Durham commissioner Howerton makes history this Saturday

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This weekend, Brenda Howerton will become president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners.

Durham residents will see Brenda Howerton as they have never seen her before.

This weekend, Howerton will become president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. She will be the first person ever from the Bull City to hold the title.

"This feels fabulous!" Howerton joked.

All joking aside, it's exciting and humbling for the single mother of four who was elected this year by 500 county commissioners statewide to lead the 109-year-old organization.


It's an unlikely role for the former farm girl, who became a politician and advocate out of her own personal tragedy.

In the 1990s, Howerton lost her oldest and youngest son to gun violence.

Lamont, a student at Hampton University, was shot and killed while hosting an off-campus event. Her son, Darryl, a student at NC A&T University, was shot and killed by Greensboro police.

"It was only God's grace, because when I wanted to drive the car off the side of the road and end the pain, the other side of my brain said you can drive it off if you want, but you are not going to die because you've got work to do," Howerton said. "So I switched to there's a lot of children and young people in Durham County that I can fight for, and that's when it really got serious for me to get involved as a county commissioner."


In 2008, Howerton was elected as Durham County Commissioner, and she is serving her third term. Her constituents and colleagues have dubbed her the people's commissioner because of her community activism, passion and heart to better Durham.

"She is often time a quiet presence, but that presence is like a quiet storm," said Durham County Manager Wendell Davis.

Howerton's message to people inspired by her story is to believe in themselves and work hard.

"We are so proud of her," said Shelly Green, of the Durham Convention and Visitor's Bureau. "We just think she's the best."


It's excellence she hopes to bring as President of the NCACC. On Saturday, after her swearing-in, she will announce her platform, which will become the agenda for the state organization.

"My mission for the next year will be about our children," Howerton said. "It's about early education - creating the space for our children to grow, thrive and be the best that they can be."

NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard released the following statement regarding Commissioner Howerton's role as incoming President:

"Our Association is set to celebrate county government in Durham this week, as we bring together 500 locally elected officials for our 110th Annual Conference. As part of the conference, Commissioner Brenda Howerton of Durham County will be sworn in as our Association President. We are very excited to have her lead this organization, bringing us to new heights over the next year. President-Elect Howerton is already working to lay the foundation for a tremendous year and we are thrilled to congratulate her on her new role."

Howerton will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Durham Convention Center.
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