Seven times as many turn out for Berger


State Sen. Doug Berger addresses a crowd of more than 30 people inside the Vance County commissioners' boardroom Thursday night.
State Sen. Doug Berger addresses a crowd of
more than 30 people inside the Vance County
commissioners’ boardroom Thursday night.

Vance County turned out in much better numbers Thursday night for state Sen. Doug Berger’s second town-hall meeting at the old county courthouse on Young Street.

About 35 people came and went over the course of a meeting that lasted nearly two hours. Those in attendance included Henderson City Council members Lonnie Davis and Mary Emma Evans, City Manager Eric Williams, Vance County Commissioner Eddie Wright, Vance Coalition Against Violence officers Elnora O’Hara and Evelyn Mitchell, library director Jeanne Fox, Fire Chief Danny Wilkerson, lawyer Nick Long, Board of Education member Margaret Ellis, schools Finance Director Rudi Ligon, the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Government’s Rick Seekins, City Council candidate Garry Daeke, and Henderson-Vance Economic Partnership Chairman-to-be Bob Fleming.

By contrast, Berger drew five people when he visited May 18, and two of them were reporters. Those two reporters were the only people who attended both meetings.

Berger took the blame for the poor turnout two months ago. The Youngsville Democrat said his office failed to promote the event in the media. But he learned his lesson this time and got publicity in The Daily Dispatch, on WIZS-AM (1450) and on HomeinHenderson.com, where the senator occasionally posts comments.

Berger said such town-hall meetings are a new thing for legislators in this area, but he expects people to get used to them as he makes them a regular part of his representation of Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties.

“I feel like it’s been very helpful for me to know what kind of things to be arguing in Raleigh, and also I’ve been able to give my constituents at home a concept of how the process is working,” Berger said.

Several audience members complimented Berger for holding the public meetings. Williams did so three times.

“Keep working hard for Vance County,” the city manager said, specifying education, economic development and crime as the key issues. “Your constituents are very appreciative.”