Candidates appear at public forum

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

Of the 20 local candidates with opposition in the upcoming general election, only six participated in the Thursday night forum hosted by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

Circuit Clerk candidate Jamie Scarbrough, District 6 commissioner candidate Joey Jackson, District 6 Pike County Board of Education candidates Chris Wilkes and Jim Knight, District commissioner candidate Ryan Flowers and District 3 commissioner candidate Samuel Lewis were all present. Judge Thomas Head was also at the forum, even though his race is unopposed.

Candidates were given two minutes to introduce themselves and talk a little bit about their platform. The order of presentations was decided by drawing a candidate’s name out of a bowl.

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Joey Jackson was up first.

“My platform, first and foremost, is public safety,” Jackson said. “Our roads and bridges. I am very concerned about that.”

Jackson also said, if elected, he hopes to work closely with other government officials to attract new industry and grow local businesses.

Jim Knight’s name was drawn next.

Knight explained that he felt his 35 years of experience in education qualified him to be a board of education member.

“Serving on any board takes time and energy, and I figure I have that time and energy to spend,” Knight said. “I have the knowledge of the day to day of a school system.”

Knight’s opponent, incumbent District 6 school board member Chris Wilkes, was next at the podium.

Wilkes shared some of the recent successes and ongoing projects of the school system and said he would like the opportunity to continue those successes.

“We’re pretty excited about what’s happening and what will happen in the next six years,” Wilkes said. “Our school system remains stable.”

Samuel Lewis’ name was pulled from the bowl next.

Lewis noted that he was a wounded Vietnam veteran, had worked for the highway department for 33 years and served in the National Guard for 28 years.

“I want to keep serving for Pike County,” Lewis said. “I believe I have the experience and ability to do a good job.”

Incumbent Circuit Clerk Jamie Scarbrough spoke next.

“The only way that there can be improvements and the only way there can be changes is by someone who knows how to do it,” Scarbrough said, explaining she felt her time in the clerk’s office beginning when she was 19 makes her the best candidate for the job.

Scarbrough also said she was proud to have the support of so many judges and attorneys in Pike County.

Thomas Head lightened the conversation by mentioning that unless Minnie or Mickey Mouse had enough write in votes, Pike County was going to be “stuck” with him for another term.

“I seek office for a singular reason,” Head said. “And that is because I love my job. I really appreciate the opportunity to have served.”

Ryan Flowers was the last to have the floor at the public forum.

“We need good paying jobs in Pike County and, number two, we need a jail,” Flowers said as he explained his platform. “I want to see more done that will benefit every one.”

Flowers said that even though he was disabled, he believed being a county commissioner would give him the opportunity to serve in a new capacity.

The forum will be aired on TV 52 during the next few days, according to event moderator Adam Drinkwater, Chairman of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

Before those who gathered left the building, he made one final remark.

“Please remind everyone you know to vote on Tuesday,” Drinkwater said.