Continuing a Tradition: Town’s First Black Commissioner Hopes to Inspire Others – Davie County Enterprise Record

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By Jeanna Baxter Blanc
Word Master Media Group

The Town of Mocksville welcomed Jenny Stevenson, Carl Lambert and Johnny Frye to City Council in a swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, December 7.
The new board members are ready to put their skills and experience to work for the residents of Mocksville as they begin their four-year term. Everyone shared some information about themselves to help the community get to know them better.
Stevenson didn’t make the decision to run lightly. Several years ago, she started attending monthly city council meetings and heard the issues, thoughts and concerns of residents.
Then, in 2019, she sat on the Town of Mocksville Planning Council, which ultimately motivated her to run.
She considers herself “an ordinary person who wants to do extraordinary things for the town of Mocksville”.
“I want to make a difference and be available to help anyone I can. I know I won’t appeal to everyone all the time, but I want to act as a mediator who works to help everyone so that we have win-winners instead of win-lose.
Stevenson comes from a large family with deep roots in Davie County. Five generations of his family, including his grandmother, mother, daughter and granddaughters, still live in Davie. Her great-grandmother opened one of the first black churches, and her grandfather, Clifton Cockerham, was one of the first black business owners.
From now on, she will be the first black member of Mocksville city council. Her grandmother, Eloise Cockerham, proudly held the Bible during her swearing-in ceremony.
She hopes her election will encourage other people of color to run for municipal elections.
“I want young people, whether black, white, Hispanic or Asian, anyone, to know that they can be who they want to be.”
She plans to apply the lessons learned from her grandfather to her role as a board member:
• if you befriend people, they will befriend you;
• unconditional love; and
• Agree to disagree and know that everything will be fine.
A friendly person who has never met a stranger, she enjoys connecting with people. Although she already knows a lot of people through her upbringing here and her roles as the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) Coordinator at Mocksville Elementary School, Big Brothers Game Support Specialist Big Sisters and minister of the New Life Apostolic Church, Stevenson said she enjoys meeting new people. while campaigning and look forward to continuing to do so while serving on city council.
“I am a listener. I take it in my own hands, I pray about it, and then I make a decision. Everything I do is because of Him. I want him to guide me to be what I should be for the city. It will be an honor and a privilege to be able to represent the people of this community and truly hear their concerns, and then, with the Lord’s direction, to vote for what is best for the community as a whole.
Stevenson said she loves the city and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but there’s always room for improvement. Two of its priorities include developing affordable family housing and growing the city while retaining its small town feel.
One of the barriers the city continues to face is affordable housing for families, she said. She told of her daughter Maleia’s struggle to find a home.
“Statistics for 2019 have shown that our median income for a couple is around $ 43,000, and it’s around $ 23,000 for an individual, so they can’t afford a $ 250,000 house. I would love to see our city planning to create affordable single family housing for people who already live here and those who are moving in.
“I want us to continue to grow and diversify. I want the students who go to school to want to come back here to live, work and raise a family because we have so much to offer.
Lambert moved to Mocksville three decades ago from Ohio and quickly fell in love with its small town charm. “A gentle spirit of community sweeps across the region, and it is unlike anywhere else. This makes Mocksville a true gem of the South.
He and his wife, Kim, raised their three children, Jacob, Hayley and Allison, and own a business here, Lambert Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
Committed to giving back to the community he loves, Lambert has served on numerous boards of directors, including the Davie County School Board, the Davie YMCA, the Chamber of Commerce and United Way. Now that his children are adults, he felt he had time to commit to serving on city council.
He pointed out that Mocksville offers a first-class education system, world-class health care, beautiful parks, a community arts center, a vibrant downtown and dedicated citizens. But for all the good, he thinks the city should still climb to the top.
He would like to focus on infrastructure and continued economic growth. “We have experienced good economic growth and should continue to look for industries to increase the high employment rate we have in the county. “
With this growth and the changes it will bring, he believes the city will need strong leaders with good business acumen, transparency and good core values ​​to ensure Mocksville is moving in the right direction.
“I look forward to working with our General Manager (Ken Gamble) to pursue his vision for the community and enable him, with his knowledge, to build on the great things the city already has. “
He is committed to helping Gamble and the Board of Directors make sound decisions that are fiscally responsible and benefit the whole city.
“I think we need to continue to maintain a strong fund balance while meeting the many needs of the community, including daily budgetary requirements for departmental operations as well as additional capital improvements as they arise. are presented.
“I think there are so many great things going on in the community in terms of retail and businesses and homes that will soon be under construction in the Country Lane area. I would like the downtown core to continue to flourish and more businesses to be built on Depot and the surrounding streets. It will be important to continue our journey while maintaining our roots in our hometown. I want Mocksville to continue to be a destination for people to visit and also live, work and play.
Frye has dedicated his life to serving the residents of Mocksville and Davie County. He spent 33 years with Davie County EMS and Davie County Emergency Management before retiring as director, but continued to serve the county for other purposes.
He previously served on Mocksville City Council and the Davie County Board of Commissioners. He has received numerous awards for his services, including the Order of the Longleaf Pine.
Frye was born and raised in Davie County to a family of 12, who still live in the county. He and his wife Diethilde (Dee) have lived on Oak Street for 52 years, where they raised their three sons, John, Steven and Lester.
He takes pride in the town and its friendly atmosphere and said it has done a great job of developing downtown and making Mocksville attractive to new businesses and residents. However, for this growth to continue, he believes the city must focus on its aging infrastructure, especially the sewer and water systems.
Frye is eager to use his conservative, common-sense approach to decision-making and his experience in local, state, and federal governments to help Mocksville continue to move in a positive direction. “As a permanent resident, I can contribute by sharing my experiences and representing the citizens of Mocksville. The growth of our community must be accompanied by wisdom, understanding and knowledge of our current strengths and weaknesses.
“I am proud and honored to serve the citizens of Mocksville and Davie County. We have a good city manager, a good mayor and a good board of directors who will work as a team to meet the needs of the citizens of Mocksville and move the city forward in the right direction.
Gamble believes these new board members will be an asset to the city and looks forward to working with them.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the community alongside such a diverse, passionate and committed mayor and board of directors. I look forward to working with Commissioners Frye, Lambert and Stevenson to address the many challenges our community faces.

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