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Dixon sworn in as Pitt County district attorney

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Faris Dixon Jr. places his hand on the Bible as he takes oath in office as Pitt County's first African American district attorney, Friday, Jan. 4.

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Friday, January 4, 2019

Pitt County’s new district attorney vowed a fresh start for his office as he participated in a swearing-in ceremony on Friday afternoon.

Faris Dixon, who became the country’s first African-American DA, took his oath of office at the Pitt County Courthouse surrounded by hundreds of friends and colleagues as well as family members.

Dixon described the long road he traveled before winning the district attorney’s job in last November’s election.

He was raised by a single mother, and while he aspired to attend Duke University Dixon thought studying at the private school for his undergraduate degree was nothing but a lofty dream.

But his mother pushed him to study hard, pray and served as his rock who made it possible for him to achieve one of many dreams, Dixon said. 

“When my mom and I went to find out about Duke, at that time, back in 1984, it was about $15,000 a year,” Dixon said. “And for a single-parent family, I didn’t see a way to make that happen. Her response to me was, ‘You don’t worry about it. You worry about the grades and I’ll worry about the rest,’” he said.

Dixon also highlighted several mentors who helped him through the years and said that being a district attorney is not something that anyone does alone. 

“Community cannot exist without unity,” he said. “We are this court system. It doesn’t work without the citizens of Pitt County. This isn’t just about me.

“I want to improve the district attorney’s office,” Dixon said. “It’s a new start and let’s make things better as we move forward.”

Dixon said it was not his idea to run, but his daughter wanted him to pursue the position because she believed in him and thought he could bring about change to Pitt County.  

“After much thought and prayer,” Dixon said he agreed, knowing the race for DA would be an uphill battle.  

“We made a decision together and understood the sacrifice it was going to be. All the struggles I had (were not) just my struggles,” he said. 

Dixon made a point to thank all those who made his campaign a success. 

“There are a lot of people here who supported me and I want to thank you,” Dixon said. 

He said he wants to get input from many individuals as he strives to be a DA for all the people. 

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Marvin Blount lauded Dixon and affirmed his confidence that Dixon will bring diversity and perspective to the office. 

“Faris is going to do a good job,” Blount said. “He’s got a difficult job to do, but … he’s going to bring perspective to this office and to our system and I know that he’s going to have an office of principles, of hard work, professionalism and building relationships.”

Blount spoke of how Pitt County is making progress when it comes to race and gender.  

“Over the past three years, it’s been a privilege of mine and an honor to be part of what I believe is the progress Pitt County has made regarding diversity in this court,” Blount said. “We had our first female district court judge, Gwynett Hilburn, our first African-American judge, Wendy Hazleton and we’ve had our first Hispanic judge, Judge Mario Perez.

“We have our first African-American sheriff, who is the only African-American female sheriff in the state,” Blount said. “We all know these are dedicated public servants and they’re not defined by their race or their sex. They bring perspective and diversity in our system which is something we all need.”

Dixon noted that his staff is diverse, as he has a mixture of seasoned veterans and rookies who are eager to learn the ropes.  

“To my staff, when you build a district attorney’s office you have to have a balance of youth and energy and experience,” he said. “And I think I have a good balance here and we intend to do a good job for Pitt County.”

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