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Update: Incumbent mayor of White Lake faces newcomer to the election race

By: Charlotte Smith

The Bladen County Board of Elections released new candidate filings. On July 16 White Lake resident Gray Evans Marshburn filed for the mayor of White Lake Election.

Marshburn will be running for mayor challenging incumbent Mayor Goldston Womble.

Mayor Womble, who is also an attorney, said he has held his position as mayor of the Town of White Lake for 35 years. He has faced challenges in past elections, but says he feels fine with this election.

According to Womble his plan as mayor is to continue to work on fixing the water issues at White Lake.

Mr. Marshburn returned our inquiries with an email statement and a brochure. Mr. Marshburn stated, “I have been a resident and businessman at the lake for over 5-decades.”

He then claimed, “The Mayor of White Lake, the town commissioners, the Town Clerk, the Public Works/Zoning Officer were all aware White Lake was diagnosed as being terminally ill in 2013 by NCDNR. No one at White Lake knew that until the last days of 2017. The lake was diagnosed as Eutrophic, (highly enriched with Phosphorous and Nitrogen) twice again in 2014 and twice again in 2015. Each of theses diagnosis were reported to town authorities by the NCDNR.”

He continued with his accusing remarks, “Our Mayor and commissioners suppressed this diagnosis from our citizens until December of 2017. This careless action allowed pollution to contaminate the lake further unabated for years while researchers screamed at them to stop it. They did nothing and worst still, failed to inform this community of approaching disaster that they themselves and been made aware of by experts. At the moment these authorities decided to withhold this data, they violated their oaths, they failed this community. Children were being taken to the hospital with swimming related irritations and could not get a straight answer from town authorities. Town officials had taxpayer funded research in their possession detailing the affliction killing the lake but withheld it, even when asked after trips to the doctor!”

Mr. Marshburn’s statement continued, “I have shared this information with the Assistant Auditor of the State of North Carolina and I intend to lead the endeavor to save this lake from the Mayors’ office. The path to rejuvenation is clear. The reason there had been little progress is because the lake has been allowed to fester for years even after warnings by experts and researchers not to do so! State agencies bungled years of taxpayer research conducted specifically for White Lake that would have started recovery efforts years ago. No one one at White Lake was notified of the years of research clearly identifying the plague that is in the lake now. I can document all of this with names and actions of NCDNR personnel. I only use facts. If someone does not take over the recovery effort it will take lifetimes to save the lake. I take full responsibility for my content.”

You may view Mr. Marshburn’s brochure here: Marshburn’s BULLETS 

A staff member did reach out to Mayor Womble for comments about the accusations from Mr. Marshburn. At this time, Mr. Womble has the information for review and he said he would return our call with a statement as soon as he has been able to review the information.

Bladenboro Commissioner Sara Jane Benson also filed for re-election yesterday, July 16, according to Chris Williams, Interim Assistant Deputy Director of Bladen County Board Of Elections’ report.

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