Candidates open up on

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 20, 2000

Pike Co. campaign issues


Staff Writer

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Sept. 19, 2000 10 PM

Of the six Pike County Commission candidates who have opposition on Nov. 7, only half of them participated in the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs luncheon on Tuesday.

Participants were District 3 incumbent Larry Penn, District 4 candidate Jim Medley and District 6 candidate John Schmidt. All three are Republicans.

Penn’s opponent is Sherrill Calhoun; incumbent Ray Goodson is running for re-election to the District 4 seat against Medley and District 6 incumbent Karen Berry is running against Schmidt.

Schmidt said "it is a shame" all the candidates did not participate in the forum.

To those who didn’t he said, "Shame on you."

Schmidt, the first to characterize his campaign, is running on what he calls "the 4E plan." His four "E’s" are restoring efficiency and effectiveness to county government, prompting economic growth and development through a defined strategic plan, utilizing technology for education, and enhancing the environment.

In regards to having an "efficient" government, Schmidt believes the county commission should be revamped because "we don’t need six" commissioners. Schmidt supports a system with a commissioner who serves as full-time chairman, an idea also endorsed to a large degree by Penn.

Penn, who is running for re-election, wants to "continue moving forward."

Penn was asked about the commission’s relationship with other facets of government, and said the commission has been active, if not very visible, in working with other agencies and groups.

At times, he said, the commission "got dropped between the cracks" when it came to working with some governmental agencies. Though Penn said the commission has been active, it has been less visible in this area. He said he would like to see the comission continue to work well with other governmental entities in the future.

"It’s hard to stand here and, in three minutes, tell you what we’ve done in four years," Penn said.

Medley’s campaign focuses largely on county roadways.

Medley said he wants to work to improve county roads.

"I think there are things we could do with our roads in this county," Medley said. "I don’t think it’s necessary, every time it rains, for our soil to go into the creeks and rivers."

Schmidt again expressed displeasure with his opponent when discussing economic growth.

As chairman of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Board, he said he has played a major role in trying to devise a strategic plan for the county and was one who visited with the commissioners and municipal leaders throughout the county.

When it came time for the commission to consider the plan, Schmidt said Berry abstained from the vote which ended up a 3-2-1 vote in favor of backing a strategic plan.

"You’re either for economic growth or you’re against it," Schmidt said. "You can’t straddle the fence," he said of his opponents vote.

Penn, who has voiced support of the strategic plan, said the county "needs leaders who will continue that," while working on other issues, such as redistricting.

Like Schmidt, Penn does not believe the county should have six commissioners and wants to change the format so there is a full-time chairman.

Although Penn believes great strides have been made in the commission’s efforts to work together, Schmidt believes there is still work that needs to be done.

He pointed out the commission often splits votes and that it took three meetings for them to decide whether or not to move out of the courthouse during renovations.

"I think I have the team-building skills and decision-making skills," Schmidt said when asked what characteristics he would bring to the commission.

Medley said he has "learned how to get my point across without creating animosity," which will benefit the commission.

All three men agreed there is much work that needs to be done to improve Pike County and finding additional financial sources is going to be one of the keys in accomplishing those things.

Medley said the first priority is "to spend the dollars we have more wisely."

In addition to the six commissioners with opposition, there are three others who will return to office.

District 1 Commissioner Willie Thomas, a Democrat, District 2 Commissioner Larry Meeks, a Republican, and District 5 Commissioner Charlie Harris, a Democrat had no opposition for the General Election.

Other countywide offices up for election include the county board of education, judgeships, circuit clerk and constables, none of which have opposition for the General Election.

The new Pike County Board of Education District 5 member is Herbert Reynolds, a Democrat and the District 6 seat will be filled by Adam Register, also a Democrat.

Circuit Clerk Brenda Peacock, a Republican, Circuit Judge Thomas E. Head III, a Democrat, and District Judge William G. Hightower, also a Democrat had no opposition.

Those who will be sworn into the office of constable are: Garry Sanders, a Republican for Precinct 1; Joe Lewis Green, a Democrat for Precinct 2; John Sanders Jr., a Democrat for Precinct 5; Marvin "Pete" Jordan, Republican for Precinct 6; James Price, a Republican for Precinct 12; Bruel Davis, a Republican for District 15-1 and Stephen Green, a Democrat for Precinct 18.


On Nov. 7, Pike Countians will also choose between incumbent Terry Everett, a Republican, and Charles Woods, a Democrat, for United States Representative of Congressional District 1.