State Politics

Five hope to succeed Langdon in NC House District 28

The incumbent

Republican James H. Langdon, a six-term representative, is not seeking re-election, opening the District 28 seat for the first time in more than a decade.

The challengers

Tony Braswell, Greg Dail and Larry Strickland are seeking the Republican nomination. Jimmie Massengill and Patricia Oliver are running for the Democratic nod.

Where the candidates stand

Braswell, who is giving up his seat as chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners to run, says he wants to free a larger percentage of the North Carolina Educational Lottery fund for school construction. He also wants counties to have greater control over their mental health services and for the sales tax to be repealed for service industries.

“Tire shops and beauty shops, the sales tax heavily affects these kinds of small businesses,” Braswell said. “These are often middle-class workers, and the sales tax needs to be repealed for these kinds of service jobs.”

Dail is making his first run for elected office. He says that North Carolina’s gas tax is too high compared with other states in the Southeast and that he isn’t seeing the results on the road.

“The roads are crumbling as you head into Raleigh; they’ve been tearing up the Beltline since 1979,” Dail said.

In education, Dail says, North Carolina could gain from apprentice-type training instead of teaching trades at the community college level. He said introducing job skills earlier in the educational system could help some at-risk students find stable careers after high school.

Strickland leases out farmland and says protecting agriculture as North Carolina’s largest industry would be a priority in office. As chairman of the Johnston County Board of Education, he says, he too often sees where more local control of school systems could improve classrooms. He says he also would address veteran teacher salaries, which he believes impair the effort to recruit new teachers.

“We need to give greater attention to the veteran teachers, who serve as mentors in the classroom,” Strickland said. “I’d like to see them rewarded for their efforts and years of service.”

Massengill says the state, as North Carolina’s largest employer, should look after its workers better. He believes the political divide between the two parties is one of the greatest impediments to progress in the state.

“Last year was one of the longest legislative sessions in state history,” Massengill said. “It’s so easy to find differences than similarities.”

Massengill says he would push for sustainable growth and for Johnston County jobs, as well.

Oliver says she would champion agriculture, education and environmental causes. She says all children should have at least a high-school education and have access to college if they want it. She also wants to see the United States have the largest military in the world.

“We are free people, and we plan to stay free,” Oliver said. “Praise your men and women in the military. They fight to keep you safe.”

Tony Braswell

Age: 71.

Education: Hardbarger’s Business School

Professional experience: Real estate property manager; previously in agribusiness insurance

Political resume: Three terms on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, two years as chairman; two terms as a Pine Level Commissioner; two terms as Pine Level mayor

Family: Married with five children and nine grandchildren; raising 6- and 9-year-old grandchildren with wife, Nobie


Greg Dail

Age: 61

Education: Attended Broward Community College; bachelor’s from N.C. State University in political science

Professional experience: Home services small-business owner

Political resume: First time seeking public office

Family: Wife, Rachel, is a nurse; they have a 19-year-old son, Kieran


Larry Strickland

Age: 60

Education: Associate’s degree in forestry from Wayne County Community College; bachelor’s in business from Atlantic Christian College

Professional experience: Assistant manager of right of way for NCDOT highway division

Political resume: Member of the Johnston County Board of Education since 1998, chairman since 2008; two terms on the Pine Level Board of Commissioners

Family: Daughter Leanna Strickland Williams; son-in-law Kevin Williams; one grandchild


Jimmie Massengill

Age: 48

Education: Studied criminal justice at Wilson Community College

Professional experience: Retired law enforcement officer, having served in the State Highway Patrol, the license and theft office of NCDOT and the Selma Police Department

Political resume: First time seeking public office

Family: Wife Audrey, a registered nurse and high school teacher; a son and daughter in college

Website: Jimmie M. Massengill for NC House Facebook page

Patricia Oliver

Age: 68

Education: High school graduate, two years of study at community college

Professional experience: General contractor

Political resume: First time seeking public office

Family: Husband, Larry