Barron, Hall vie for Dist. 3 nomination

Published 6:34 am Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The battle for the Pike County District 3 commissioners seat in the Republican primary is between an 8-year commission veteran and a man who is new to politics.

“I considered running four years ago,” said Mike Hall, principal at Banks Elementary School. “It just wasn’t the right time. No, I feel as if it’s the right time.”

Hall has lived in Pike County almost 40 years and has been an educator for 23 years, 19 of those were spent in Pike County.

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“I’m new to politics. I don’t bring any kind of political agenda to the table,” Hall said. “I think that my experience will help bring harmony and collaboration to the commission.”

Incumbent Jimmy Barron, on the other hand, is on his second term as commissioner of District 3.

“I’ve enjoyed being a part of trying to make Pike County a better place to live and work and raise a family,” Barron said. “I want to continue to make a difference.”

Barron and Hall are on the ticket in the March 13 party primary.

Barron is a lifelong resident of Pike County and he and his family have been in business 60 years with Jabs Sporting Goods in Troy. He is also a traffic signal technician for the Alabama Department of Transportation.

“I want to work to provide the funding to fix our roads and bridges and make them safe for our children and the people who drive them everyday,” Barron said.

Road issues, including whether or not to pave Pleasant Hill Church Road in District 6, have brought on heated discussions with the commission recently.

Barron said that commissioners butting heads in their voting seats is a new development, but Hall said he’s tired of the bickering.

“One of the things I would hope to do is to restore some harmony in the commission,” Hall said. “There seems to be a lot of bi-partisan voting going on when I think we need to look at each project and prioritize them.”

In the case of the Pleasant Hill Church Road issue, Barron said he didn’t feel comfortable voting to pave a road for nearly $400,000 when there was only a church and two homes located there.

“I was willing to meet them halfway,” Barron said, adding he was supportive of placing gravel on the road. “But we’ve got churches all over Pike County on dirt roads. We’ve also got bridges that school buses have to be routed around. People put their trust and confidence in me and I am going to do what is best for the county.”

Hall agrees that roadwork needs to be done in Pike County, and he said commissioners haven’t tapped into valuable resources that could fund many county projects.

“I am certainly not in favor of any additional taxes,” Hall said. “I’d like to explore the possibility of federal grants to secure funds. I have experience in that area.”

Hall said he’d also like to see the commission develop a definite three-to-five-year plan.

“It appears they just go from meeting to meeting,” Hall said.

If elected, both Hall and Barron would like to work more closely with the Economic Development Council and they have their own ideas they’d like to implement as the District 3 commissioner.

“When I first took office, we were $10 million in debt and now we are down to about $5 million,” Barron said. “I have enjoyed working on that and I’d like to continue to see us pay that down.”

Hall said he’d like to see commissioners and county business become much more visible and accessible to the public. One thing he’d like to see is a monthly project update in the newspaper that keeps the county residents who can’t attend commission meetings in the loop.

“I think we need to do a much better job communication. I don’t think the average citizen knows what’s going on with the commission,” Hall said. “ ‘They can come to the meeting if they want to know’ is not the approach we need to take as public servants.”

Both men will appear on the Republican ballot on March 13.