Robert Cayton is a North Carolina native who has served as a Democratic Beaufort County commissioner for the past nine years.

Robert Cayton is a North Carolina native who has served as a Democratic Beaufort County commissioner for the past nine years.

The Pamlico County preacher who lives in Aurora said he sees jobs, education, and ferry tolls as issues of concern to N.C. House District 3 voters, as well as continued state support for the "military and agriculture, the economic engines that drive this state and region."

Cayton said he will represent small business in eastern North Carolina by speaking up for them in Raleigh to be treated fairly in insurance matters and other regulation.

He sought a state house seat in 1998 unsuccessfully but has remained involved in regional matters affected by state policy through his service as a commissioner and on assorted regional boards including the N.C. Association of Community College Trustees.

The new district includes parts of Craven, Pamlico and Beaufort counties and he said they are mostly affected by the same state issues and would join in a bipartisan coalition to make sure they got fair treatment.

"Folks in eastern North Carolina do have some things that are different from other parts of the state and some of those areas donít realize," he said. "We have a different agenda and I will be a strong voice that will stand up for the region.

"My record speaks for itself on my ability to compromise. I work on a board of commissioners with seven members ó three Democrats and five Republicans ó and we have been able to work together to bring solutions to help the county."

"Last year I was vice chairman," he said. "When you begin to work on problems, itís not Democrat or Republican; itís whatís best for the region - where you are and how you can get to where you want to be."

He is for a strong transportation system and opposes ferry tolls.

"Students need to graduate and be prepared to go to community college, work or university, but if they canít even read, even technical work canít be mastered," Cayton said. "Education is not just being able to go through 12 years; itís to be able to go to the next level.

"Better education translates into better jobs," he said, and with "the historic sites we have ó all three counties have historic sites, museums, or heritage sites ó they need to also know history to be part of the tourism jobs. You canít move into the future unless you understand where you come from."

Cayton said he sees agriculture and agri-tourism as ways to "lead us out of recession."

"I have always been in favor of present-use value," he said. He also supports deferred sales tax on farm goods including fertilizer, fuel used in the field and seed. "It gives our farmers an opportunity to be more competitive in the foreign market ... to give agro-industry mobility and momentum."

Cayton said his experience has given him more understanding.

"The tenants donít change but you gain more insight. You bring solutions as you work with people with other positions," he said.