McInnis: ‘I’m gonna do my best’

Ellerbe native, Republican sworn in as 25th District senator

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ELLERBE — Tom McInnis opted for the friendly and familiar confines of Ellerbe Middle School in place of a packed house as he was sworn in Saturday morning as North Carolina’s senator for 25th District.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com With his left hand on a Bible given to his grandfather in 1884, Tom McInnis raises his right hand and takes the oath of office to become state senator for the 25th District. Stanly County Clerk of Court Mike E. Honeycutt administered the oath while McInnis' wife, Janice Russell-Mcinnes, stood at his side.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
With his left hand on a Bible given to his grandfather John Alexander McInnis in 1884, Tom McInnis raises his right hand and takes the oath of office to become state senator for the 25th District. Stanly County Clerk of Court Mike E. Honeycutt administered the oath while McInnis’ daughter, Mary Anne Meacham, stood at his side.

McInnis, of Ellerbe, won 50.4 percent of the vote to oust one-term incumbent and former Rockingham mayor Gene McLaurin, a Democrat, from the senate seat. McInnis garnered 28,496 votes to McLaurin’s 26,632 (47.1 percent). Libertarian P.H. Dawkins, of Hamlet, tallied 2.5 percent (1,412 votes).

The audience was decidedly a districtwide event instead of a Richmond County-centric makeup. That fact reflected the local election results. While McInnis carried a slim majority in the general election, McLaurin owned Richmond County by garnering 61.56 percent of the votes cast.

The 40-minute ceremony inside Ellerbe Middle School, formerly Ellerbe Junior High, was a place for which McInnis has strong affection. He was a member of the last graduating class of Ellerbe High School in 1972, and his mother was an educator there for nearly 40 years.

Honoring the past even further, McInnis had Sarah Robbins, his first grade teacher, seated in the second row of dignitaries and VIPs.

The auditorium has a capacity of more than 500, but an unofficial headcount head the room had about 20 percent full for the ceremony. The audience included past and present Richmond County Board of Education members, including Wiley Mabe, Jerry Ethridge and Pam Easterling, along with Ellerbe Mayor Lee Berry, Ellerbe Councilwoman Jean Fletcher, Scotland County Sheriff Ralph Kersey and several others.

The North Carolina General Assembly's website already has the change in office to Tom McInnis from Gene McLaurin. The website is http://www.ncga.state.nc.us.

The North Carolina General Assembly’s website already has the change in office to Tom McInnis from Gene McLaurin. The website is http://www.ncga.state.nc.us.

State Rep. Carl Ford, (R-76), who represents Cabarrus and Rowan counties, provided the words of welcome and Rev. Alexis Perakis, of McDonald Baptist Church in Rockingham gave the invocation.

Perakis said of McInnis that “he’ll take a stand” in Raleigh and in today’s political climate, “that’s hard to do.”

After the Pledge of Allegiance led by Kersey and the presentation of colors by members of Cub Scout Pack 530, of Peachland, Easterling led the group in the singing of the national anthem.

Ford spoke of the important of the oath, and noted that while he’d met McInnis only a year ago, his father knew McInnis a lot longer.

“My dad said he was a good guy, and that was good enough for me,” Ford said.

Stanly County Clerk of Court Mike E. Honeycutt administered the oath of office to McInnis, who has spent much of his time since the Nov. 4 general election meeting with key stakeholders from across the district that includes Anson, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland and Stanly counties.

After the swearing-in, the crowd applauded. McInnis acknowledged their favor with three quick bows of the head, then directed them to take their seats. The election is over, said McInnis, who thanks his predecessor Gene McLaurin.

McLaurin, McInnis said, “did a great job as (Rockingham) mayor and he worked hard in the Senate.”

McInnis spoke of the need for a quality education, and pointed towards his eight grandchildren sitting in the front middle rows of the auditorium as reasons why he chose to run for state office. He said it’s time the inequalities between resources of urban and rural school systems cease.

“We have failed in education in North Carolina for a long time,” McInnis said.

He pointed to bastions of hope, such as the state’s exemplary two-year community college system — and the best of the best, McInnis said, that is Richmond Community College President Dr. Dale McInnis, McInnis’ nephew.

Though appointments in Raleigh have not yet been made, McInnis said he’s requested to be on the committees for agriculture, commerce and education.

“I’m gonna do my best,” McInnis said, to represent the district.

Randy McInnis, chief piper for the International Clan McInnis, performed two numbers on the bagpipes to honor Tom McInnis’ Scottish heritage — and that of many others in the room.

Bishop Arrester Simpson, of Sidney Grove Church of Deliverance in Ellerbe, gave the benediction. Rev. Mary Lindsey, of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Derby, gave a prayer in the blessing of the food prior to the group breaking for light refreshments inside the school cafeteria.

 

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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  • Joey DeBerry

    Congratulations Senator McInnis we know you will do us Proud Here in Richmond County and the State of NC,Good Luck

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