The Monroe County District 4 commission race pits two candidates with previous experience against a political newcomer.
All three candidates are Republicans.
Incumbent Joe Proctor Sr., who has been a commissioner for 22 years, is running against James “Jim” Peters, who held the position for eight years, and Jarod Lovett, who has never held office.
All three candidates agree that expanding the county’s public water lines is a priority. In recent years, several hundred wells were found to be contaminated with uranium, and the county received a grant to help it run lines to those areas.
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Lovett, 40, said his 23 years of business management experience would help him as a commissioner.
“I’ve been fairly successful in business and felt I had a public duty to give back to the community,” Lovett said. “I didn’t serve in the military and I felt an obligation to try and give something back.”
The county needs a county manager, he said.
“We have a system where we have five part-time county commissioners trying to run day-to-day operations at the county,” he said. “My goal is to bring in a hierarchy of management, a chain of command (with) a county manager. ... We need to bring direct management and a chain of command.”
The county also needs “a disciplined growth plan for the future” for the county’s water system.
Peters, 63, said he decided to run for office again because “things are not going right. The budget is not being done on time like it was when I was there. ... The county is spending money from January to March or April, and (county officials) don’t know what they’ve got in the budget. I think that’s a shame we’ve reverted back to that.”
Peters said he would bring back community forums he used to hold when he was commissioner.
“We need to get back in touch with the people,” he said. “People deserve to know what the heck is going on.”
Peters also would like to see Monroe County set up a water authority, which would help develop more water lines in the county.
He supports keeping the county’s recycling centers open. Last year county officials discussed “doing something different with the garbage,” but that would be a bad idea, he said.
As the incumbent, Proctor said the main reason he’s running for re-election is because “people have begged me to run again. ... I told them I would run one more time, but this will be absolutely my last go around with it.”
Proctor, 82, said he’s glad he was a commissioner when the county first began providing water to its residents.
“I’m proud of that and I’m proud of the paving that’s been done, the reconstruction of roads that we had,” he said.
But Proctor said he’s particularly happy he was part of negotiations with members of the American Legion to get them to donate their building to the county, which provides a community center for senior citizens and others to use.
“I, in turn, made a deal with (the American Legion) they would still have a place to meet and have other functions of the organization,” Proctor said.
He agreed the county needs a water authority.
“We need it bad -- that would be my primary job,” he said. “In order to get financing we need a water authority.”
The county also needs to attract more industry, he said.
“We are a growing county and it needs things to support the people (who) are here.”
A commissioner’s base salary is $7,200 a year, but each commissioner’s salary varies based on certifications, cost-of-living adjustments and longevity increases given, Human Resources Officer Janet Abbot said in an email.