Massagee, Watkins join growing field of candidates

By Kevin Spradlin

* July 8: Berry files for re-election
* July 7: Young, Hutchinson among 2015 election hopefuls
* July 7: Lindsey files for Hamlet City Council
Important election deadlines

A real estate agent has added her name to the growing list of candidates for Hamlet City Council in the November municipal election.

Wendy Massagee

Wendy Massagee

Wendy Massagee, of Rice Street, filed the necessary paperwork on Thursday with the Richmond County Board of Elections. Massagee joins fellow challenge David Lindsey and incumbent Johnathan Buie for three open seats on Hamlet’s City Council. Council member Pat Preslar has indicated they won’t seek re-election while <updated 8:53 p.m.> Councilman Tony Clewis said he’s still undecided.  So far, Hamlet Mayor Bill Bayless will run for a second term unopposed.

Massagee, 49, said “it was exciting, but I was nervous” when submitting the paperwork today at the Richmond County Board of Elections with her daughter at her side.

Massagee is a Richmond County native but her family moved across the country — Raleigh, Boston, Atlanta and other places — as it followed her father’s government job. She returned to the area and graduate with a degree in business from UNC-Pembroke.

Massagee acknowledged the city of Hamlet has been in an evolution of sorts over the past two years. She expressed optimism the worst is over.

“I hope everything is just going to move forward and all of that stuff is behind us,” Massagee said. “I hope the council can just work for the city. Somebody’s gotta do it. Maybe I can go in and be the peacemaker.”

Massagee also stressed the importance of having a female voice on the board, lost after Councilwoman Abbie Covington opted not to seek re-election in 2013.

Massagee tied her success on the council — and that of the city’s — to her ability to earn a living as a real estate agent.

“I have a vested interest, because of my job, to make Hamlet as great a place as it can possibly be,” she said. “I want this to be a nice, and attractive community. I want people to move here. It’s critical that people move in. We have an older community and we need new people to move into here.”

Massagee said putting politics aside, the city is a “great small town, a ‘Mayberry-feeling kind of town. You will get to know your neighbors. When I move people into the area, their neighbors come and greet them.”

Massagee is a member of the Hamlet Rotary Club, serves on the Hamlet ABC Board and is a volunteer with Richmond County Animal Advocates.

Cynthia Watkins (formerly Ingram) is seeking re-election. Mayor Kenneth Broadway’s seat is up for grabs, as are the seats for incumbents Watkins, Stephen Cranford and Tonia Collins.

The filing period will close at noon on Friday, July 17.

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