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An Experienced Leader Delivering Results for Our Community
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Shelly is a product of Rocky Mount City Schools, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School and Elizabeth City State University where he obtained his BA degree in History. 

Shelly’s passion for service and the political process drives his work for citizens in our community. He served as an Edgecombe County Commissioner and as a School Board member. While on the School board, he was a plaintiff in the Rocky Mount City Board of Education vs. the Nash County Board of Education. The suit resulted in the merger of the City of Rocky Mount and Nash County School systems. 

Shelly is also a co-founder of the Edgecombe-Nash Political Action Committee and serves as Vice President. His list of community service is extensive. Just to name a few he has served as a Communities in Schools Mentor, Board Chairman for the Twin County Day Reporting Center Advisory Committee, member of the NC Extension Advisory Committee, board member of Eastern Carolina Mediation Center, Edgecombe County Social Services Board, one of the original organizers and board member of Rocky Mount Boys and Girls Club and board member of Down East Partnership for Children. He served as president for Citizens for Economic & Educational Justice, President of NC Association of ABC Boards, and chairman of the Edgecombe County Extension Advisory Council, and currently serves as Chairman of the Edgecombe County ABC Board. 

Shelly was a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s inaugural class of Legislative Health Policy Fellows. 

Shelly received the NAACP Trailblazer Award and was recognized as a Living Legend of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Shelly was elected to the NC House of Representatives and began his service in January 2015. As such, he has made history as the first African American Representative to the NC House of Representatives from Edgecombe County since Reconstruction. NC Representative Dred Wimberly preceded Rep. Willingham in the late 1800s. Rep. Willingham’s committee assignments are Alcoholic Beverage Control, Chairman; Appropriations ; Appropriations-Transpotation; Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform; Rules, Calendar & Operations of the House; State Personnel; Federal Relations and Indian Affairs; Insurance, Vice Chairman; and Oversight and Reform 

Representative Willingham is a member of Metropolitan Baptist Church where he serves as a deacon, sings in the Male Chorus, and is a member of the Senior Usher Board. He and his wife, Alethea, live in Rocky Mount and have two grown children and four grandchildren.


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