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Republicans prepare for District 2 election

This election year, there are five candidates vying for the District 2 seat at the table of the one body that supervises almost everything in Lincoln County government.

The five-member Board of Supervisors is the pacesetter for county government in Mississippi and is the chief policy-making and administrative body of the county.

According to information from the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, each county is divided into five districts, and each district elects a supervisor who serves a four-year term.

While each supervisor represents his or her own district and may handle some administrative duties in that district, together the members set policy and are expected to look after the good of the county as a whole.

The board can set traffic regulations for county roads and are responsible for hundreds of miles of local highways, roads and bridges. This means construction and maintenance is a large part of a supervisor’s job. However, the power to tax and the power to appropriate and budget funds are the two most significant powers the board exercises, according to the MAS.

The board decides which parts of county government get the most money, and can also borrow money for the county in compliance with various purchasing and administrative laws designed for economical and efficient government.

Lincoln County Board of Supervisors’ meetings are held twice a month on Mondays at 9 a.m. and are open to the public. The next meeting will be May 18.

Of the five candidates for District 2, the three Republicans contending are Don Hodge, Don Smith and Bobby Watts.

Don Hodge has lived in Lincoln County for nearly 45 years and has been a local business owner and farmer for more than 20 years. He currently owns Hodge Pest Control, land for production timber and has been a cattle and poultry farmer.

“As a farmer and business owner for 20-plus years, I am aware of the importance of well-maintained roads and bridges for motorist safety and business travel,” Hodge said.

Hodge said in order for District 2 and Lincoln County as a whole to be competitive for economic improvement and future development, county government must continue using taxpayer dollars for the maximum benefit for the community.

Hodge and his wife, Donna, have two sons, Bailey and Brady, along with daughter-in-law Jessica and grandchild Anna Beth. Hodge is a lifelong member of Fair River Baptist Church where he has served in various positions.

Don Smith has lived in District 2 for the duration of his 28 years of experience in business, management and sales. Of this time, Smith owned his own business for 10 years, was a warehouse manager for 10 years and worked one-on-one with people in sales for eight years.

Smith has served as a local volunteer firefighter for Lincoln County for more than 20 years, mostly at New Sight Volunteer Fire Department, where he now serves as president.

“Being in the fire department has given me the chance to work closely with the community and has given me the knowledge of how to work well with others to get the job done,” Smith said. “Also, being the president has given me experience in leadership in an organization that is vital to our community.”

Smith said he is seeking the supervisor position based on his hard work and determination to help people. He said he believes he can improve District 2 and move the county forward by providing sensible leadership with full accountability by cooperation with the board and city officials.

Smith said his goals include the timely improvement and maintenance of roads and bridges, keeping roadways clean of litter and debris and using taxpayer money wisely.

If elected, Smith said he would work closely with county officials to bring more business and industry to Lincoln County, creating jobs and a stronger county for future generations.

“I [would] work closely with church leaders, volunteer fire department members and local law enforcement to see what we can do to improve our community and keep it safe,” Smith said. “This community is very important to me, and I want to work to keep it safe, clean and moving forward for my family and your family.”

Smith and his wife, Krista, have two sons, Adam and Austin, and a daughter-in-law, Sabrina, and attend New Sight Baptist Church.

Bobby Watts is a lifelong resident of Lincoln County who served three consecutive terms as supervisor of District 2 until 2011.

Watts said he believes his extensive experience qualifies him to serve again.

“Being supervisor of District 2 is a special job for me,” Watts said. “I’ve been there 12 years, and I have a lot of experience in the field of being a supervisor. I’m the type of man that gives that job all the strength in his power to run it like it’s supposed to be, and I’ll stay with it constantly.

“I was there 12 years, and I never took a weekend off or a vacation,” Watts said. “I don’t care about vacations – I love my work.”

Watts said he believes in giving the board’s support to the community college, the library and the Chamber of Commerce.

“The roads that we’re on now, to me, [are] not adequate for our modern homes out in the county,” Watts said. “And our churches, our school buses, our log trucks and our cattle trucks.”

Watts said his goals in office include starting a program to make roads in Lincoln County the best in Mississippi.

“Lincoln County has been putting out asphalt with a shovel for 80 years, and I think it’s time for a change,” Watts said. “Our citizens deserve it, our city deserves it, and our travelers surely deserve it.”

Watts is an active member of Clear Branch Baptist Church.