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 publish those responses in the order they 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.
Danny Breeding: Why are you running for Hawkins County mayor?
For the past few years, I have had the opportunity to be a close and a tentative observer of Hawkins County government proceedings. On many occasions, I saw that only a few simple changes could have made a huge difference in benefits realized for the county and citizens. I saw that many of the most skilled and talented officials were not included in many important occurrences. I came to realize that a Hawkins County Mayor, whose sole intent is service to the citizens of Hawkins County, could be a powerful force for effective and positive change for Hawkins County. I decided I wanted to be that Hawkins County Mayor.
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.
Graduated from Powell Valley HS, Big Stone Gap, VA, Associate Degree in Business Administration from Bristol Commercial College. Worked for Eastman Chemical Company for nearly 38 years. Now serving as Veterans Service Officer for Hawkins County for over 11 years. My wife and I have owned and operated three small businesses (beauty salons) in Hawkins County, and operated one in Kingsport. After high school I was drafted into the Army, and served as a Combat Infantryman with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. This is my first attempt at winning an elected office.
What are your top priorities, and/or the main goals you hope to achieve if elected?
One top priority must be improving the financial condition of the county. I plan to increase tax revenues by focusing on growing the commercial and industrial sectors. The county needs to develop a plan for dealing with its $85 million debt. All county officers and officials need to refresh themselves in the discernment of wants and necessities and cut any and all waste from their operations. Another priority is the reorganization of the county structure to ensure that each county commissioner is aligned with the committees of his expertise and interests and that the mayor’s office is able to provide the information, tools, and resources needed to conduct their business. Another priority is to institute planning, short and long term, in every aspect of county business. Another priority is the preservation and enhancement of our scenic and naturally beautiful landscape to attract tourists. We MUST address the issue of dumping of old tires and trash alongside our highways and streams. Another priority is to develop an environment, fostering communication, inclusiveness and co-operation between all the civic and county officers and officials.
What can the county mayor do to help attract more industry, jobs and commercial development to Hawkins County?
The Mayor of Hawkins County can help attract more industry, jobs, and commercial development to Hawkins County by working closely with the civic and county officials of the Chambers of Commerce, Industrial Development Board, and all others to develop goals and to provide the tools and resources needed. The county mayor must also consign to these organizations and officials the importance of success in the essential work they are performing. He can ensure that all efforts are well-planned, well-executed and sustained until goals are reached.
Why are you the best person for this job?
I know that we have a roster of some fine men and qualified candidates, but I believe I am the best person for THIS job because I am the least political person I know. I am interested in one thing: service to the people of Hawkins County. My performance record has been proven; during my tenure as Veterans Service Officer, I have increased benefits to Hawkins County veterans and their dependents TENFOLD. I have a proven communication and organizational skills. I am running for the right office for the right reason and have the necessary skills to motivate the necessary people to perform the necessary work to do the best job for all citizens of Hawkins County.