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8 vie for District 2 supervisor slot

After 16 years as Lincoln County supervisor for District 2, Bobby Watts is ready to let someone else take his seat. Eight people are ready to do just that.

The District 2 race won’t be settled Tuesday, but voters at the primaries will choose between two Democrats and five Republicans. While the Democratic contender will be announced Tuesday night, the Republican primary will likely go to a run-off, which will be Aug. 27. The winners of the two primary races will face the lone independent candidate in the general election in November.

Tim Martin, 60, Air Products plant operations manager — Republican

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: In December 1998, I was appointed supervisor for District 2. I accepted the position to fulfill the remaining 13 months of my late father, Dick Martin’s term. I proudly continued the efforts that he had worked so hard for. This experience sets me apart from all other candidates. I have already experienced firsthand all duties of a Lincoln County supervisor. Also, I have 20-plus years’ experience as a manager. My management experience will help me communicate and lead my crew. Over the years, my jobs have required me to be on call to work days and nights 24/7. I will have that same commitment to Lincoln County.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

As supervisor of District 2, I would encourage all people of my community to feel welcome to attend and voice concerns at all meetings, which are always open to the public. In order to make positive improvements in areas that concern our district, I will have very open communication with the people of my district. I am a man from the people, for the people.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

After the election, I will do a complete review of all equipment. Then, I will begin to revamp our roads and bridges, which have all been poorly maintained. One important enhancement I have planned for our roads is to bring proper drainage by shaving shoulders to remove water from standing. Standing water causes tremendous damage to our roadways. When we make these roadway improvements, the changes will prevent roads from continually having damage in which we would have to waste funds restoring.  By using a routine maintenance schedule, we will be able to do necessary up keep on our roadways and bridges. I will find state and federal grants for extra money to use without raising taxes. We know all improvements will require spending money but we will find the most cost effective solutions.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

I believe the job of supervisor includes many important duties. The top priorities are public and travel safety, budget management and economic development in our community. I am committed to providing safety to our community. I have mentioned above in detail my plans to improve safety in our roadways but I also intend to make the welfare of the community safety a priority. I will work with the people and law enforcement for ideas to resolve problems that are affecting our community. In order to distribute our budget out wisely, I intend to spend much time focused on planning the future projects we will be tackling. I will look in many different ways to spread the money most efficiently. It is an important priority for me to support community as a whole. I intend to work hand in hand with continued expansions and development for our county business, industrial, and educational areas. Growth and development in these areas is a major way to ensure jobs for our community and a better future in Lincoln County. The youth are our future. I will propose many ideas for county wide activities to get youth focused in the right direction. My proposals will include ways to bring other counties in to our community to increase revenue.

Jerry W. McGehee, 69, road and bridge maintenance for Lincoln County District 2 — Republican

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: I have seven years of working for Lincoln County District 2.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

The supervisors have a board meeting on the first and third Monday of every month that is open to the public. If you elect me as your supervisor, my door will always be open to discuss your concerns or problems. We will try to come up with a solution to help you as well as our district. I have seven years of working experience for Lincoln County District 2. I have already established a good working relationship and have earned respect from many of the residences in District 2. I have also created a working relationship with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the engineers who work for Lincoln County.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructures without raising taxes?

If elected, I will take the budget that is provided and look at the condition of each road. Then I will evaluate the shape the roads are currently in. Repairing the worst part first, I will continue to work through the county until the roads are safe. When possible I will try to do as much in-house repair to the equipment as I have done in the past seven years to save our district money. I will try to accomplish this without raising taxes.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

I truly believe that first the safety and maintaining the conditions of our roads are important, as well as the employees as they are out working to improve our roads. Second, working alongside with the other supervisors making important decisions about bringing new business into Lincoln County. I will be open-minded and listen to everyone’s opinion. We all want what is best for our district. Third, I am an honest hard-working Christian man. I will always strive to have the best relationship with everyone in our district. I will be upfront and honest with you at all times.

To accomplish my three goals I will be at the county barn or on the road when possible.

I will be a fulltime supervisor for you. I will take this job very seriously and do my best to accomplish my goals to better our district and the safety for your family.

Jonathon Powell, 32, no employment listed — Democrat

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: budget management, equipment operator, etc. Work with the people of Lincoln County and listen to what needs to be done to the roads. I used to be a secretary and kept up with payrolls. I ran the equipment. Also done mechanic work on everything. Good at fixing roads.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner? No answer given.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

Manage the budget by saving money on material to fix roads by getting it cheaper. We will do mechanic work ourselves to the equipment to save money. Try to get grants to go toward bridges and roads that need to be fixed.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

Setting goals for performance and deadlines; organize workflow and make sure employees understand their duties; and monitor the productivity of employees and coach them.

Cynthia Price, 57, customer service manager for Sparklight (formerly Cable One) — Democrat

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: Holds an associate degree in business administration and currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree at University of Southern Mississippi. I manage three offices located in Lincoln, Pike and Adams counties. I have built a collaborative relationship with officials in each city to accomplish goals. Over the years I have successfully operated my department under budget and stay consistent in taking the conservative approach in weighing all options before acting. I have exemplified leadership, training and guidance leading by example to over 20 associates. I have continuously overcome everyday challenges of managing multiple locations and maintaining a productive work environment for associates. When approached with difficult situations, I display the ability to make sound decisions but remain in compliance with company expectations.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

I strongly believe that as a taxpayer you should have a voice and be heard to hold your supervisor accountable, but why should matters result in speaking at a public meeting? Communication with the intention of utilizing all available resources to resolve issues when present is what I expected as a taxpayer and what I intend to provide as your supervisor. Board meetings are open to the public and I encourage people to get involved, ask questions. Knowing where your taxpayers’ dollars are being spent creates transparency and accountability.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

Based on the budget, I would create a task force within my district that will provide an overall assessment of our county road condition based on specific needs and plan accordingly that would result in a long-term solution. Perhaps if we made sure money was appropriated for the purpose it was intended for maybe the projects will get completed without having to raise taxes.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

First is to be educated on the various matters they are responsible for overseeing. I am certain that there are certain aspects of the county supervisor duties that I might not be familiar with, which is nothing new of what I experience daily living in a fast-paced technology society. If elected I can assure the residents of District 2 that I can learn and acquire the knowledge to carry out the responsibilities as your supervisor, looking out for the best interest of our district.

Second is planning which contributes to making a sound decision.

The third is being involved in the community you serve. In 2003, I was on the Social Infrastructure Committee as a visionary wanting to make a noticeable difference for a better quality of life in Lincoln County that successful received funding for the expansion of the Lincoln County Boys & Girls Club, which I currently serve on the board.

Roland Robinson, 55, no job listed — independent

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: 20 years at Georgia Pacific; setting up and executing procedures in my area.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

Principle goals and strategies designed to address pressing issues. Open door policy and listen to the people and do my best to find solutions to problems. By being an independent candidate I have no obligation to any party, just the people.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

Set priorities, and do what is best for District 2.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

Work with the people in your district; work with city council; and try and keep roads up.

Don Smith, 55, truck driver — Republican

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: I have experience in business management, as a business owner, and in operating and working on heavy equipment. I have served the residents of the New Sight community and all of Lincoln County for 27 years as a volunteer fire fighter with the New Sight Volunteer Fire Department. I currently serve as the president of the department.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

If elected to serve the People of District 2 as their next supervisor, I will represent everyone within my district and I will have their best interest at heart. Not only will I be a strong voice for the people of District 2, but I will stand up for everyone in Lincoln County. At the end of the day, we all want our county to succeed and for our children and grandchildren to have a better and brighter future here in Lincoln County. I will be involved in each meeting that the board of supervisors have by questioning issues that I believe will not benefit the people of Lincoln County and by making sure that the taxpayer’s dollars are only being used to benefit the taxpayers to improve our county.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

The budget that is provided for District 2 is enough to make improvements each year. The roads in District 2 are deteriorating and each community in the district is not receiving the same amount of attention. By focusing on what needs attention and not wasting money on unnecessary equipment, we can use the money we already have to make improvements across our district. Raising taxes is the last thing I want to do. Also, I will promote Lincoln County to leaders in Jackson and Washington D.C., to bring more money into Lincoln County to make improvements. Serving as the president of the New Sight Volunteer Fire Department, I have experience in maintaining a budget and making improvements without overspending.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

I believe the first important duty that a county supervisor has is to maintain and use the taxpayer’s dollars to benefit the residents of their district. The people of District 2 are tired of not receiving the value of their tax dollars and I intend to change that. Second, is to maintain and repair the roads and bridges and keep them safe for people to travel on. Everyone wants their family to be safe when traveling to church, school, and work. I will have the safety of everyone in district 2 on my mind each day when working with the road crew. And third, I believe that a county supervisor should be available to the residents of their district 24/7. The people of district 2 deserve someone who will meet with them, hear their concerns, and voice those concerns in the board meetings. With my experience as a business owner, business manager and serving as a volunteer fire fighter with the New Sight VFD for 27 years, I have the experience and integrity to fulfill these duties for the people of District 2.

Virgil Stewart, 71, owner of Crystal Clear Pools — Republican

Experience for the District 2 Supervisor seat: I have owned my own business for 45 years. I have been a general contractor for 45 years. I’ve worked with the public for most of my life.

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

I think that all county business should be open to the people of Lincoln County. All supervisor meetings are open to the public and will continue if I’m elected. There are times that sensitive matters have to be handled at closed sessions. The voters of Lincoln County deserve nothing less than transparency of their government.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

I’m a fiscal conservative. I’ll use District 2 money to the best extent possible. My business model will have to conform to the budget on hand. The time for wasteful spending to come to an end is now.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

To make the decisions possible by voting responsibly and for the best outcome of Lincoln County; to run District 2 professionally and with respect; and always be available to the people of District 2. I have run numerous multi-million dollar jobs, and have supervised up to 60 men. I am qualified to handle this position.

Toby Williamson, 33, truck driver — Republican

What steps will you take as supervisor to ensure that the people of Lincoln County have a voice at public meetings and that the county’s business will be conducted in a transparent manner?

First, designate a specific amount of time for the public at the meetings so they could voice their concerns. Second, be open and available to the public to discuss the matters at hand.

Based on the budget you are provided, how do you intend to not only maintain, but improve infrastructure without raising taxes?

Cut out unnecessary spending, use all resources available and search for ways to save money.

What do you believe are the three most important duties of a county supervisor — ranked in order of importance — and what experience do you have to fulfill those duties?

First, ensure the safety of the people by maintaining roads, bridges and surroundings. Second, maintenance of roads and bridges. Third, maintaining a balanced budget with no wasteful spending. I’m a hard worker that goes beyond daily job duties to get the job done and be a leader when called upon.

Voting information

Election Day for primaries is Tuesday with a runoff, if needed, set for Aug. 27. General Election Day is Nov. 5.

Absentee voting is underway through Saturday at noon at the Lincoln County Circuit Clerk’s office.

People may vote absentee for several reasons, including if they will be out of town on election day, if they are temporarily or permanently disabled or if they are 65 or older, Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield said.

To see sample primary ballots, visit www.lincolncircuitcourt.com and click on “elections.”