The pandemic has shown a real need for reliable internet for residents of District 4. Do you have a plan to improve internet access?
Generally, the more urban areas of District 4 have two choices for internet services, Cox Cable and ATT DSL. The rural areas are limited to other “dial up” services, such as Windstream. At this time the Board of Commissioners are pursuing different initiatives to effectively deal with this issue. My job would be to support the Board in this important part of the growth of Jones County and work diligently to assure Jones County is part of any coming expansion/improvement to the county’s areas that are currently unserved.
What do you see as your role as a commissioner in representing your district, while conducting the business of Jones County?
Commissioners are elected by district; however, they serve the entire county. Communication is key to solving the issues of our constituents. I will provide quality representation at the county level. Providing that same level of representation for District 4 is crucial in closing the gap when it comes to leadership in our district. There is currently in place a method for citizens to reach their designated commissioner for any questions or issues they may be experiencing. That is a good reactive approach. I also want to put into place several proactive initiatives that make it easy for citizens to pass along issues and concerns to me. Social media has worked well during my campaign. A best practice I learned from another commissioner is to possibly host group meetings to give citizens a forum to express concerns and ideas for our community and periodically conduct one-on-one meetings with individuals. Another idea is possibly forming citizens groups to come together with ideas and ways to make their concerns heard.
Drugs and gangs seem to always be knocking on the door of Jones County’s border with Macon-Bibb County, sometimes pouring in. What can be done to assist law enforcement in keeping residents safe?
The primary needs of law enforcement are respect, adequate staffing, training and equipment. The Jones County Sheriff will have solid support from me as they continue to keep Jones County citizens safe.
Some consider blight a derogatory term but there are areas that need help with repairs and even demolition in District 4. How can you as its representative on the board help?
A citizen’s blight committee was formed late last year to look into our county’s blight issue. Working with the Middle Georgia Regional Commission this committee has worked hard to identify issues and possible solutions. Soon this group will make a proposal to the Board of Commissioners for possible solutions. Upon approval of these recommendations, I pledge to work closely with the parties who will be implementing these policies in order to assist in whatever ways I can as a board member to help with District 4.
How important is county supported recreation for youth and adults? Do you consider it a need or a luxury?
It is a need and a key campaign initiative of mine. The expansion of youth and adult recreation for District 4 is vitally important to the health and well-being of our citizens. The existing Jones County Recreation ball fields have been in place for many years and are a crucial part of our recreation for youth. In addition, a great deal of work has gone into developing the old Mattie Wells gym and the surrounding area into a destination for youth to have a place for recreation. The recent addition of a fullsize court was completed outside the gym and has been very popular and utilized by our youth. The county is currently completing a walking, running and hiking track on the back side of the property, which promises a very unique experience for both young people and adults and opens up the door for many possibilities. Additional ideas are I would push for further expansion of this center to include repairs and upgrades to the gym, inside and out. A designated parking area, and a familyfriendly park destination for family outings, picnics and a playground for children. For our older adults, we need to plan for a Senior Citizen Center. Currently our district has no such opportunities for this wonderful segment of citizens. Having the amenities that a senior center would offer would be a tremendous benefit to those citizens.
Public water remains a need for residents in many areas of the county. Where does that need rank on your priority list?
Because it is such a priority for the entire county, it is one of my top priorities as well. Expansion of the water system will help citizens with fire protection, which in turn will lower ISO ratings and lower home owner’s insurance rates. In general, it will attract businesses and industries which will also help lower property taxes. District 4 is fortunate that we have such a welldeveloped water system, in part because of the actions my late Uncle Robert Andrews started, many years ago. Of course, outlying areas in this district and other districts still have to rely on wells until such time as funds and resources are available for expansion.
What is your message to your constituents about wearing a mask?
Because there is currently no national mandate on the wearing of masks during this pandemic, each citizen should follow local and state recommendations for wearing masks while in public places.
Looking specifically at District 4, what is your top priority to focus on for the next four years?
I cannot narrow it down to a top priority. There are four issues very important to me that I discuss when talking to citizens and are included in my answers above. 1. Blight. 2. Communications to the citizens of this district. 3. Enhancement of recreation facilities. And finally, 4. Work with Law Enforcement, EMA, and the Fire Department to keep our community safe.