The chief of the Cleveland Fire Department tossed his hat in the ring Thursday afternoon for a seat on the Johnston County Board of Commissioners.
Fire Chief Chris Ellington was joined by his family as he turned in the paperwork at the Johnston County Board of Elections Office and paid his filing fee.
“This is a very important time for the citizens of Johnston County and I am excited to be part of this as we educate our kids, provide public safety, and apply true conservative values for every tax dollar,” Ellington told WTSB News.
“Our county is facing growth at an extremely rapid rate and we will face obstacles in the years to come. As a native of Johnston County and an active leader of my community I strive to improve the quality of life for the citizens I serve. It is very important that we address these topics, and do so with a conservative mindset. Ensuring the tax payer dollars are spent wisely is priority number one.”
Prior to becoming the full time fire chief of the Cleveland Fire Department, Ellington was an employee of Johnston County Schools for ten years.
He grew up in the Cleveland community and resides there today with his wife Tasha of 14 years and their son Parker, 11.
Ellington has taken an active role in his community for many years. He has been a member of the Cleveland Fire Department for 19 years and has served as Chief for the last 12 of those years. Currently he serves on the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as the Vice Chair. He also serves as Chairperson of Celebrate Cleveland, the communities Independence Day Celebration which attracts thousands of residence each year. He has served as President of the Johnston County Fire Chief Association and served on the Johnston County EMS Advisory Board.
Ellington’s leadership in the community has not gone unnoticed over the years. He was the recipient of the Celebrate Cleveland Firefighter of the year in 2003, Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Man of The Year award in 2015, and the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year in 2017.
Ellington is seeking the District 5 seat which has been held for the last 6 terms by Cookie Pope. She announced last month she would not seek re-election
“Mrs. Pope has faithfully served our County for 24 years and my goal is to lead with the same compassion and dedication as she did,” Ellington said Thursday. “I feel my experience, commitment and passion for this County qualifies me to represent this district and all of Johnston County.”
Ellington will challenge former Smithfield Fire Chief Patrick Harris in the May 8th Primary. The filing period for this seat and others up for election in 2018 remains open through Noon, Wednesday, Feb. 28th.