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General election sample ballots

PageO Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

Statewide

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n Jim Hood (Democrat) n Tate Reeves (Republican) n Bob Hickingbottom (Constitution) n David R. Singletary (independent)

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n Delbert Hosemann (Republican) n Jay Hughes (Democrat)

qê~åëéçêí~íáçå=`çããáëëáçåÉêI kçêíÜÉêå=aáëíêáÅí n John Caldwell (Republican) n Joe T. “Joey” Grist (Democrat)

eçìëÉ=çÑ=oÉéêÉëÉåí~íáîÉëI aáëíêáÅí=PO n Solomon Curtis Osborne (Democrat) n Troy D. Brown Sr. (independent) n Toris Williams (independent)

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n Johnny Gary Jr. (Democrat) n Debra Tate Hibbler (independent) n Mary Rice-Roberson (independent)

qê~åëéçêí~íáçå=`çããáëëáçåÉêI kçêíÜÉêå=aáëíêáÅí n John Caldwell (Republican) n Joe T. “Joey” Grist (Democrat)

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n Casey James Carpenter (Democrat) n Jenifer Beryl Houston (independent) n Danette Corder Roland (independent)

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n Johnny DuPree (Democrat) n Michael Watson (Republican)

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n Jennifer Riley Collins (Democrat) n Lynn Fitch (Republican)

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pí~íÉ=`çããáëëáçåÉê=çÑ=^ÖêáÅìäíìêÉ n Rickey L. Cole (Democrat) n Andy Gipson (Republican)

pí~íÉ=`çããáëëáçåÉê=çÑ=fåëìê~åÅÉ n Robert E. Amos (Democrat) n Mike Chaney (Republican)

n Addie Lee Green (Democrat) n David McRae (Republican)

Leflore County

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n Kelvin Cedell Pulley (Democrat) n Richard Oakes (independent)

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n Demetrice Bedell (Democrat) n Fredrick “Ricky” Banks (independent)

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n Reginald L. Moore (Democrat) n Lelavie Grayson Sr. (independent)

pìéÉêîáëçêI=aáëíêáÅí=Q n Eric Mitchell (Democrat) n Wayne Self (independent)

Carroll County

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n Wilton A. Neal (Democrat) n Donna Gregg Harper (independent)

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n Josh Hurst (Democrat) n Jesse C. Saulter (Republican)

AP

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n Robert Collins (Democrat) n Derrick “Chitchy” Chambers (independent) n Kevin “Hollywood” Hilton (independent)

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n Ro’Shaun A. Bailey n Cora Denise Stewart Lowe

pÅÜççä=_ç~êÇI=aáëíêáÅí=R n Curressia M. Brown n George Ellis Jr. n Niqua Graham-Brooks n Jackie Cooper-Lewis

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n Edward Dill Tucker (Democrat) n Marvin F. Coward (independent) n Randy Calvin Tackett (independent)

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n Lesa Clark Fletcher n Jackie L. McKinney n Stanton Smith

Bruce Newman/ The Oxford Eagle via AP

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Rep. Osborne faces 2 challengers

Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageP slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

HOUSE DISTRICT 32

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By GERARD EDIC pí~ÑÑ=têáíÉê

Three candidates are vying for a four-year term as a state representative from House District 32. Solomon Osborne, a Democrat, currently holds the seat. He won the position during a special election in March to Osborne fill a vacancy created when Willie Perkins, the former representative, was elected a chancery judge in November.

Osborne will face two independent candidates, Troy Brown and Toris Williams, in the Nov. 5 general election. Because Osborne was sworn in in mid-March, and the state’s legislative session ended just before April, he’s only had a few weeks of experience. Still, Osborne, 71, said he’s ready to “fight” if he’s elected for a full term. “I’m going to fight to save the Greenwood hospital” by expanding Medicaid, Osborne said. He also wants to work hard to ensure that the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District is funded by fighting to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Edu-

cation Program (MAEP). The Legislature has fully funded the program twice since its inception in 1997. Osborne’s fight for education also includes full funding for colleges and universities and improvements the state’s early childhood development system. Osborne said he would also like to raise teacher salaries to be more competitive with other states in the Southeast. He also wants to address criminal justice reform. He said he wants to ensure that those who are incarcerated still have opportunities to receive an education so when they are released, they will have skills to find employment

rather than ending up behind bars again. A semi-retired civil rights lawyer, Osborne has had years of experience filing civil rights claims. “If you want to know what a person will do in the future, you need to look at what a person has done in the past,” he said. “I’ve worked on behalf of black and poor people all of my working life, and I still do that.” Osborne is also a former Leflore County judge. He resigned in 2008 after he was suspended for holding a 17-year-old girl in the county juvenile detention center without a trial. Brown, 55, faced Osborne in the March special election. As in his origi-

nal

run

months ago, Brown’s platform remains t h e same — bringing “the green back to Greenwood.” Brown He supports the expansion of Medicaid as one way to help Greenwood Leflore Hospital stay afloat, but he has another idea as well. He would like the hospital and Mississippi Valley State University to form a partnership to bring back a nursing program. That partnership is part of an even bolder plan

Brown envisions — Greenwood annexing Itta Bena, including MVSU. “We should be a university town. and that can happen,” he said. By annexing Itta Bena and MVSU, Greenwood can increase its tax base and in turn, help the funding for infrastructure and the public schools, he said. Greenwood’s continued population decline is a source of worry since some companies want a town to have a base population of at least 20,000 before investing there, Brown said. Greenwood’s population is estimated to be just below 14,000. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pÉÉ HOUSE, m~ÖÉ=Q

educated,” said Bedell, who has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Mississippi Va l l e y State University. He’s had Bedell

over 23 years of law enforcement experience, including his service as a narcotics sergeant for the Greenwood Police Department and an assistant chief for the Pickens Police Department. He also served with the U.S. Army in Mosul, Iraq, from 2009 to 2010.

“If I’m good enough to go overseas and protect your civil liberties, I should be good enough to be your sheriff to protect you right here at home,” Bedell said. In his view, building “rapport with the community” can better the county’s law enforcement. “It is the streets of the

community that make your law enforcement experience. If the community believes in you, they’ll be able to open up to you to have these crimes solved,” he said. Given that this is Bedell’s third campaign for sheriff, he said, “I think this time people are more aware.

They understand that I have stayed the course. They know that I’m serious about it. They know that I’m passionate about it.” “This race is not about me. It’s about the people,” he said. n `çåí~Åí=dÉê~êÇ=bÇáÅ=~í RUNJTOPV=çê=ÖÉÇáÅ]ÖïÅçãJ ãçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK

Banks, Bedell focused on service By GERARD EDIC pí~ÑÑ=têáíÉê

Both incumbent Ricky Banks, who was first elected sheriff of Leflore County in 1979, and his challenger, Demetrice Bedell say they want the job of sheriff because they want to serve the people. Bedell, who’s running as a Democrat, is attempting to unseat Banks, an independent, for a third time in a row in the Nov. 5 general election. Banks says his record speaks for him. “ I ’ m proud of my record of clearing up murders and burglaries and armed Banks robberies and things like that,” he said. “In this county, it’s a lot better than other counties around this area.” Banks, 71, emphasized that the experience he brings to the job is important. “I just have the experience of taking care of Leflore County. I feel like I’ve done a good job,” he said. Prior to becoming sheriff, Banks worked eight years as a deputy in the department. The sheriff said he’s dealt with changes in the law as well as running the Leflore County Jail, which averages about 100 inmates. “I’m concerned about the citizens of Leflore County. I still want to give my service to them,” Banks said. “I’m just here for the people. I’m not here for me.” Bedell, 49, is a school resource officer for the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District. “I think my resume speaks for itself. Voters ask for a sheriff that’s

LEFLORE COUNTY SHERIFF

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3 say they’d bring needed skills to job

PageQ Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

LEFLORE COUNTY CHANCERY CLERK ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By DAVID MONROE `áíó=bÇáíçê

With Christine Lymon not seeking reelection as Leflore County chancery clerk, three candidates are vying to step in: Johnny Gary, a Democrat, and Debra Tate Hibbler and Mary Rice-Roberson, who are independents. Gary, 46, who has spent most of his life in Leflore County, is making his second bid for the chancery clerk job. He says he Gary wants to be a “servant leader” who brings “integrity, character and equity” to the job. Gary graduated from Amanda Elzy High School in 1991 and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi Valley State University in 1996 and a master’s degree in rural policy and planning from Valley in 2013. Gary said he developed a greater appreciation for public service during his first campaign. In this kind of job, “you can’t just like what you’re doing,” he said. “You have to have a love for what you’re doing.” Gary served as a deputy circuit clerk for 1½ years beginning in 2012, so he has experience with filing, docketing and recording and intends to apply it to the Chancery Clerk’s Office.

“I believe that the office should be one of transparency, soundness and commitment,” he said. Gary started in management training at Big Star in 1995 and worked there until 1998. Since then, his employers have included Greenwood Leflore Hospital, the Leflore County Civic Center and AgriCenter, Dollar General and the Mississippi Department of Health. For example, at the hospital, he was a junior auditor and then storeroom manager, and at the Health Department he was a health educator and project specialist. “All the positions I’ve had since the time of me actually working have been in supervisory positions where I have managed people,” he said. He is now a full-time pastor at Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ in Glendora. Gary said he has learned to be persistent even when he didn’t have all the needed tools for a task. “I appreciate every opportunity I’ve had prior to this, because it has better prepared me for this office,” he said. Lymon also served as county administrator, a position appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Asked whether he would be willing to take on the responsibilities now held by the county administrator, Gary said that he would serve at the will of the people and the board. Hibbler, 60, grew up in Swiftown and graduated

from Leflore County High School in 1977. She earned accounting degrees, with honors, from Mississippi D e l t a Hibbler Community College in 1979 and Jackson State University in 1981. She has worked for Greenwood Leflore Hospital for 24 years, serving as its payroll administrator for 12. Previously, she spent 11 years at Mississippi Valley State University as an administrative assistant to the vice president, then in accounts payable, budget and restricted funds. She served as a Leflore County election commissioner for nine years. She is a board member of Main Street Greenwood, an Executive Committee member of the United Way of Leflore County and an Ambassador with the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce. Hibbler said she has worked in a variety of organizations to help improve the county and wants to continue that as chancery clerk. In addition to her financial skills, she said she brings an ability to communicate with people in difficult situations. “In accounting, you learn to be detailed and to double-check yourself and make sure you’re accurate in what you’re doing,” she said. “You get to handle

other people’s money, so you have to be very diligent in what you’re doing (and) trustworthy, or they wouldn’t want you to do it.” She said she is running because the job involves dealing with the public as well as finance. “With Ms. Lymon retiring, I just felt that it was time for me to take my shot at it,” she said. Hibbler said she can learn the details of a job quickly and multitask: “Every job that I’ve gone to, I’ve learned every phase of that job, whether it was my direct responsibility or not.” If she is elected, she would like to explore offering internships and mentoring opportunities and eventually automating some tasks. She also has said she would be capable of taking on the responsibilities currently held by the county administrator if they were added to the chancery clerk’s job. Rice-Roberson, 64, has served as a deputy clerk in the Chanc e r y Clerk’s Office s i n c e 2015. She has run for circuit clerk in two previRiceous elecRoberson tions. “I enjoy the work that I do,” she said. A Leflore County native, Rice-Roberson graduated from Amanda Elzy High School. After attending Jackson State University

for a short time, she returned home to work. She spent 20 years at Henderson & Baird Hardware, handling data processing, secretarial work and accounts receivable. She began working part time in the Circuit Clerk’s Office a few hours a night in addition to her day job before moving to the courthouse full time. She was a deputy court clerk from 1997 to 2012. After that, she served as office manager for the Leflore County Jail from 2012 to 2015 and then moved to the Chancery Clerk’s Office. Initially, she helped collect taxes and handled passports as well as mental commitments and alcohol and drug matters. “I was sitting up front, so basically anybody who came in the front, I was that person that they talked to,” she said. Later, she moved to the back of the office and began dealing with chancellors, wills, divorces and other areas while still handling passports. She said she always liked working with the courts, and in handling court records she also dealt with matters related to the Department of Human Services. Other duties have included filing wills and probate cases. “It’s been interesting,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot.” Rice-Roberson said she frequently receives phone calls that should be going to another office. “My goal is to try to educate the people of Leflore

County who don’t know what the office is there for and some of the services that they offer,” she said. For example, each June, chancellors offer clinics in which attorneys offer free services related to divorces, wills, name changes and other matters. She often works with Life Help, the Sheriff’s Department and sometimes Greenwood Leflore Hospital on mental commitments. “I’m the initial person that the families will see, because I’m the one who does the commitments,” she said. She wants to educate people about the mental health issues facing the county, especially in a time of reduced funding. “People don’t understand the amount of mental illness that’s in this county, period,” she said. Rice-Roberson said she has had some gratifying days and some very stressful days on the job. An example of a good day is when someone previously committed for drug use is off drugs; a bad day, she said, might be when “I’m driving down 82, and I see someone who needs help — off their medication — and is walking across the highway not really knowing where they are.” She said she is not seeking to be county administrator but would focus on serving the county’s residents as chancery clerk. n `çåí~Åí=a~îáÇ=jçåêçÉ ~í= RUNJTOPS= çê= ÇãçåêçÉ] ÖïÅçããçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK

has served as prosecutor since 2000. He grew up in Greenville and graduated from Greenville Oakes H i g h School in 1973. After grad-

uating from Delta State University in 1978 with a degree in criminal justice, he began working with the Greenville Police Department, moving up from cadet to dispatcher, patrolman and then detective. Next, he joined the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics as an agent based in Leflore County.

“I like law enforcement,” he said. “Once it gets in your blood, it kind of stays in your blood. ... I got to work with prosecutors, and some of them are the reason I decided to go to law school.” He left in 1985 to enter law school at Mississippi College. After completing his degree in 1988, he

began practicing with Greenwood attorneys Jim Burgoon and John Fraiser. The firm became Burgoon and Oakes after Fraiser left; then, in 2010, when Burgoon became ill, Oakes began running the practice himself. He represented the Greenwood School District for more than a decade and now works

mostly in real estate. Oakes pointed to his experience working with the police, MBN and others in law enforcement. Not only does he continue to learn new things on the job, but he can also help the officers, too, he said. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pÉÉ PROSECUTOR, m~ÖÉ=R

Oakes faces challenger in Pulley By DAVID MONROE `áíó=bÇáíçê

As he runs for another term as Leflore County prosecutor, Richard Oakes is facing an opponent for the first time — attorney Kelvin Pulley. Oakes, 64, who is running as an independent,

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`çåíáåìÉÇ=Ñêçã=m~ÖÉ=P ---------------------------------------------------------Brown has said he would support some type of law to allow the annexation of Itta Bena if he’s elected to the state House. Brown also said he supports the legalization of medical marijuana, strengthening the manufacturing industry and fully funding MAEP. In the past, he’s run for the U.S. Senate and Mississipi lieutenant governor. By running as an inde-

LEFLORE COUNTY PROSECUTOR

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pendent, Brown said he can avoid the hyper-partisan party politics. He also objected to allegations that an independent is a “closet Republican.” In a written statement, Brown said, “There are 29 more Republicans in the Mississippi House of Representatives than there are Democrats. What does it mean? Why does it matter? “It means that the next representative from District 32 must be able to work across the aisles – free from the politics of hate and revenge that often plague deliberations on the House

floor, independent of the political ‘baggage’ that comes with political party labels.” He continued, “One person can make a difference if that one can work with others. That’s what being independent is all about!” Brown is currently a contractor with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Williams, 55, is making his first run for public office. “I’m running because I think I can make a difference because I actually saw the needs of the district,” he said. For 25 years, Williams worked as the branch direc-

tor for the Greenwood WIN J o b C e n t e r. T hr o ug h that position, from which he retired two years ago, Williams said he Williams saw people struggle to find work because they didn’t have the proper education. He helped people find jobs, trained people for jobs and also dealt with unemployment insurance. “Workforce development needs to be improved,” he said, and he’d like to spon-

sor legislation that does so. A strong workforce means a better district, he said. “If we can bring more jobs, better-paying jobs to the district and Greenwood, now, that’ll improve the economic development situation,” he said. He also wants to improve education. “We need to fully fund our schools,” said Williams, who favors full funding of MAEP. Williams is now the guest relations manager for The Alluvian. “We see people from all over the world,” he said. “When they get to Greenwood, they want to know about blues. There’s nothing much in

Greenwood we can send them to as far as blues is concerned. We don’t have any places we can actually send them to listen to blues music.” He would like to change that. “I’m always getting various ideas from the guests that I talk to from the areas that they live in,” he said. As a lawmaker, he would like to influence state support for some of those ideas, including revamping boarded-up areas of downtown Greenwood by attracting new small businesses, he said. n `çåí~Åí=dÉê~êÇ=bÇáÅ=~í RUNJTOPV=çê=ÖÉÇáÅ]ÖïÅçãJ ãçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK


Moore, Grayson running for post

Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageR slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

LEFLORE COUNTY DISTRICT 2 SUPERVISOR

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Nearly from the moment that Reginald Moore began learning  the  job  of  Leflore County  supervisor,  he  had to  start  campaigning  to keep the post. “It’s been sort of like holding  a  dual  role.  It’s  been challenging at times,” said the District 2 incumbent. Moore, 46, was appointed in December 2018 to fill out the final year in the term of

his father, Robert Moore, a veteran supervisor who  died in  a  onecar  accid e n t . Reginald Moore easily won the D e m o Moore cratic nomination  in  August  against three  challengers  and  will face  independent  Lelavie Grayson  Sr.  in  the  Nov.  5

general election. Moore,  who  works  as  a field  representative  in Greenwood for Democratic U.S.  Rep.  Bennie  Thompson, said the experience he has gained over the past 10 months  on  the  Board  of Supervisors has been “both enlightening and priceless.” Besides  learning  about drainage  and  roads  and bridges  — the  nuts  and bolts  of  a  county  supervisor’s  responsibility  — Moore said he began to see

other, more novel ways that he could use the position to improve the lives of his constituents. For example, he worked out  a  deal  with  Delta Electric  Power  Association to  install  additional  street lighting  on  King  Circle  in the  Browning  community. Moore has been personally picking  up  the  cost  of  the electricity  to  power  the lights, which he says runs about $120 a month. The  idea  caught  the

attention  of  his  fellow supervisors,  who  later voted  to  allocate  $300  per month  in  each  of  the  five districts to defray the cost of adding streetlights in dimly lit  areas.  Moore  said  that once that allocation begins, he will use it to supplement lighting  elsewhere  in District 2 or to fund weekend  cleanups, while continuing to personally pay the tab for the additional King Circle streetlights. “There’s no reason for our

community  in  different parts of the city and county to be in the dark at night,” he said. “It’s just not safe.” Moore  also  recently  convinced the board to authorize  county  workers  to spend  a  Saturday  leveling low  spots  and  re-erecting fallen  headstones  at  the chronically neglected Magnolia  and  Good  Shepherd cemeteries in Greenwood. He  said  these  initiatives ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pÉÉ DISTRICT 2, m~ÖÉ=S

`çåíáåìÉÇ=Ñêçã=m~ÖÉ=Q ---------------------------------------------------------“I can  share  my  knowledge  and  experience  with law  enforcement  officers, and I enjoy doing that,” he said.  “It’s  a  way  to  give back.” The  prosecutor’s  responsibilities largely are laid out in  statutes,  so  he  doesn’t have  much  opportunity  to make changes in the office.  Oakes  said,  however, that he and the many other people  in  the  system  have things operating well. “We try to make the system  streamlined,  and  we try  to  make  sure  that nobody  sits  in  jail  without

having  an  attorney appointed  —  make  sure they  get  their  preliminary hearings  in  a  timely manner,” he said. Oakes  said  he  hasn’t grown tired of the job and looks forward to continuing to serve. “People  become  police officers  to  help  people.  I mean, that’s the underlying motive,” he said. “I became a  lawyer  to  help  people. There’s  no  real  glory  to being  the  county  prosecutor,  but  it’s  a  job,  and  you get  to  be  there  and  do  a small part.” Pulley,  a  32-year-old Democrat,  said  his  reason for  running  is  simple:  “I wanted to help my community.” He  grew  up  in  Greenwood  and  graduated  from

Greenwood High School in 2005  as class  salutatorian. He went on to  Jackson S t a t e University a n d studied history.  Pulley He  became  interested  in  a  legal career after sitting in on a class  at  the  Mississippi College  law  school,  and after  graduating  from Jackson  State  in  2008,  he completed his law degree at Mississippi  College  in December 2010. “I never had any thought but  to  come  back  to Greenwood  to  work,”  he said. Pulley spent 1½ years as

a  clerk  for  Circuit  Judge Betty  Sanders  and  then worked for 3½ years in the office of Cleveland attorney Levi Boone while living in Greenwood.  The  areas  of litigation included workers compensation,  injuries from  accidents  and  suits against nursing homes.  He  opened  his  Greenwood law office in January 2017.  He  said  his  busy practice  includes  mainly personal  injury,  criminal defense  and  family  law cases. He  served  as  Indianola city prosecutor temporarily for  about  10  months  and filled  in  on  Sunflower County Justice Court cases when the prosecutor had a conflict.  “Opportunity  just kind  of  placed  me  there, and I had the experience to

do it,” he said.  Pulley  said  he  has  seen many  defendants  around his age go through the justice system, including some who  have  mental  health issues and other problems. He  said  he  would  stress fairness as a prosecutor. “A lot of people look at the county  prosecutor  as  ‘He’s throwing  everybody  away to jail,’  but that’s not really the purpose of it,” he said. “The  prosecutor  makes sure  that  everything  goes fairly,  not  only  for  the  victims  of  crime,  but  makes sure  that  defendants  are properly  charged  with what  they  should  be charged with.” Pulley  said  the  prosecutor  does  not  receive  as much  publicity  as  some other officials but must be

visible and stress that he is there to help the community. “There’s  a  dignity  and respect that comes with the office, and you have to conduct  yourself  in  that manner,” he said. Since  prosecutors  are linked to law enforcement, they also must make themselves  available  to  answer questions  about  the  system,  he  said.  Pulley  also said  he  has  good  relationships with others in the law enforcement community. “I feel that I have a very good  personality  that  I think I got from my father, and I think that I can work well  with  all  people,”  he said.  n `çåí~Åí=a~îáÇ=jçåêçÉ ~í= RUNJTOPS= çê= ÇãçåêçÉ] ÖïÅçããçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK

By TIM KALICH bÇáíçê

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Self, Mitchell face each other again

PageS Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

LEFLORE COUNTY DISTRICT 4 SUPERVISOR

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By TIM KALICH bÇáíçê

Wayne Self and Eric Mitchell are familiar political foes. On Nov. 5, it will be the third consecutive election in which Mitchell, the Democratic nominee, has tried to unseat Self, an independent now completing his fifth term as the Leflore County supervisor from District 4. Self, 51, said that one of h i s strengths is being a “people person.” “I’m the type of person that people can call any Self time of the day or night,” said Self, who is also serving as president of the five-member board. Self, who owns a small trucking company, said that one of his major points of recent emphasis in office has been to reduce flash flooding in Itta Bena as well as in the Rising Sun

subdivision, located south of Greenwood. In Itta Bena, he said, the county spent $30,000 installing pumps last year on the west end of town, where the flooding tends to be most concentrated. He said the county is now trying to purchase land from a farmer in that area so as to create a spot where water can be safely retained until it can drain off. A longer-term initiative, he said, would be to divert rainwater so that more of it flows to the east end of the town, rather than the west, and into Roebuck Lake. He estimated that presently 80 to 85 percent of the water that falls in Itta Bena winds up on the west end. “When you get 6, 7 inches of rain, it really puts the area down on the west end,” he said. In Rising Sun, a different approach is being taken, he said. There, the emphasis is on repairing streets so the water will flow more readily out of the subdivision. “Once you repair the

roads, you repair the drainage,” Self said. Three-fourths of Rising Sun Circle has been repaired and repaved so far, and when that street is finished, Star Street will be next, he said. Self said the county is also in the process of improving the street lighting in Rising Sun and the nearby Long Acres subdivision. Mitchell, like Self an Itta B e n a native, said he continues to challenge the incumbent because of what he perceives Mitchell to be a long and steady decline in Leflore County’s second largest municipality. He said that Self’s 20 years on the board have not produced results. “He’s been there longer than any sitting supervisor that’s on that board, but yet, in my opinion, he has the worst district out of all

five of those districts,” said Mitchell, 42. When Mitchell graduated from Jackson State University in 1999, he moved back to his hometown and opened Capricorn Internet Cafe with his wife, Teresa, who also owns a styling salon next door. In addition, Mitchell is employed by the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District as a computer technician. He said he could see Itta Bena in physical decline and losing businesses and population — concerns that motivated him to seek political office. “I felt the need to step up to the plate and run for supervisor, knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of the people in the community,” he said. If elected, he said he would work to create more after-school activities for students so as to provide healthy and productive outlets for them. “Kids are not standing on the corner because they want to,” Mitchell said. “They’re standing on the

corner because they have no choice. They have nothing else to do with their time.” Beautification would also be a major point of emphasis, from getting owners to clean up or clear away dilapidated property to putting more county manpower on cleaning out ditches and cutting grass along roads and on public property. He said not enough attention is being paid to the ball fields used by youth teams. “Kids shouldn’t have to practice in fields where grass is standing 10 inches tall,” Mitchell said. One peripheral issue that has been injected into the District 4 contest is the strained relationship between Self and District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham. That tension boiled over at a board meeting in September, when Self accused Abraham, a former longtime chancery clerk, of campaigning for Mitchell — an allegation that both Abraham and Mitchell have denied. Self

took particular exception to Abraham saying that the accusation was “the stupidest thing I ever heard.” Said Self, “Abraham’s got a problem with calling folks stupid, and that’s something that I think he needs to keep out of his mouth.” Mitchell said there needs to be greater cooperation not only among county officials but also between supervisors and municipal officeholders. “We as county government or city officials need to come together to see what we can do to make this area better,” he said. Even though he has not had much luck running against Self in the past, Mitchell said he finds inspiration in the words of his late father to Mitchell’s older brother. “He told him to never give up on trying to do what is right, because what you do to help people will have a greater impact than anything you were to accomplish in life.” n `çåí~Åí=qáã=h~äáÅÜ=~í RUNJTOQP= çê= íâ~äáÅÜ] ÖïÅçããçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK

Chambers, 56, who has worked on the district’s roads for nine years, and Kelvin “Hollywood” Hilton, 45, who makes a living as a truck driver hauling grain, mainly for farmers, over district and county roads. Each would also say that while roads and their conditions are a large part of a supervisor’s responsibilities, the county has other important issues that demand attention. Collins, who is campaigning for a fourth term, said experience has taught him how to address the needs of the district and county. “It’s a learning process all of the time,” he said, and its citizens help provide the education. “You have to love people” and be willing not only to

listen to them but to act on their requests if possible, Collins explained. No call for help is too small, he said. “Sometimes they call about a snake under the garage,” he said. But if people need help, they need help.” There are emergencies, such as those that are weather-related. He and other supervisors “get phone calls and get out of bed.” They don’t just send a crew in response. “We ride out there with everybody else,” he said. He said he has learned how important it is get along with everyone on the Board of Supervisors in order to achieve what is needed for the county. This leads to different kinds of progress, including

economic. He pointed to the expansion of Milwaukee Tool in recent years. “I am proud to have helped bring Milwaukee Tool and the all of the jobs created,” he said. Collins noted that other businesses have been added during his time, naming a pair on U.S. 82: The Landing and McDonald’s. He continued, mentioning the recent merger of the Greenwood and Leflore County public school districts. “I hope we have gotten the school system on the right track,” Collins said. He is pleased with the county’s financial situation, describing it as “one of the best financially of all of the counties in the Delta.”

He mentioned the new Viking connector road, which he said should have the effect of bringing in more jobs. Collins said he is concerned about financial losses at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, which is publicly owned by the county and city. “We have got to work on keeping the hospital,” he said. The hospital board, on which both the county and city have representation, has been looking at options as a result of the losses. These included the possibility of selling or leasing the hospital to a system of hospitals, such as those based in Memphis or Jackson. Also, Collins said, “We have got to decide who we

are going to choose as a new county administrator.” That post currently is filled by Chancery Clerk Christine Lymon, who is retiring. Collins said he recently served with Joyce Chiles, board attorney, and District 2 Supervisor Reginald Moore on investigating whether the county should obtain delinquent garbage collection fees by having them deducted from the state income tax refunds of people who have not paid. Recently, the supervisors approved the plan. “I am proud of that,” he said, explaining those who owe fees can “come in with a plan” and avoid having the fees deducted from their refunds. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pÉÉ DISTRICT 5, m~ÖÉ=T

Candidates know a lot about roads By SUSAN MONTGOMERY pí~ÑÑ=têáíÉê

Each of the three candidates in Leflore County for District 5 supervisor knows a good bit about the status of roads in the district and county. The three-term incumb e n t , Democrat Robert Collins, 70, co-owner of Collins Truck and Tr a c t o r, has experience with Collins the district’s gravel and paved roadways from his 12 years as a supervisor. His challengers are independents Derrick “Chitchy”

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LEFLORE COUNTY DISTRICT 5 SUPERVISOR

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`çåíáåìÉÇ=Ñêçã=m~ÖÉ=R ---------------------------------------------------------------------are a continuation of his father’s “legacy of service.” “I kind of think that he’s in heaven looking down with a smile on his face,” Moore said, before adding jokingly, “He’s still a little critical of me, but of course we all have room for improvement.” One initiative for which Moore acknowledges he has taken some flak is his urging Leflore County to participate in a statewide program that allows counties to collect debts owed to them by intercepting the debtors’ state income tax refund. Leflore County plans

to use the program primarily to attack a backlog of severely delinquent garbage fees, which are estimated to total about $1.3 million. Moore emphasizes that only state income tax checks will be subject to seizure, not the typically much larger federal income tax refunds. And, he said, it was either enroll in this program or hire a collection agency, which would most likely garnish debtors’ payroll checks. He said if the county is able to reduce the garbage debt, the additional revenue will enable it to purchase new garbage trucks, addressing the complaints of residents about trucks that steadily leak their odiferous cargo. Grayson, Moore’s opponent, agrees that the gar-bage fees need to be paid, but he said he

would not have supported going after tax refunds. “When people get their taxes, they really need it because a lot of people don’t have the money,” said Grayson. “I would have tried to find a different way to do that.” Grayson Grayson, 61, was a Greenwood firefighter for 28 years before retiring a decade ago. He has since worked in retail, including the last three years as the manager of the Family Dollar store on Mississippi 7. He also owns a company that builds and repairs houses. Grayson said if he is elected, he

has “a lot of ideas I can bring to the table,” but when asked what those are, he declined to elaborate. “I don’t want to give anybody else any of my ideas because the election is not here yet. But I’m just letting everybody know there is a lot of stuff I’d like to do differently, a lot of stuff I can do for the community and also I can do for the citizens in Leflore County.” While Moore has been paying for streetlights and handing out $100 vouchers to help some residents defray the cost of their electricity, Grayson said he would more than one-up the incumbent’s generosity. He pledged, if elected, to set aside 60% of his salary as a county supervisor — currently $40,400 a year — and establish a “District 2 relief fund,” which

would be used to help constituents in a financial bind, such as losing a job, being burned out of their house or getting behind on their utility bill. “Whatever situation comes up that God puts on you, I’m gonna be the one to try to help you get over it,” Grayson said. Such a promise, he said, is no campaign gimmick but an expansion of a charitable attitude that he applies already to customers at Family Dollar, where he will personally chip in to help those who can’t afford to pay for their groceries. “This is not something I’m doing because I’m running,” he said. “This is something I do all the time.” n `çåí~Åí= qáã= h~äáÅÜ= ~í= RUNJ TOQP= çê= íâ~äáÅÜ]ÖïÅçããçåJ ïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK


6 candidates are running for 2 seats

Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageT slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

GREENWOOD LEFLORE CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL BOARD

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By GERARD EDIC pí~ÑÑ=têáíÉê

Six candidates are seeking seats on the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School Board. Dr. Ro’Shaun Bailey and Cora Denise Stewart Lowe face each other in District 4. And District 5 has four candidates for its seat: Dr. Curressia Brown, Jackie Cooper-Lewis, George Ellis Jr. and Niqua GrahamBrooks. The winners will replace board members Randy Clark and Anthony Gilmore at the start of

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`çåíáåìÉÇ=Ñêçã=m~ÖÉ=S --------------------------------------------------------Meanwhile, subdivision streets are being repaved, and he supports helping Greenwood with repaving Martin Luther King Drive, which is in his district. Collins also has worked continuously to try to prevent heavy trucks from using County Road 512, which is in District 5, as a shortcut because the road can’t bear their weight. “The base of the road wasn’t made for 80,000 pounds,” he said. But “we don’t have the resources to give them a ticket.” The state Department of Transportation has scales that can be set up for the purpose of ticketing those driving overweight trucks, and Collins said he is waiting for the department to find a time when it can do so. Chambers, who works for the county unit system, has had direct dealings with road issues. “I know a lot about it. District 5 is running Chambers p r e t t y good, but it is just understaffed,” he said. “There’s a lot that needs to be done in District 5. “Old culverts need to be replaced. We have got poor street lighting in some subdivisions. We are in desperate need of flood pump repairs in some subdivisions.” He would make a priority of the condition of roads and bridges along with street lighting. Just as important, he said, is doing a better job of communicating the issues before the Board of Supervisors with citizens of the district and working with the Greenwood-Leflore Consolidated School District to attract top-notch teachers. “I am talking about trying to make the school system better to get people here. You have to have a reason for a person to want

January. All of the candidates — who all have work experience in education — support a school district bond issue, which is a method for borrowing money. They differ, however, in how they would like to see funds from a bond issue used.

afpqof`q=Q Lowe, 63, pastor of Bethlehem African Methodist Episcopal Church in Winona, is a retired Greenwood Middle School English language arts teacher. Prior to that, she spent 25 years as

a teacher in New Orleans. “I feel that this is what God wants me to do,” Lowe said, adding that she has more service to Lowe render in the field of education. Regardless of whether she’s elected to the board, Lowe said she’d like to strengthen the relationship between the school district and the community. “The separation between

the school system and the community — there needs to be a better line of communication between the community and the school district,” she said. She said she has ideas for strengthening that connection if elected to the board. For example, she’d like the school board to conduct listening tours, either throughout the system or at the consolidated school district’s central office, to allow people in the community to voice their concerns. Lowe said that she’d like to have the school board meetings rotate through-

out different schools in the district, rather being held strictly at the central district office in downtown Greenwood, as is done now. Lowe also wants to incorporate more of the Itta Bena community within the district. She said that the public schools in Itta Bena — Leflore County elementary and high schools — are vital for that area. If bonds are issued, Lowe said that she’d first like to “fix what we have” rather than focusing on building any new schools for the district. “If the schools that we

have aren’t functional, let’s make them functional,” she said. Bailey, 35, is assistant vice president of student affairs and campus life at Mississippi Valley State UniverBailey sity. Before that, he had 12 years of educational experience, such as teaching biology at ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pÉÉ SCHOOL, m~ÖÉ=NM

to come here to work,” Chambers said. “The first thing they want to know is, How is the school system?” He continued, “We have got to have a reason for a person to want come here and work here and stay here.” Chambers is a 1981 graduate of Greenwood High School. He spent more than two years studying industrial technology at Jackson State University, where he played in the band. “I have played tuba from the Greenwood junior high band to Jackson State. We had the only high school around here with eight to 10 tuba players.”

He said his grandparents, the Rev. and Mrs. B.T. McSwine, raised six grandchildren who went to college or into the military. He worked for the Mississippi Department of Corrections for 11 years and Balkamp for seven. He got his nickname as a band member at Jackson State. “I was joking around with a microphone,” he remembered. He announced, “I am Chitchy Chan on the microphone, a place called Greenwood is my home.” After that, his friends called him Chitchy. Hilton, who is known by the nickname “Hollywood” in numerous circles, said he is running for supervisor

because “I want to make a change, not for me, but for the people — for the betterment of all of us.” T h e Morgan City naHilton tive has a clear view of the condition of the district’s roads because he uses them while hauling grain. He has ideas about what needs to be fixed. “The county needs to keep the ditches clean,” he said. When it rains, the ditches fill because they are clogged with debris, and

the water spills out onto roads, sometimes completely blocking them. His thought is to avoid the problem by preventing it. He likely brings that kind of thinking to leadership roles in the community. Hilton is a 32nd degree Mason, president of the Mississippi Slab Riders, treasurer of the Mississippi Motorcycle Association and assistant Morgan City fire chief. The latter is a volunteer job coordinated by the county’s fire protection program. He’s pleased with the program. The firefighters are well equipped and trained, and fighting fires

has helped to teach him the importance of working effectively with others. This, he said, requires paying attention to what people have to say. “If you just listen to them, we can get something done,” Hilton explained. That thought applies to how he wants to work with Board of Supervisors for the betterment of the entire county. “I am a people person,” he said. “My interest is going to be for District 5, but the other districts as well because we are going to be a team.” n `çåí~Åí= pìë~å jçåíÖçãÉêó=~í=RUNJTOPP=çê ëãçåíÖçãÉêó]ÖïÅçããçåJ ïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK


PageU Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================


Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageV slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================


Three running to succeed Mullins

PageNM Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

CARROLL COUNTY CHANCERY CLERK

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By TIM KALICH bÇáíçê

The most crowded race in Carroll County is down to three. Democratic nominee Casey Carpenter faces two independents, Jenifer Houston and Danette Corder Roland, in the Nov. 5 general election to replacing retiring Chancery Clerk Stanley “Sugar” Mullins. All three cite their experience as being suited for a job that involves the recording of land and court records, serving as the clerk for the Board of Supervisors and, because Carroll County maintains two county seats, handling some circuit clerk responsibilities at the courthouse in Carrollton.

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`çåíáåìÉÇ=Ñêçã=m~ÖÉ=T ---------------------------------------------------------MVSU and serving as a chemistry and physics teacher for grades 9-12 as part of Upward Bound. “My campaign platform is, ‘Let’s A.C.T.,’” Bailey said. “A” stands for academics, Bailey said. “If you’re going to be in the business of academics, we must provide students with the best education that we absolutely can,” he said. “We have to give them our absolute best.” The “C” stands for children — a reminder of whom the school board serves. The “T” stands for teachers. “Sometimes we separate the children and the teachers from different lenses,” he said. Rather, the success of students depends on the success of their teachers, he said. “We must provide teachers with the adequate supplies they need to provide quality instruction for our children,” he said. Regarding the use of a school district bond issue should one pass in the future, Bailey said, “I definitely support a bond for the building of a new school,” such as a high school. Bailey also said that it’s difficult for the school district to support 12 schools. He said it’s too premature to say which school or schools would be closed, explaining that the choice would be based upon data and recommendations from Dr. Mary Brown, the superintendent. Bailey said he’d also like to see everyone within the district, from the students to the faculty, be held accountable. A good school district can help the local area, Bailey said. “Economic development is driven by education to a

Carpenter, 38, won the three-person Democratic primary in August, garnering 62% of the vote in the runoff Carpenter a g a i n s t Christy Noah. The owner of a tree-cutting service, Carpenter said his first campaign for public office has been “a great experience.” Prior to going into business for himself eight years ago, Carpenter worked for 15 years as a digital technician for AT&T, where his main duties involved installing equipment on cellphone towers and installing and maintaining

degree,” he said, elaborating that the education of a workforce can help draw in companies and jobs.

afpqof`q=R Brown, 52, is the acting chair of MVSU’s business administration Department. She is also an assistant professor Brown of business at the university. Though Brown does not work in a K-12 setting, she has worked with students who have come out of it, she said, explaining that sometimes students need remediation. “It’s an advantage because I have the proper seat to see the outcome of our school districts,” she said. In some cases, Brown said, she’s worked with higher education programs that have assisted students who have come from underserved and underresourced school districts. Investing in teachers also needs to be a priority, she said: “We have to make sure that teachers are treated fairly, that they’re treated equitably.” It’s important that their time be valued and that they aren’t stepped on, she said. She also wants the school district to increase its focus on the mental health of its students — at an individual level. “We overlook or underappreciate mental health and awareness,” she said. Brown said investments should also be made into the district’s facilities. “A school bond is necessary. It’s critical,” she said. “We have some facilities that should be replaced.” She didn’t name what schools should be replaced, explaining that a walkthrough would need to be conducted to assess the conditions. She did say, however,

E911 emergency communications systems for local governments. Carroll County was one of the customers he handled. Carpenter, who attended Mississippi Delta Community College, said he has learned about financial accounting both in his own business as well as by serving as chairman of the Finance Committee at North Carrollton Baptist Church and as a board member at Carroll Academy, his alma mater. If elected, he said he did not expect to make any significant immediate changes in the operation of the chancery clerk’s office. He said he would need to first “get my feet on the ground” — an apt expression for someone who spends a lot of time sus-

that the Amanda Elzy campus — which includes the junior high and high schools — shouldn’t have to require students to go outside to change class in 2019. “We have to spend money to create those efficiencies,” Brown said. Brown also mentioned that it’s better that communities within the county have schools, rather than building a few big schools. There are several benefits of community schools, Brown explained, such as smaller class sizes and shorter bus commutes. “Students need the attention of their instructors,” she said. Cooper-Lewis, 54, is the principal of St. Francis of Assisi School. Prior to that she held various administrative posiCoopertions in the Lewis former Leflore County School District and was a school attendance officer for the Mississippi Department of Education, among other jobs. “Because I’ve dealt with the public in all of my jobs, I think that would help me be able to interact with people,” she said, adding that she’d be able to relate to the issues they may be experiencing. She prioritizes school safety and would like to see the formation of a safety task force, which would be composed of students and staff within the school district as well as people from outside entities. In addition, she’d like safety drills to be practiced regularly. Transparency and accountability are also important matters for CooperLewis. “I believe that the public has the right to know what’s going on in the schools,” she said. If elected to the board, Cooper-Lewis said she’d meet with her constituents

pended in a bucket truck — while “trying to work hard to help our supervisors and get the funding we can for the county to keep it moving forward.” He pledged to perform the duties of the office with integrity. “I just want everyone to know that I will do a fair and honest job and treat everyone with respect,” he said. “I’ll be someone they can come to for help through the chancery clerk’s office.” Carpenter and his wife, Alison, a registered nurse, have three children, ages 10 to 14. The family lives in Carrollton. Jenifer Houston says when she learned that Mullins was retiring, she concluded that the office would be a perfect fit for her because it involves the

every three months to update them on the district. It would also be an opportunity to allow the public to ask her questions, she said. “It’s vitally important that everybody is held accountable to do the jobs that they’re accounted for,” she said. On that same note, she said state lawmakers need to be held accountable as well since they write laws that can affect education. Regarding the use of a school district bond issue, should one pass, CooperLewis said she’d like to see a new “state-of-the-art high school where all the (district’s) high school students come together as one.” Yet, for that to happen, she said, people need to be informed. Influential people within the community could explain the ins and outs of the bond issue, she said. She also said that she wants all schools within the district to be equal and to let the staff and faculty know that they’re appreciated. Ellis, 67, was appointed by the Greenwood City Council to the Greenw o o d School Board in 2011. He served on the board until the end of Ellis J u n e , when the former Greenwood and Leflore County school districts merged. Through his time on the Greenwood board, Ellis said, he faced challenges such as hiring a superintendent and fighting to avoid a takeover by the Mississippi Department of Education. He previously ran for Greenwood mayor and the City Council. In his current campaign, he said, “I’m trying to touch every house, every doorstep to let people know I’m very serious.” Given that some students may come from broken homes, Ellis said, the school district needs to take

three areas for which she has considerable background — “the legal side of things, the business side of things and the people side of things.” Houston, 39, has worked in human resources for the past four years, the last three at Viking Range. Prior to that, she Houston owned and operated two businesses, Delta Feed and The Western Store, for 14 years. And for six years, both while she was working toward her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mississippi

an increased role in nurturing students. He’d like the education of children to be more of a “team concept” by replacing students’ individual desks with round tables. He’d also like to increase the district’s vocational instruction and ensure that employees with an hourly wage are given a “living wage.” Though Ellis is in favor of a bond issue to improve the district’s facilities and build a new school, he said the district should work first to keep an accountability grade of a “C” or higher. Should the consolidated school district find itself facing a state takeover, Ellis said residents would still have to pay for a bond issue without having control of the district. As the district works to maintain a good accountability rating, updating its facilities would help increase the performance of the students, he said. At that point, Ellis said, that citizens wouldn’t mind paying for a bond issue if they knew it would help students. “There’s a lot of work to be done to get us to this process,” he said. Some of that work also includes updating the technology of the schools and ensuring that the two former school districts have been “blended from top to bottom,” he said. “Our kids are very, very smart, and if we can get them the resources, God knows where that would take them to,” he said. Graham-Brooks, 47, has been an assistant administrator for Gilliam Head Start for nine years. She’s also an on-call Grahamadjunct Brooks professor for MVSU’s Social Sciences Department. Through her Head Start position, Graham-Brooks

and afterward, she worked for her father, former attorney Lee Jones, helping to run his legal practice in Greenwood. She said that one of the most important aspects of the chancery clerk’s office is working with the public. “I feel that I have the experience through my HR experience and through owning my own business, dealing with the general public, helping them, aiding them, making sure that all their needs are met.” She said if elected, she would begin to formulate a plan to update the technology in the office so that land deeds and other records would be accessible to the public online. She said she would be cautious about ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------pÉÉ CHANCERY, m~ÖÉ=NO said she has assisted other supervisors, ensured the safety and security of the students and staff and made sure policies and procedures are in place. Given her experience dealing with policies and procedures, GrahamBrooks said she would be able to lend her expertise for the school district to ensure its policies and procedures are equitable. If they are not, she said, she would help remedy that. Similar to Brown, Graham-Brooks deals with students outside of the K12 system. In her case, however, she deals with students who are preparing to enter K-12. She recalled observing former Head Start students progress in grade school. That experience would also help her on the school board, she said, since she informs Head Start parents what their children can expect upon leaving the Head Start center. “I will kind of have a feel on how our children are progressing and give me an opportunity to somewhat follow them,” she said. Like the other candidates, Graham-Brooks supports a school district bond issue. “Of course I would like to see the bond issue come to fruition. It will allow the students a new facility,” she said. A new facility would ignite “a child’s learning abilities to be more focused on the subject matter,” and productivity levels would increase, she said. In addition, a new facility would allow parents to become more involved in their child’s education and ensure that they wouldn’t transfer their children to another school with better resources. “I just feel as if I’ll be a good actor to the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District. I’m ready to work hand in hand with the existing board,” Graham-Brooks said. n `çåí~Åí=dÉê~êÇ=bÇáÅ=~í RUNJTOPV=çê=ÖÉÇáÅ]ÖïÅçãJ ãçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK


Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageNN slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================


Neal, Harper both tout experience

PageNO Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

CARROLL COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR/COLLECTOR

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By RUTHIE ROBISON j~å~ÖáåÖ=bÇáíçê

Wilton Neal wants to use his 40 years of experience to continue serving the residents of Carroll County as tax assessor/collecNeal tor. Neal, the incumbent who won the Democratic nomination in August, will face independent candidate Donna Gregg Harper in the Nov. 5 election. Harper is also running on experience, with more than 25 years of work related to the duties of the tax assessor/collector. Neal, 69, said when he first became the Carroll County tax assessor/collector, he was the youngest to hold the office. His father, Charles, who he said taught him how to be honest and hard-working, was the one who encouraged Neal to run for public office when he was just 24 years old. “He said, ‘Son, if you run, I’ll put the gas in your car,” Neal said. So he did, and he took office in January 1976.

`Ü~åÅÉêó

`çåíáåìÉÇ=Ñêçã=m~ÖÉ=NM ---------------------------------------------------------making any other changes until she has had the opportunity to observe firsthand how things are currently done. “I think you have to live the life, so to say, in order to know what needs to be changed,” she said. Born in Greenwood, Houston has lived in Carroll County since starting sixth grade. She served for two years as an alderwoman for the town of North Carrollton but had to give that position up when she and her family moved into the country. She is married to Lee Houston, a state trooper, and they have two daughters, ages 7 and 4. Danette Corder Roland is the only attorney in the contest. She says that 22 years of experience working in the courts and in Roland courthouses all over North Mississippi give her the advantage over her two opponents. A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, the 48-yearold Carroll County native has been a solo practitioner for the past 15 years. She has worked mostly with real estate transactions, while also drafting

From there, he had a 36year career as the tax assessor/collector. He announced his retirement in 2011, and Pam Mann, who worked in the office for 25 years under Neal, ran for election and won. When her term neared its end, Mann decided to retire. “She said, ‘Wilton, my decision to retire would be a lot easier if you’d run again,’” said Neal. “So I prayed about it.” Neal won his 10th election. He said he is seeking another term because he enjoys what he does and enjoys helping people. “I just enjoy dealing with people and helping people work through problems,” he said. With updates in technology, Neal has more time to spend with the residents of Carroll County, which is his favorite part of the job. He also likes be a problemsolver, which he feels is one of his top responsibilities. Neal enjoys taking the time to talk to his constituents “when they come in wanting to know something about the land. I can explain it, about how a house is appraised or how the land is appraised.” “I like to explain things like that,” he said.

wills, probating estates and handling domestic proceedings, such as divorce filings. She said she has seen how chancery clerk records are maintained in at least two dozen counties, and that exposure would be beneficial if she is elected. “I’ve seen good management and better management and poor management, so I feel like I have the ability to take the best of everything I’ve seen to make improvements in Carroll County,” she said. “Although I do feel like Carroll County’s records are among the best, everything has room for improvement.” Roland said her initial focus would be to “maintain the quality of records that we have” and then, if she later saw improvements were needed, she would be able to call on her background to implement them. Her longtime experience in arguing cases in chancery court also would make her transition a smooth one,” Roland said. “I’m familiar with what you have to do in a court case. I’m familiar with all the documentation that’s required and the steps the clerk is called on to make. I already know that stuff. I don’t have to learn it.” Among the chancery clerk’s duties is serving as the county treasurer and auditor. Roland said that being a solo practitioner has also developed skills relevant to those financial responsibilities. “I feel my experience as a business owner has taught me the importance of sticking to budgets and conserv-

Neal said he is also saving the county money. “My salary is based on 25% of what I was making before I retired in 2011,” he said. “Therefore, saving Carroll County 75% of my salary each month, even though I will be working full time.” Neal completed two years at Holmes Community College and studied business at Delta State University. As tax assessor/collector, he attended classes offered by the Department of Revenue. He attained the highest level of expertise, Mississippi assessment evaluator, and has achieved the level of certified general appraiser. Before becoming tax assessor/collector, Neal worked for six summers as a book salesman, selling children’s educational books from door to door in Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina. He later worked as an advertising salesman. While growing up, Neal worked at his father’s service station. “My whole life has been around service, even when I was around my daddy’s service station fixing flats,

atively and zealously guarding those funds,” she

pumping gas, seeing people checking the oil, wiping windshields,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done all my life is serve people.” If elected again, Neal wants to make some updates and continue implementing the ones he’s already started. He’s working on making more information, such as maps, property record cards and deeds, assessable to the public online. Harper, 49, said she believes she has s o m e thing to bring to the table for Carroll County. “I feel like it is Harper time in Carroll County to have a change in leadership, and I think that I would be an asset to the county with all the experience I currently have,” she said. The McCarley resident said she has more than 25 years of experience in accounting with 10 of those years being directly related to budgets, millage and tax information. She also has experience with bonds. “I have a proven record of

said. Roland is married to

being a good steward of taxpayers’ money,” she said. “I believe I have something to offer Carroll County — experience, integrity, strong customer service skills and accountability.” Harper is finance director for the city of Grenada, where she’s served for more than five years. “At that municipality, I do calculate the millage for the city from assessments from the county and compose the budget from those numbers,” she said. Harper has two associate’s degrees — one in mortuary science from Holmes Community College and the other in accounting from Mississippi Delta Community College. Before her current job, she worked for the Department of Revenue for almost two years. “I worked for the state, (for the city of Grenada) and before that I worked for a county-owned hospital, so I feel like I’ve actually been in a public service position for 10-plus years,” she said. Harper said deciding to run for tax assessor/collector was “a leap of faith for me to do.” She added, “I felt like I could an asset to the county, and I would like to

Harry Roland, a farmer. n `çåí~Åí=qáã=h~äáÅÜ=~í

bring some positive changes and solid solutions to that office.” If elected, Harper said she wants the residents of Carroll County to have more options and better service, and she wants to modernize the office, where people can look up information online and pay online —“more of a customer-service-oriented office,” she said. One change she would implement is staggered lunches for the office’s staff. “The office currently closes for lunch,” Harper said. She would like the office to remain open from noon to 1 p.m., “so that we are able to serve the taxpayers during that hour without closing the office.” Harper said she doesn’t think that the position of the tax assessor/collector is a political office. “It’s more of a service office.” “I feel like that is 100% the citizens of Carroll County’s office,” she said. “That’s their office, not whoever wins the race. They should feel like they are the employer of whoever is in that position.” n `çåí~Åí= oìíÜáÉ oçÄáëçå= ~í= RUNJTOPR= çê= êêçÄáëçå]ÖïÅçããçåJ ïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK

RUNJTOQP= çê= íâ~äáÅÜ] ÖïÅçããçåïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK


Candidates focused on roads, budget

Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageNP slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

CARROLL COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By SUSAN MONTGOMERY pí~ÑÑ=têáíÉê

The big issues, according to candidates for supervisor posts in Carroll County, are road maintenance and improvements and finding ways to shore up the county’s budget. Nobody’s talking about raising taxes. Instead, they want to push hard for grant money and take advantage of an expanded tax base by attracting new property owners, both residential and commercial. In Beat 2, Democrat Josh Hurst, 39, of North Carrollton is facing Republican Jesse Saulter of Carrollton in the Nov. 5 election. Hurst Attempts to contact Saulter by phone were unsuccessful. It’s Hurst’s first run for public office, and he said earlier this year that he got into the race because “we need something in Carroll County. I think maybe we need a different viewpoint.” He won the Democratic primary in August and has continued to knock on doors to find out what Carroll citizens have to say.

“I have been talking to the folks in Beat 2,” Hurst said. “Some of them are vocal about what they’d like to see.” They want road system upgrades and better access to water through public utilities, among other things, he said. Their comments have helped him focus on immediate needs of the road system, including those involving county roads that intersect with Mississippi Highway 35, which runs across the eastern part of the county. Although he grew up in Carroll County, he didn’t realize before these visits how many people use roads that connect them with Highway 35 to other parts of the area, including Grenada. The highway runs north-south for 267 miles, beginning at the Louisiana-Mississippi state line and ending at a junction with Mississippi Highway 315 in north Mississippi. Hurst, an engineer working for AT&T in securing easements from property owners in Mississippi, Louisiana and south Alabama, also puts greater economic growth at the top of his priority list of factors that bring in more tax revenue to the county. He said people look at adjacent counties, including Leflore,

and ask, “Why not Carroll County? If surrounding counties are growing, why can’t we?” Hurst won’t get any argument from at least two of the three candidates for Beat 3 supervisor: Randy Calvin Tackett, an independent, and one-term incumbent Dill Tucker, a Democ r a t . Marvin Coward, a former longtime Beat 3 superviCoward s o r , declined to be interviewed. Tucker, 60, a Beat 3 resident since he was 15, was in the Tucker plumbing business for 44 years. He’s finishing his first term on the Board of Supervisors. He talked about roads, support for the volunteer fire departments and finding ways to increase revenues for the county while without raising the tax millage rate. A priority is obtaining more State Aid funding for

roads. “We got some of our blacktop roads leveled, but they still need a lot more,” he said, explaining that approval for funds is made every four years. Tucker said he doesn’t know exactly why a portion for Highway 430 from the Leflore County line to Black Hawk has never been approved for State Aid support and has asked State Aid officials to investigate and find out how that can be changed. “There are 200 trucks a day — big gravel trucks – that go back and forth on the road. There is a lot of maintenance trying to keep the holes patched on it.” As for the beat’s 165 miles of gravel roads, he said, “We had a bunch of washouts this year with the big rains and stuff, and we have gotten them all repaired.” The board has been promised Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements for the work, but that has been delayed for various reasons. Still, supervisors are pushing FEMA. “We have met with them four or five times,” Tucker said. For him, one of the main things is “keeping our fire departments with all of the equipment they need.” There is at least one fire department in every beat.

“We are pushing our budget every year,” he said. But the county has been told it can expect $1 million in tax revenues from Delta’s Edge, a solar energy plant that will be built in western Carroll County. “That will be something nice for county,” he said. And based on current trends, he expects to see more people moving into the county because house sites are becoming available. Tackett, 49, works at Acy’s Store, a Carroll County landmark on the road to Coila or Black Hawk and beyond. “I have been in my family business, A c y ’ s Store, for 30 years,” he said. “I am a fourthgeneraTackett tion Beat 3 Carroll County resident.” He said he ran for supervisor eight years ago and lost by 50 votes. This year, he put his name in again. “I want to make our community a better place to live and use our county resources in the best way possible to do that,” he said. “I believe if you make it a more desirable place to live, more people will move

here. Over the years, we have seen that with Greenwood” as its citizens sought residences in the country. He said, “We need better roads and to keep the roads up better and cleaner. Get the trash picked up and the limbs cut back off the road. In our beat, you don’t hardly ever see them out here picking up trash.” The district’s roads are “OK right now,” he said. “They have redone some lately.” But, “we need top find some money or funding to help. We do have a couple of old wooden bridges that need to be replaced with box culverts or new bridges.” He also has been knockng on doors, and he said, “The main thing is the roads. Keep the roads up.” “It all goes back to money. You can’t do it if you don’t have the money.” But “there is more money out there now.” He would encourage people to move to Carroll County. “It’s a great place to live and raise your kids. The crime rate’s low. You don’t have to worry about somebody breaking into your car when you go to bed at night.” n `çåí~Åí= pìë~å jçåíÖçãÉêó=~í=RUNJTOPP=çê ëãçåíÖçãÉêó]ÖïÅçããçåJ ïÉ~äíÜKÅçãK


PageNQ Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

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Life experiences shape AG candidates

Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 PageNR slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

MISSISSIPPI ATTORNEY GENERAL

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By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS ^ëëçÅá~íÉÇ=mêÉëë

JACKSON — Democrat Jennifer Riley Collins says one of her priorities, if elected Mississippi attorney general, will be ensuring law enforcement officers receive the equipment they need to do their jobs — items such Collins as bullet-resistant vests that can be purchased by combining state or local money with federal funds. She says she also wants to ensure that officers receive training that could help them better connect with communities of color. “For me, it’s about making sure everyone comes home safe,” Collins told The Associated Press in a recent interview at the state Capitol.

Collins, 53, is a military veteran and former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi. She faces Republican state Treasurer Lynn Fitch, 58, in the Nov. 5 election. The winner will succeed four-term Attorney General Jim Hood, who’s now the Democratic nominee for governor. With either Fitch or Collins, voters will elect the first woman to be Mississippi attorney general. Collins also would be the first African American statewide official in Mississippi since Reconstruction. Collins said the youngest of her three sons, who just turned 21, was 19 and attending college in Atlanta when he went to buy dog food one evening in a luxury car he owns. She said a police officer pulled him over and despite her son having the proper paperwork, the officer confiscated the car. Collins said her son called her while he was still in the car and

the officer was making demands. She pleaded with her son to obey, for the sake of his own life. The family later retrieved his car, but the traumatic encounter remains vivid in Collins’ mind, and she said she knows her family’s experience is not unique. “No mother should ever have to scream, ‘Please comply. Don’t die,’” she said. Collins served 14 years on active duty in the Army and 18 in either the Guard or Reserve. She retired in June 2017 as a colonel. “One of the things the military teaches is that a true leader leads from the front,” Collins said. “As the state’s top law enforcement officer, I’m going to lead from the front in building trust between law enforcement and community.” Collins said building trust includes training officers about avoiding racial profiling. “Are you putting yourself in a posture where you are being received by community,” she said,

“or are you showing up and treating community like they’re enemy combatants?” Fitch was traveling to campaign last week, and a spokesman said she didn’t have time for an interview with the AP but would answer questions in writing. Asked for a response Fitch about whether she thinks officers need the kind of training Collins mentioned, Fitch, who is white, wrote: “As attorney general, I will support our law enforcement community. I believe that proper training is important for everyone and will be a priority of mine.” During a 34-year career, Fitch has worked in the public and private sector. She was a staff attorney for the Mississippi House Ways and Means Committee, was

a special assistant attorney general and spent two years as director of the state Personnel Board before she was elected treasurer eight years ago. She said as treasurer, she saved the state money by restructuring debt. “I will bring the same conservative principles and solution-driven approach to the attorney general’s office to tackle great challenges like the opioid crisis and human trafficking,” Fitch said. Fitch said soon after she finished law school, she got to know former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Gandy, a Democrat who was the first woman to hold that office. “She was a mentor and friend and I learned from her the vital power of partnerships to do good things,” Fitch said. “As attorney general, I want to bring all parties to the table to make sure no solutions are left unstudied and no challenge is left unaddressed.”

Candidates show contrasting ideas By JEFF AMY ^ëëçÅá~íÉÇ=mêÉëë

The two candidates in the Nov. 5 election for Mississippi treasurer present a marked contrast in campaign funding and priorities. Republican David McRae of Ridgeland has loaned his campaign $1.7 million of his own cash through Sept. 30 while raisMcRae i n g $167,000 from others. Democrat Addie Lee Green of Bolton has raised less than $3,000 for her campaign through Sept. 30. McRae powered past state Sen. Eugene “Buck” Clarke in the Republican primary in August. He is making his second run for treasurer after failing to defeat incumbent Lynn Fitch in the 2015 GOP pri-

MISSISSIPPI TREASURER

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mary. Fitch has served two terms as treasurer and is now running for attorney general. The treasurer — who is paid $90,000 a year — manages the state’s cash, has a seat on the board of the Public Employees Retirement System and tries to return unclaimed property to its rightful owners. McRae comes from a family that owned department stores and said he wants to make sure Mississippi earns as much interest as it can on its own money while paying as little interest as possible on borrowed money. “I want to maximize the state’s investment returns,” he said. McRae manages family investments for a living, and said he sees his heavy spending in his own campaign as an advantage. “Investing this much money, you can’t say I don’t have a passion for that office,” he said. “Being able

to pay for the election myself doesn’t make me beholden to anybody.” Green is a former Bolton alderwoman and has unsuccessfully run twice for public service commissioner and once Green for agriculture commissioner. She said she wants to do more to publicize unclaimed property and advocate for issues she cares about, such as higher salaries for workers and more health care spending. “I want to make sure we let everyone know we have unclaimed property in the state of Mississippi,” Green said. The treasurer also oversees the state’s college savings plans. Fitch several years ago initiated an overhaul of Mississippi’s Prepaid Affordable College

Tuition plan, saying it was underfunded. Under her leadership, the college savings board started a new plan and cut off contributions to an older fund. The new plan had $54 million in assets as of June 30, 2018, and more than enough money to pay its $46 million in future projected obligations. However, the old plan was $127 million short — about 70% — of the projected amount needed to pay tuition in the future. Last year’s projections show the fund running out of money in mid-2027, which could be at the end of the second term of someone elected treasurer this year. Several thousand students would still be owed money and would have to be paid somehow, because the plan is backed by the full faith and credit of the state of Mississippi. Ignoring or cutting payments would be equivalent to defaulting on the state’s

governor. Katie Waldman confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that Pence will speak at a Tate Reeves rally on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Nov. 4. That

is the day before the election. Reeves is the secondterm lieutenant governor. He faces Democrat Jim Hood, who is the fourthterm attorney general. Two

other candidates are running low-budget campaigns. The winner will succeed Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who is limited to two terms.

Pence to campaign in Miss. for Reeves Associated Press

A spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence says he will campaign in Mississippi for the Republican nominee for

Trump Jr.: Reeves will be White House ally Associated Press

One of President Donald Trump’s sons has told a Mississippi audience that the Republican nominee for governor will be an ally of the White House. Donald Trump Jr. appeared with the nominee, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, on

Thursday night at a barbecue in Oxford. The Clarion Ledger reports Trump said Reeves “will fight for the MAGA agenda,” a reference to his father’s 2016 slogan “Make America Great Again.” The younger Trump did not mention specifically how Reeves would do that.

Reeves faces Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and two low-budget candidates in the Nov. 5 election. The current Republican governor, Phil Bryant, is limited by law to two terms and could not run again. The president is scheduled to appear at a rally in Tupelo on Tuesday.

bonds. Neither McRae nor Green offered any specific plans to deal with the shortfall. Green said she would study it.

McRae said he couldn’t speak with any knowledge until he won and was briefed by staff members, but he said he’d look to other states for solutions.


PageNS Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, October 30, 2019 slqbop=drfab =======================================================================================================================================================================

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