William 'Brownie' Brown

By Catharin Shepard

Staff writer

Local business owner and military veteran William “Brownie” Brown announced that is seeking election to one of three seats on the Hoke County Board of Commissioners.

Brown, a Democrat, said he decided to run for the board because others encouraged him to run and because he is dedicated to listening to what the people of Hoke want from their leaders.

“I had a lot of folks come to me, knowing how I am, that I am a person of my word. I like to see changes done, and like anyone else running for public office, they’re going to say I want changes. Well, they do want changes but they don’t know what to change, because they have not spoken to the people,” he said.

Brown was born near Williamsport, Pennsylvania to a family of 13 children. He joined the United States Army in 1966 and served until his retirement in 1986. He served 18 months in Vietnam and 18 months in South Korea as well as three tours of duty in Germany and additional duty stations throughout the United States, including Fort Bragg. He served as a Drill Sergeant for four years and earned his associate’s degree and several awards for his work, and was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer in 1976. His decorations include the Air Medal and Bronze Star.

Brown owns and operates Brownie’s 24-Hour Towing, located on Highway 401 in Hoke County. He founded the business in 1985. Additionally, Brown is heavily involved in supporting three churches in Rockfish. He and his wife Jacoma have three children, Levi, Trevor and Patty.

If elected to the commission, Brown said he would like to be very involved in the community and seek to help the public. That’s something local leaders could improve on, the candidate said.

“They have not visited the people. I’ve been in the county for 29 years and I’ve had no one from public office come and talk to me about what can we do to change and what do people want,” he said. “I’m a people person. I love to get out, see what the problems are and see if I can change them, and I’ve always been that way.”

Brown said that if he is elected, he would like to frequently hold public input meetings in the community so he could stay in touch with what’s going on in Hoke and how he can best serve residents.

“I would want to go to different communities, and I would want them to come out and meet, if I make commissioner, which I hope I do, I want them to come out and meet me and I want them to explain to me some of the problems that they’re having and how they feel we can improve Hoke County and for the people,” he said.

If elected, Brown said mostly he would seek to address the concerns of Hoke residents. There are a few areas he already knows he would like to focus on, such as the Department of Social Services, the school system and the Sheriff’s Office.

“I would like to ensure that the DSS is run properly. I want to look at the school system to make sure that the school system has what they need,” the candidate said. “(I want to) ensure that our safety is most important. I want to make sure that they have the right equipment and enough people to protect us while we sleep.”

If elected, he said he would like to look at developing some substations for the Sheriff’s Office so that deputies don’t have to travel so far to respond to calls for help. Additionally, Brown said that he would like to examine the fire departments and make sure they have what they need to protect people and property.

“God knows we need them. I want to make sure they’re well-equipped, do they have any needs,” he said.

Cleaning up the roadways in Hoke County is another matter he would like to address, he added.

One of the biggest challenges Hoke County is facing is the continued growth, but Brown said he would rather wait and see what residents want before deciding what steps he should take to address such issues.

Brown said voters should cast a ballot for him because he’s a man of his word and wants to work for the interests of the people of Hoke.

“I’m retired military, I have a successful business. I don’t need what they’re going to pay me, so I’m not in it for the money. I’m not in it for personal gain. I’m in it for the people. What do they want?” he said.

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