Candidates step up to Stump

Published 11:36 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pike County Commission and 2nd Congressional District candidates stepped up to the stump Thursday night to discuss local issues with residents.

Congressional candidates Mayor Bobby Bright and Rep. Jay Love were unable to attend themselves, but they sent representatives to debate for them.

Representatives addressed the issues of the nation’s economy, the war and how they will meet the needs of Pike County.

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Judge Lynn Bright, representing her husband, and state Rep. Berry Mass, on behalf of Love, both said their candidates would not have supported the $700 billion bailout that recently passed through Congress.

“Jay is definitely against the bailout that just occurred,” Mass said. “He believes it happened too soon, it was too much and we should have taken some time to look at that longer.”

Bright said her husband would also not have supported the bailout, at least not as it passed now.

“He believes in spend as you go,” Bright said. “We should have been looking at this problem long before.”

Bright and Love, however, have different views on the nation’s war in Iraq.

While Bright said her husband supports the troops and believes there is still work to be done there he also wants to withdraw some troops.

“We must stay in Iraq until we can disengage with honor and victory,” Bright said. “(But) he believes the Iraqi government should be responsible for their own war, and we should start looking for ways to leave.”

Love, on the other hand, believes the country should be in this war until the end.

“A lot of blunders have been made in this war, but Jay Love believes in this war and believes we need to bring the troops home in victory,” Mass said. “We have got to win this war.”

On behalf of Love and Bright, representatives said both candidates will work to address needs of all those in the district.

“Bobby is for doing what is right for the district,” Bright said. “If there are needs in Pike County Bobby will listen to them and address them.”

For Love, Mass said he understands small business and small towns, and he will be here for the people.

“Jay will be there and be a listener and always have an ear,” Mass said.

In the county commissioners debate, of the contested races, all but District 4 incumbent Ray Goodson and District 6 candidate Karen Berry were in attendance.

Candidates who attended include, District 3 incumbent Jimmy Barron and his two opponents Kathleen Forbish and Sherrill Calhoun, District 4 challenger Brian Floyd, District 5 incumbent Charlie Harris and his opponent Jeff Baker and District 6 Democrat candidate Oren Fannin.

Barron, who has served as commissioner for four years, said in his time, they have worked to reduce debt, and if reelected, he will continue that service, as well as meeting other needs of the county.

“We’ve established a 10-year plan to get Pike County out of debt, and this is the first year Pike County didn’t have to borrow money to make payroll,” Barron said.

Forbish, his Democrat opponent said this is her first time running for office, and she wants to improve road conditions, have cleaner streets and provide programs for senior citizens.

“I want to look for ways to solve roadway littering problems, search for ways to generate more revenue to resurface dirt roads, as well as find funds for a new county jail,” Forbish said. “I want to provide true representation of the entire district and not just serve a selected area.”

Independent candidate Calhoun, who has previously served as a commissioner, said he wants to work to better manage the county’s budget.

“I’m a lifetime resident of District 3,” Calhoun said. “I started my career 30 years ago as an independent, I’ve always been an independent and I always will be.”

District 4’s Republican candidate Floyd said he wants to be a commissioner because the district needs a change, one that will meet the needs of all its residents.

“There seems to be some things in our district that have not been recognized like they ought to be,” Floyd said. “As commissioner, I want to change that, and I feel like I’m the right candidate to change that.”

District 5 incumbent Harris, who has been commissioner for 16 years, said he wants to further that service and will continue working to reduce litter and other county issues.

“Littering is one of the biggest parts of the county,” Harris said. “I want to serve the people in Pike County, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 16 years.”

His opponent Baker, who has run two times before this term, said he wants to better manage the county’s resources, and address unemployment problems and crime.

“I’ve ran two times before, and that makes it where you can at least stay I’m committed,” Baker said.

District 6’s Democrat candidate Fannin said his number one goal in office is to reduce debt, and then to better utilize some of the county’s facilities.

“The county has wasted money for years and years,” Fannin said. “Once you get the debt paid off you might be able to do something for the people.:

Among the top issues discussed by candidates were the proposed county lodging tax, commissioners’ discretionary funds and county debt.

More stories will follow in The Messenger to let Pike County know where the candidates stand on each of these issues.

The Stump ’08 debate, which was sponsored by The Messenger, WTBF, Troy Cable/Channel 52 and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, aired live on WTBF and Channel 52.