Questions from the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce:
Q: The City and County jointly fund the Office of Economic Development at the Chamber by way of a service agreement. Funds total between the two entities $240,000. What is your opinion about this agreement and is there anything either party can do to improve our Economic Development efforts?
A: I am definitely in support of the Office of Economic Development. I believe the past efforts of the Economic Development Office have been nothing short of rewarding for Covington and Newton County.
Economic Development is about jobs, income and community prosperity. Economic development may be considered an ongoing test to modern society.
Not only has the Office of Economic Development been a part of industrial development in the area, providing support, networking, incentives and workforce training, they also worked with the Airport Authority in expanding and upgrading the Covington Municipal Airport. I would be in favor of continuing the Airport Authority's strategies in providing alternative air transportation in closer proximity than Atlanta for local corporations.
Another encouraging program which Economic Development is instrumental in is the Newton College and Career Academy. Our children are our future. With the addition of this academy, our children are provided with the necessary means to succeed in post-secondary education or in the immediate workforce. The Office of Economic Development, along with the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Education and Community Leaders are in full support of this academy. I hope to see and would like to work towards more progress and advancement in this direction. How better of a way to ensure the future growth of our cities and county than to give our future leaders the best support and guidance possible.
Q: What role do you see the Covington/Newton Chamber playing in your administration?
A: I feel it is essential for the council to work with the Newton Chamber to ensure our future plans, such as Smart Growth, come to fruition. Giving support to existing business owners, no matter how small or how large, is imperative for our community to thrive. A common bond an understanding between the Covington Council, Newton County and Newton Chamber is vital, especially in the present state of economics.
Q: There has been a lot of discussion regarding the film and TV industry in Covington . Do you believe it is a positive or negative impact for Covington and what role do you see the City playing in it to support your opinion?
A. Arriving at an agreement which is acceptable to both citizens and the movie companies is something I feel we will continue to work on and perfect over time. I feel traffic flow, parking and detours are just a few of the issues that need attention. I also feel we should strive to encourage the visitors and movie staff to utilize our services such as local restaurants, shopping and retail. We need to attempt to find common ground which could provide to be advantageous to all.
Covington News questions:
Q: What makes you qualified to essentially be a board member for an organization with 300 employees, a $120 million budget and several thousand customers?
A: I have been in the business world over the past 30 years. The last 18 years I worked for Ply-Mart, Inc. I built and managed the Covington Ply-Mart which was the #1 operation in the company for 10 years. The last 4 years of my working career I was promoted to Regional Manager over 4 operations, managing 100+ employees. At that time I was promoted to the Senior Executive Board, consisting of 9 members. The Senior Executive Board was responsible for all lumber operations including purchasing, budgeting and day to day operations. Ply-Mart was a $300 Million plus company that employed over 1,000 people. I have since retired. I feel due to my past management positions, I am considered qualified to serve on the Covington City Council.
Q: What steps, if any, will you take to help the council work more closely together?
A. When elected, I would like to meet one on one with each council member and go over any issues they have, listen to their opinions on what it will take for us to all work together and run the city as a business. We all have to be team players.
Q: If you had to choose a single thing, what is the one thing that you plan to accomplish during your four-year term?
A: It is hard to choose one thing I would like to accomplish. Having mayor and council working together as a team, in my opinion, should ensure all matters will fall into place. I also feel it is very important to listen to my constituents, not necessarily the powers to be. I have been to most all the households within the East Ward. The people of our town are begging to be heard by their elected officials. When elected, I plan to do just that for them.
Q: Why does the city need a new person in the Post 2 east council seat?
A: It's time for a change. I feel like we need a member that will speak up for himself and be the voice for the citizens, not follow someone else's path. I feel having a member who has run a successful business and enjoys working with people is crucial. Participation, in my opinion, is a must. Being involved in council meetings, work sessions and special events is one of the major job's of the council. I hereby pledge to be at all council activities, barring any unavoidable emergency. I feel attendance should supersede any and all personal activities.