On July 9, all seven candidates were asked the same five questions and asked to return their answers by the end of last week.
The Times-News will run those responses in the order the were received: John Neubert-I, David Bailey-D, Dennis Deal-I, Danny Breeding-I, Jim Lee-R, Roy Spears-I, and Republican Kelly Markham, who lost his primary race in May but has qualified as an official write-in candidate.
Dennis Deal: Why are you running for Hawkins County mayor?
I am running for Hawkins County mayor because I believe that the citizens, school system and county employees of Hawkins County need to know that they have a mayor who will go to work every day; to fight for them, serve them the best he can, and above all else will seek to put the good of the county first. Hawkins County has weathered many storms in the past and the citizens of our county are ready for growth, success and pride of their county again.
Please list your past employment experience, educational background, past political experience if any, and any other special skills that will serve you well as Hawkins County mayor.
I have had great opportunities to obtain leadership experience that I believe will be necessary to see that Hawkins County will succeed in the coming years. My reputation and character are on record after serving the past 18 years as Mayor of Church Hill. I also gained great knowledge and foresight as sales leader in the region with Sun Chemical Corporation which I retired from after 38 years. I learned the importance of proven reputation, character and record while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for 6 years as a young man.
What are your top priorities, and/or the main goals you hope to achieve if elected?
My top priority is to see that the people of Hawkins County receive the honesty and transparency they deserve. I want to bring together and unite the towns, cities, and people within our county so that all of Hawkins County is represented and proud to be a part of our county. My goals are to work to reduce the county’s debt. I seek to implement a customized budget process that supports the county’s business needs while saving taxpayers’ dollars. I want to see that all of the taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely and locally so that the people of Hawkins County see the returns and benefits of the county they deserve. I also plan to work with the county commission to reduce or eliminate the county wheel tax.
What can the county mayor do to help attract more industry, jobs and commercial development to Hawkins County?
I believe that it is the county mayor’s responsibility to support the school system through proper budgeting and leadership so that education remains a priority. I plan to work with the industrial development board to ensure that the county creates and sustains an attractiveness to support existing and new industries and individuals seeking employment. I believe the economic development of Hawkins County rests in its ability to use the county’s strengths such as the broad geographical range of the county. Within our county there are many areas of potential that will require significant relationship growth among cities and towns. I believe that to achieve the most positive and attractive industry and commercial development to this region, financial stability of the county as well as cost effective approaches to taxes will be necessary.
Why are you the best person for this job?
I believe that the responsibility and role of county mayor is a very important yet humbling one. As I have stated; reputation, character and record are key in determining an individual’s intentions as well as their desire to see others succeed. I believe that Hawkins County needs successful and proven leadership. I am the only candidate who has balanced municipal budgets, built a new senior citizens center, fitness center and library. As mayor of Church Hill we obtained $2 million in grants for use of property purchases, upgrades, and new infrastructure, as well as paid off millions in debt over 18 years. I know that the people of Hawkins County have what it takes to grow and succeed. I would be honored to be given the opportunity to serve Hawkins County in these endeavors as I believe that we are poised for a very exciting and prosperous future.