14 new candidates in last week of qualifying period
Friday marked the end of the qualifying period for county elections. In the last week, 14 new qualifiers filed their paperwork.
With the closing of the qualifying period, some offices will face no opposition. Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop, Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield, County Surveyor Joe W. Byrd, Coroner Clay McMorris, District 1 Supervisor Jerry Wilson, District 4 Supervisor C.E. “Eddie” Brown and Justice Court Judge Post 1 Joe Portrey. All those who face no opponents currently hold the position they are seeking.
Constable, Post 1
Tony James (R) qualified Friday but could not be reached.
Constable, Post 2
Randy Belcher (D) currently serves as Ward 1 Alderman. However, he is looking to get back into the law enforcement game.
Before being elected to the Board of Aldermen, Belcher had 15-year law enforcement career. During his time with the Sheriff’s Office, Belcher said he was able to work with many of the people he would have to as constable. Furthermore, his time serving as alderman has given him experience with working with people.
“It’s a whole total package,” he said. “I will work with the people. I will be fair with all people regardless of who you are.”
Kirby Ebbers (R) qualified Friday but could not be reached
James D. Martin (D) has been a longtime resident of Lincoln County. From 1986 to 1996 he worked as a volunteer fire fighter and since then works as a paramedic. Martin said he believes his long time work in those service industries will help him be a courteous professional when it comes to working as Constable for Post 2 within the county.
“I care about the people of the county,” Martin said as motivation for running for the position. He said he just wants to do a good job for the people of the county.
Martin said working as a volunteer fire fighter and paramedic is what he truly believes the Lord led him to do and hopes to continue such service as constable.
Joe W. Byrd (D) qualified Wednesday but was not able to be reached. Byrd currently serves as the County Surveyor.
Justice Court Judge, Post 2
Roger Martin (R) is seeking to serve as Justice Court to impact lives in the community.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and wanted to try again,” Martin said, who lost in a run-off last election.
Martin said his priority would be to slow the court system down.
“I want to give everyone a fair shake in court,” he said.
Martin said he would work to help break the cycle offenders may get stuck in. He gave an example of someone who lost their license because the offender has past due fines. Without a license, the person may not be able to get a job. Without a job, the person cannot pay off his fines. Martin said he will work to help these people find other avenues to work off the fines.
Carl Brown (D) has spent over 31 years in law enforcement and said he believes that experience has prepared him to serve as justice court judge.
Brown is a retired state trooper after 23.5 years and has served as a Chancery Court bailiff for eight years. He also served in the military for three years, including one year overseas.
“I look at it like a challenge,” he said. “I’m here to meet that challenge.”
Brown said his priority in office would be to remain fair and impartial and to work with the youth. Brown said his goal would be to help turn youth’s lives around and to work to prevent the youth from getting in trouble to begin with.
“Sometimes you have to be in authority to be able to help,” he said.
Superintendent of Education
Mickey Myers (D) said the decision to run for superintendent was a gut-wrenching decision because of his respect for Jason Case of West Lincoln Attendance Center who is also running for the position. However, Myers said he saw the position as a platform to give back to the community who gave so much to him when he lost his wife to cancer.
A 32-year veteran of the Lincoln County School District, Myers is product of the district and has served as a teacher, coach, bus driver, assistant principal and principal, a title, which he currently holds at Bogue Chitto Attendance Center.
Myers said he’s an advocate for children. He said he knows every child at his school by name and knows their parents and grandparents as well. He said this knowledge is important because kids need to know they’re valued and it helps with discipline, motivation and maximizing students’ potential.
“I’m not running against Jason Case, I’m running for superintendent,” Myers said. He said that the people have two options, and he hopes whoever wins will be able to build on the work of current superintendent Terry Brister and his predecessors.
“We’re blessed to have the school system we have,” Myers said, “and I want to work to make what we have even better.”
Supervisor, District 2
Howard Whittington (R) qualified on Friday. Due to an illness, he asked to discuss his campaign at a later date.
Supervisor, District 5
Donald E. Case (R) said if he were elected he would work to bring in industry to the area.
“I feel like we need somebody in there with a little education,” he said.
Case is a retired school teacher and said he believes his college education would allow him to make smart business decisions.
Case also said he will work to create good working relationship with the other board members, so that they collectively can help Lincoln County together.
Ronald Durr (D) sees being present in the community and listening to the people of his district is the key to gaining insight into the areas that need help when being Supervisor for District 5.
“We’ve got an excellent county and excellent district,” Durr said. He said he has been a longtime resident of Lincoln County and District 5. Durr said he has worked in the county for 17 years in waste management and has been able to travel across the whole county and see all areas of the county. Those years of knowledge about the roads in the county and more specifically District 5, he feels, lead him to his main concern about the roads in his district.
“I’ve never been in public office and this will be a new venture for me,” Durr said. However, he said he is looking forward to getting out and talking to people, finding out everybody’s different needs and wants then applying that insight into the job.
Durr said his goals for the position is to bring the roads that the district has to a level that makes travel better than how it currently is and helping to present the county as a model county for the state.
Gary Walker (D) looks to the position of Supervisor for District 5 as an avenue to try to help everybody in the best way he can. Walker previously served in the position as supervisor for his district from 2000 to 2012 and wants to return to help the people.
“I want to strive to keep district 5 moving ahead and bringing jobs into Lincoln County,” Walker said. He said he’s had experience with roadwork since 1982, and he likes just getting to meet and know all the people in his district.
Some of the goals Walker would like to accomplish while in office would be working on paving and repaving roads and improving bridges in his district.
David Britt (R) said he wants to pick up where current supervisor Dudley Nations will leave off and keep the roads maintained like they should be.
“I’m running for the people, not the position,” Britt said. “If I’m elected they are the ones that will be hiring me.”
Britt said he’ll be bringing a common sense approach to the job. Some of the needs he sees in the district besides maintaining roads involve drainage problems, bad curves in the county and other different things he’s noticed.
One of the larger goals Britt has for the position involves having a community meeting every three to six months to gain insight from the people in the areas he’ll be working for. He said he wants to work together with the community as a group rather then he working alone as supervisor. He said his experience as a supervisor at Sanderson Farms for 13 years and constantly being in positions of management provides him with the knowledge to do the best job he can as Supervisor for District 5.
Blake Pickering (R) thinks a lot can be done with office of tax collector and assessor and believes he can be the candidate to accomplish those things.
Pickering said he’s a people person and believes that if you’re going to have a public office that you must be present, be there and have your door open. He said that’s what he’s looking forward to. He said he’d approach the position through the scope of approximately six years working as an accountant for the Lincoln County School District.
Some of Pickering’s goals for the office are improving the efficiency of the office for the people to improve people’s experience in the office, bring industry to the county and work on bringing down taxes.
“I know there’s only so much I can do as tax collector,” Pickering said. “But I’m willing to get in there and see what we can do. I want to work to make tax paying as painless as possible because it’s already painful enough.”
Pickering was born and raised in the area having gone to school West Lincoln Attendance Center. He said he has a young family here, which includes his wife and six month old daughter.
“At some point people have to step in and do their part,” Pickering said.