Fiscal responsibility resounding theme in Macon election
This year in Macon County, three seats on the board are up for election. Each commissioner represents a geographic district in the county, although all voters get to vote for all seats. Once the board is elected, the sitting members choose a county chairman from their ranks.
There are two Republican candidates running for the Franklin district, Ron Haven and Charlie Leatherman, not profiled here since they automatically advance to the general election.
Democratic candidates, pick two
Carroll Poindexter, 50, building/ electrical instructor
Experience: Poindexter works part-time as an instructor for building and electrical courses. Poindexter is a former code enforcement officer who worked for the county.
Platform: Poindexter is running on a platform of limiting taxes and communicating more openly with the voters of Macon County. His goal is “to be a servant for the people, hold the line on taxes, and make sure the people are informed.”
Poindexter is critical of recent school expenditures in the county that will raise the tax rate.
“Our government has a record of passing things before they have figured out how they are going to pay for or operate it,” Poindexter said.
Ronnie Beale, 54, owner of Beale Construction
Experience: Beale has been a commissioner four years and serves as chairman.
Platform: Beale is running on a platform that emphasizes job growth and retention and the creation of more affordable housing in the county. He points to his record of establishing the county’s mental health task force and child daycare committee as proof of his record of looking for solutions for working families. Beale favors a steep slope ordinance, but wants it to incorporate the needs of the construction industry.
“We all recognize that these ordinances have an impact on property rights. I believe we must be very careful how this ordinance is crafted, but I also believe that future potential buyers will be looking for a safe place to construct their house and I do believe that a Steep slope ordinance will be of help in providing safety not only for the new homeowner, but also for their neighbors.”
Bob Simpson, 61, self-employed contractor
Experience: Simpson has been a commissioner for eight years. He is a trustee of Southwestern Community College.
Platform: Simpson is running on a platform that emphasizes fiscal responsibility. He believes his experience on the county board is crucial as the county faces its budgeting process in a harsh economy.
“I think the most important issue is the budget. We’re experiencing zero growth and the bills keep coming. This will take experience to get through.”
Simpson also supports steep slope regulation, provided it does not prevent property owners from developing their land.
“I’ll continue to be open, and my votes will reflect the concerns of everyone in the county.”
Democratic candidates, pick one
Michael David Rogers, 47, Highlands, contractor/grader
Experience: Rogers owns a landscape/grading business and runs a Christian-based recovery program at the Pine Grove Baptist Church. He also serves on the Appearance Committee for the Town of Highlands.
Platform: Rogers is running on a platform of balanced development, job growth, and protecting natural resources. “I am passionate about our natural resources. We have one of the most beautiful areas in the United States to live in, and I want to see us protect it.”
Rogers said he is running for commissioner in order to give Highlands a stronger voice on the county board. He supports the implementation of a steep slope ordinance, a subject with which he has firsthand experience, and he wants to support the school system.
“I feel there is a need for growth in our county, but at the same time, we do need ordinances and laws to protect our environment as well as our citizens.”
Allan Ricky Bryson, 53, business owner
Experience: Bryson has been owner and operator of Highlands Outdoor Tool for 26 years. He is assistant fire chief for the Highlands Fire Department and served two terms as a commissioner but lost re-election in 2006.
Platform: Bryson is running a platform that stresses fiscal responsibility and keeping taxes low. “I just believe we can move Macon County forward in an affordable way without raising people’s taxes during an economic turndown.”
Bryson favors steep slope regulation.
“I’d rather have it written by Maconians than it being written by the state.”
Republican candidates, pick one
Brian McClellan, 53, financial advisor
Experience: McClellan is a current commissioner and works as a financial advisor at Edward Jones Investments.
Platform: McClellan is running on a platform that stresses financial responsibility. He wants to limit county spending and attract business to the area.
“Creating a plan for economic development and putting that plan into action to bring non-polluting jobs to our area has been an important part of the process of working to revive our local economy. We need to hold the line on county spending and create opportunities for businesses to locate here in our area and provide us with jobs that will allow us to continue to live here and enjoy the uniqueness and beauty of Macon County.”
McClellan also favors a balanced steep slope ordinance that regulates building without rendering lots “unbuildable.”
Jimmy Tate, 38, landscaping business owner
Experience: Jimmy Tate is president of Tate Landscaping Services and a volunteer firefighter. He has served on the town planning board and land-use committee.
Platform: Tate is running on a platform that stresses fiscal responsibility. As a sixth-generation native of Macon County, Tate said his experience in local political offices will help him to guide the county during a difficult time.
“In a time when our country and state are falling deeper and deeper in debt, we, at the very least, need to be responsible and wise with our decisions and finances at the local level. Public service is all about listening to and respecting the taxpayer, and I want to work in this respect for the people of Macon County.”