Forum introduces Martin County candidates to community

MARTIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Martin County residents, school board candidates and county commissioner candidates all came together Monday for a forum.

While candidates for county commissioner and the school board were there, a large portion of the focus was on the sheriff’s race between Martin County Sheriff Democrat Tim Manning and his opponent unaffiliated Marvin Hilliard.

Manning has been sheriff for the past five years and said his main goal if re-elected is to better protect children from online bullying.

“We’ve gotten a ICAT grant, which is Internet Crimes Against Children,” Manning said. “We’re going to start trying to solve some crimes because kids get bullied online. We have a lot of bullying in the schools, and we just want to tone that down some.”

Manning’s opponent, Marvin Hilliard, who was born and raised in Martin County, currently serves as sergeant at Scotland Neck Police Department. He said the election process has been trying, however support from loved ones has helped him push forward.

“The last couple of months it’s been a journey, from my signs being broken and stealing my signs,” Hilliard said. “But my family and the church have been behind me, praying for me, and I do know that God is providing.”

The forum gave residents the chance to hear from both candidates, and they each touched on some of their plans if elected.

“When I started being sheriff, yes, it was shocking to start with, but now that I’ve been sheriff, I’ve settled into my job,” Manning said. “I know what to do as sheriff. I’m going to continue to fight hard for the community. Using these opioid funds that we’re about to get and just trying to combat some of these drugs in the community.”

Hilliard said he’ll bring better overall assets to the community if appointed sheriff.

“You will see an improvement for Martin County Sheriff’s Office. You will see better equipment; you will see programs for our youth, for our senior citizens, and for our community,” Hilliard said. “Laws have been changing constantly, and our citizens deserve to know. I’ll have transparency.”

Although Election Day is in 15 days, both candidates tell WITN that every day leading up matters because they never know who they’re impacting.

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