Q&As with Floyd County Com­mis­sion, Ge­or­gia Se­nate and Ge­or­gia House can­di­dates, Sam­ple Bal­lot and list of poll lo­ca­tions.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE -

What are the top three is­sues you’d like to ad­dress as pri­or­i­ties for Floyd County?

1. The bud­get has been and will con­tinue to be crit­i­cal. It’s very dif­fi­cult to bal­ance the bud­get as well as project into the fu­ture. We con­tinue to try to in­crease rev­enues from sources other than ad val­orem, as well as be­ing aus­tere with spend­ing, with­out rais­ing the mill­age rate.

2. Sup­port­ing our ex­ist­ing in­dus­tries and at­tract­ing new in­dus­tries is key. Our com­mis­sion de­sires to as­sist our ex­ist­ing in­dus­tries, main­tain sta­bil­ity and cre­ate growth to ben­e­fit our com­mu­nity. We strive to di­ver­sify our in­dus­tries to pro­tect from down­turns in any one area.

3. Safety and health. We have worked hard to com­plete our three-year plan of salary in­creases for law en­force­ment and will mon­i­tor it so we don’t fall be­hind again. We have joined the city in a health clinic and be­lieve that, over time, this will be a tremen­dous ben­e­fit to our em­ploy­ees as well as our over­all health bud­get.

De­scribe some con­crete steps the County Com­mis­sion should take to ad­dress the lo­cal opi­oid cri­sis.

The County Com­mis­sion has joined many other cities and coun­ties in lit­i­ga­tion in­volv­ing opi­oid man­u­fac­tur­ers and dis­trib­u­tors. The board also re­cently adopted the Step­ping Up cam­paign and will get a com­mit­tee to­gether to im­ple­ment many of those strate­gies. The pro­gram is a na­tional ini­tia­tive to re­duce the number of peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness in our jails. Over 2 mil­lion peo­ple with se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness are im­pris­oned each year; some also suf­fer from sub­stance abuse prob­lems. This plan sup­ported by pri­vate, med­i­cal and gov­ern­ment groups, and helps with de­vel­op­ing a plan to bud­get treat­ment ac­cess and pro­mote al­ter­na­tives to in­car­cer­a­tion. We have lots of work to do but are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion. Also, one of our SPLOST projects pro­vides for more med­i­cal beds at the jail to meet needs due to the clos­ing of North­west Ge­or­gia Re­gional Hospi­tal. The project is sched­uled to be com­pleted in mid-2019.

What can, or should, the County Com­mis­sion do to at­tract more good­pay­ing jobs to the com­mu­nity?

Our fo­cus should be, and is, to re­cruit new in­dus­try and de­velop ex­ist­ing in­dus­try ex­pan­sions through com­pet­i­tive but fair tax abate­ment struc­tures that won’t un­nec­es­sar­ily bur­den our ex­ist­ing tax base. We must be proac­tive in adapt­ing new strate­gies to avoid be­ing left be­hind. We can’t op­er­ate in a vac­uum, we must re­search what has made sim­i­lar com­mu­ni­ties suc­cess­ful. The county and city teams work to­gether to pro­vide a sin­gle point of con­tact for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, a one-stop shop for new and ex­ist­ing in­dus­tries. Our com­mu­nity has to work a lit­tle harder to at­tract in­dus­try in re­spect to in­ter­state ac­ces­si­bil­ity, but adds to our qual­ity of life when com­pet­ing with com­mu­ni­ties in Ge­or­gia or other states. Our as­sets con­tinue to be our peo­ple, our re­sources such as water and land, and our ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties. We have a story to tell and we are fo­cused on not just to­day but the fu­ture.

What are your per­sonal strengths; the qual­i­fi­ca­tions, in­ter­ests and ex­pe­ri­ence you would bring to the County Com­mis­sion?

My per­sonal strengths: Ac­ces­si­ble to the vot­ers, fair, ded­i­cated, de­ter­mined, com­mit­ted to prin­ci­ples, hon­est, un­der­stand­ing, com­pas­sion­ate, pa­tient, con­sen­sus­builder. I have been priv­i­leged to serve on the Com­mis­sion for six years, as chair for the past two, and this has given me the op­por­tu­nity to build re­la­tion­ships with our city, cham­ber, sher­iff’s of­fice, court sys­tem and first re­spon­ders. I have spent a tremen­dous amount of time serv­ing our com­mu­nity in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ef­forts and I am pas­sion­ate about grow­ing our econ­omy. I have the ex­pe­ri­ence to con­tinue to move our county for­ward. I am a na­tive Ro­man and have worked in the fi­nan­cial in­dus­try for over 30 years. I have had the op­por­tu­nity to as­sist clients in good and bad mar­kets. This ex­pe­ri­ence has helped me as I deal with bud­get chal­lenges, work­ing to bal­ance our bud­get, make good sound de­ci­sions and un­der­stand the im­por­tance of work­ing to­gether.

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