In-person interview response
I wouldn’t make any promises until I got in office and found out what the issues were and what needed to be done. I’d keep an eye on waste and keep that to a minimum. I haven’t been involved in politics. When I saw that Roger wasn’t running, and I wasn’t doing anything, — I’m retired — I decided I’d run. I haven’t been involved in any politics. I’ve had some experience, on the board of directors for the Durham, Tampa and Lincolnville Gas and Oil Cooperative for three terms, nine years. So I’ve had experience in this.
The lack of jobs and a declining population in Marion County is what I believe is the top overall issue the county faces. Accordingly, economic growth/development (i.e. new jobs and businesses) for Marion County is a top priority as it leads to the county’s overall growth and success. Economic growth must include attraction of industry and expansion of existing businesses in order to provide/create good paying jobs and retain current residents while attracting new residents. I favor short-term tax incentives/abatements and other monetary incentives in order to attract new businesses or expand existing business (which create jobs) to the county. To maintain an adequate labor pool for new businesses and also help attract new business, while increasing the county population, we must focus on improving and maintaining the following: roads/bridges; affordable housing and utilities; medical, police, fire, and EMS services; quality education; and parks/lakes/recreation, all of which are important to residents and their quality of life. Additionally, improvement of the Marion County Lake and Marion Reservoir will improve the drinking water source for the county; increase the sales and tax revenue (out of town visitors spending money) and quality of life for the residents of the county. Additionally, in order to make improvements without increasing taxes, new income streams must be leveraged and I favor taking advantage of grants and other state/federal fund matching programs.