DOBSON — With an unanimous vote and little discussion, the Surry County Board of Commissioners appointed Larry Phillips to fill the seat of the late Commissioner Garry Scearce last night.
The action came as the board reconvened its Aug. 20 meeting in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room at the Surry County Government Center in Dobson.
While it was not legally required to do so, the board followed the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Surry County Republican Party.
Prior to a vote on the appointment, Dan Kiger, chairman of the county Republican Party, told the board that Phillips would serve diligently.
“The Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Surry County has met several times and completed very professional and very diligent work trying to find the person to fill the position, and it’s with great pleasure that we recommend Larry Phillips for the seat,” he said. “We feel (Phillips) far exceeds the qualities required for the position.”
In making the motion to appoint Phillips, Commissioner Paul Johnson said he was “honored” to recommend Phillips.
“It’s with great dignity and pleasure that I’d like to nominate my friend Larry Phillips as the replacement for Garry Scearce’s seat on the Board of County Commissioners,” he said.
With a second by Commissioner Eddie Harris, and no further discussion, the appointment passed unanimously to the obvious delight of the crowd in attendance, who applauded the move.
Phillips said that as a private citizen he has been contemplating seeking elected office for some time.
“I’m privileged to be appointed to represent the interests of every citizen of the county,” he said. “You commissioners embarked on a journey almost two years ago with Garry that ended far too soon. So tonight I want to honor his legacy by saying ‘let’s finish the job’ that he so dedicated himself to.”
Phillips serves as the senior pastor of Midway Baptist Church, a position he’s held since 1989.
He has been married to county native Melinda Gay Johnson since 1977. The couple have two children, Andrea and Darren.
In attendance for the appointment was Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran, who called Phillips an “honorable and dedicated man.”
“Larry isn’t just going to fill an empty seat,” she said. “He’s a man with a brilliant mind and the county is fortunate to have him.”
Phillips will fill the seat until Dec. 4.
He is the Republican Party’s presumptive candidate to run against the Democratic Party’s candidate in November.
The county board will officially swear him in next Tuesday, when it meets for its regular monthly meeting.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719.1929.