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Mary Jo Adams

Title: Council Member

Municipality: City of Laurinburg

Position Interested In: District Representative - District 7 or Elected Official At-Large

Tell us why you would like to serve in a leadership position at the League. In particular, specify goals you would like to accomplish as an officer or board member and indicate how, if attained, they will help to achieve Vision 2030 – the League’s future vision of how cities and towns will operate in 2030.

When considering whether to seek a position as a board member for the League of Municipalities, two separate experiences guided my thoughts.  I thought of my service as an alternate delegate to the NC Association of Regional Council of Governments Forum and the League/School of Government course offering for newly elected leaders, reelected leaders, and ethics training.  

Attending the NCARCOG Forum meetings and serving on the nominating committee has provided me with the opportunity to connect with elected officials from across the state, to participate in legislative days to meet with legislators regarding issues that not only impact my region, but the entire state, and to further develop my knowledge of initiatives and resources such as the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission. 
I attended the course for newly elected officials after my election in 2011 and attended each time I have been reelected.  The difference for me this year was the location.  I attended the course offering in Asheville which gave me the opportunity to meet and hear from leaders from a part of the state with different geographic considerations but many of the same issues facing us in the southeast region. 

These experiences broadened my thinking about my future role serving the citizens of Laurinburg, our region, and the state, which led to my decision to apply for the District 7 seat and the At Large seat.  I feel that I can make a difference on the state level.  I am aware of the challenges facing municipalities of all sizes and understand that partnerships are key for economic success, infrastructure needs, and that planning for the future may include some form of regionalization. 
My history of bringing people together to achieve common goals, my diverse experiences, and my passion for local government will be a benefit to the League.  I have a good relationship with our local and state leaders and do not mind asking for consideration of policy and budget items that positively impact our municipalities.  My goal as a League board member is to work together to ensure that cities of all sizes are offered opportunities through the League to face key challenges, made aware of the guideposts of where we should all be by 2030, and develop relationships that will help in the implementation of Vision 2030.

Tell us about your experience as a municipal official. You may want to include information on your service on the municipal governing body, other related boards and special areas of interest.

I was elected to the Laurinburg City Council in November 2011, re-elected in 2015, 2019, and 2023; and, served as Mayor Pro Tem.   Laurinburg has a Council-Manager form of government, with five nonpartisan council members, and a Mayor who votes only in the case of a tie.  The Council appointed me to the Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission in 2015 and to the Lumber River Council of Governments in 2016.
As a member of the LRCOG, I led the development of the COG’s first strategic plan and the construction of a low-income housing complex while responding to the COVID 19 pandemic. We began our strategic plan in February 2020, just before everything shut down in March. Working closely with the School of Government and the COG staff we were able to adjust our timeline, participate through zoom, and complete the plan. The strategic plan resulted in an increase in dues across the region, succession planning, and an action plan to address the financial and personnel challenges the COG will face in the coming years.  The Scotland County Commissioners appointed me to the Lumber River Rural Transportation Organization Transportation Advisory Committee, to represent our county municipalities.  I currently serve as Vice Chairman.  It is vitally important for municipalities to have a voice in planning for all transportation modalities including bicycle, pedestrian, rail, air, streets, roads, and highways. Of major importance to the City of Laurinburg is the planning for the future Interstate 74, which will bring more economic development opportunities to our city, county, and region.


The Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission was dissolved by legislation in December 2020. The Mayor of Laurinburg appointed me to the newly created Southeastern Regional Airport Authority beginning January 1, 2021. I have served as Vice Chairman, co-leading the Authority through a variety of challenges including the hiring of an executive director, the acquisition of the Fixed Base Operation, the planning for a 2,000 square foot runway extension, taxiway improvements, water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, and improving the customer experience at the airport.  This process involved working closely (and continuing to work closely) with our state legislators, the DOT, Division of Aviation, Division of Highways, and local governments. 

My interest as a member of Council has always been to provide the best services for our citizens, engage our citizens in our community challenges and successes, while maintaining a low tax rate. During my tenure on council, we became a member of the Main Street program, retail development has exploded--Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, to name a few, have located in our city.  We survived two devastating hurricanes and the COVID 19 pandemic.

Tell us about your educational background, professional experience, and/or community or civic activities. 

I received a BS degree from East Carolina University, a Master of Education from Campbell University, and additional certifications through the University Of North Carolina at Pembroke-Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum.  My career includes working as a Juvenile Court Counselor, an elementary and middle school Guidance Counselor, elementary, middle, and high school Assistant Principal, elementary Principal, and high school Dean of Students.
As a member of the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees, I served on the Budget and Finance, Building and Grounds, Student and Academic Affairs, and Search committees.
Throughout my career and during my tenure on council, I have participated in courses, workshops, and conferences to further my knowledge and understanding, and to increase my ability to make informed decisions.  I have also learned that working together and building partnerships locally, regionally, and statewide is the best way to provide resources and opportunities for our citizens.  

My community/civic experience includes volunteering with Hospice, Rotary Club, Scotland Family Counseling Center Silent Samaritan Society fundraising, and founding member of Scots for Youth.

Read resume

Have You Participated in Any NCLM Events or Committees? 

  • CityVision Annual Conference

  • Town & State Dinner or Town Hall Days

  • Regional Meetings

  • Legislative Lobby Days

Please provide any other information you would like the Nominations Committee to consider.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my nomination to be a representative on the Board of Directors of the NC League of Municipalities.

Please review my resume and consider my letters of support.

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