissioner from December 2002 to the present, almost twenty years. I think I have done a good job serving the residents of Halifax County.

Would you support a tax increase to support critical capital needs or critical recurring expenses? Please explain why or why not?

I would support a tax increase if it was shown that there was no other way to provide a critical capital need. But, we have a very good fund balance — savings plan — and I can not foresee needing a tax increase in the next few years.

Where do you stand on the issue of school merger?

All three of the Halifax County districts were established by acts of the legislature.

In the first in 1903 representatives of the town of Weldon went to the legislature and requested an act to establish the Weldon City School District to allow them to educate all the students of Weldon. It was passed and the Weldon City School District came into being, with established boundary lines, starting at a point on the Roanoke River.

In 1907, Representatives from Roanoke Rapids went to the legislature and requested that the legislature establish the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District, located south of the Roanoke River, to the west of the Weldon district boundary starting at a point where Weldon’s western boundary intersects the Roanoke River and going south along the Weldon boundary to the Weldon to Gaston Road, then turning west along the Weldon to Gaston Road to Tilghman’s Cross Roads, then turning south to Chockoyotte Creek, then turning in a westerly direction up Chockoyotte Creek and following the creek to the Shaw/Simmons line, then along the Shaw/Simmons line north to the Roanoke River, then turning in an easterly direction down the river to the point of beginning. The Roanoke Rapids Graded School District was established to educate all the children in the district.

Both of these districts were established before the state had approved any county schools.

They both had elected school boards of trustees elected by residents of the respective districts. The Halifax County School District is also governed by an elected school trustees to run the district.

I do not believe that the county commissioners should try to merge the districts.

The districts are to be run by their duly elected boards of trustees and the county has no jurisdiction or place in running or merging the districts.

Commissioners have passed proposed dog-hunting regulations onto state lawmakers and thus far there has been no action on the matter. Do you support changes in dog-hunting regulations or do you support different enforcement measures?

Halifax County has passed some regulations to restrict Dog Hunting to tracts of land over 200 connected acres Where the landowner or land controllers give there permission to the specific dog hunters to hunt deer with dogs on their property. We were told that Game Wardens could not enforce a county regulation, so we asked our State Representative and State Senator to introduce it for us. So far, I have not seen where it is to be considered by the Legislature. The purpose of these regulations is to allow the owner of the property to control who uses their property.

Please provide a brief summation on what the board of commissioners would be like under your leadership

I believe that the Halifax County Commissioners have been doing a pretty good job and I didn’t see anyone coming along that I felt could do a better job than I had been doing or would continue in our conservative direction. I do have a few years of experience to call on. I have been a businessman and have made a living, in doing so. I have been a Halifax County Commissioner for almost 19 ½ years — elected November, 2002, sworn in Dec. 2, 2002 – May 7, 2022.

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