The Aug. 8 primaries are quickly approaching. At that time, voters will make their voices heard and select the candidate they want to represent them. In light of the upcoming election cycle, Vicksburg Daily News has reached out to the candidates on the Warren County ballot and posed a series of questions on behalf of our readers.
We reached out to each of the candidates running for Warren County District 1 Supervisor.
Questions were asked
- What specific plans do you have to attract new businesses and industries to Warren County and promote economic growth in the district?
- How will you support and promote the interests of farmers, agricultural businesses and rural communities within the district?
- How do you plan to address the existing infrastructure challenges in the district, such as road maintenance, bridge repairs and access to high-speed internet?
- How do you plan to address the issue of housing affordability in the district and ensure that residents have access to safe and affordable housing options?
- How will you prioritize spending within the district’s budget to address critical needs while maintaining fiscal responsibility?
- How will you approach tax policies and ensure that taxpayers’ money is used efficiently and effectively for the benefit of the district?
- What strategies will you employ to enhance community engagement and ensure that residents’ voices are heard in decision-making processes?
- What measures will you implement to enhance public safety in the district, including law enforcement cooperation, emergency response and disaster preparedness?
- How do you envision your office collaborating with the school district to facilitate improvements within the county?
- How will you ensure transparency, ethical conduct and accountability and what steps will you take to address any potential conflicts of interest?
- Regarding transparency, do you have any plans to support or implement measures that would ensure the streaming and online availability of meetings and work sessions, as well as the timely publication of agendas and minutes on the County website?
- Of the perceived lack of zoning and code enforcement in Warren County, do you have intentions to pursue code and zoning measures, including inspections, if elected?
Answers were given – Pugh
My name is David Allen Pugh, I am running for District 1 Supervisor and I am so excited for this new Journey once elected serving the County residents in District 1. I was born and raised here in Vicksburg, served in the US Army and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I was awarded the Purple heart for injuries sustained in combat as an Airborne Army Ranger. I graduated from High School at PCA, I graduated college from HInds Community College. I own Patriot Motorsports in Vicksburg. I serve on the Board of directors for Farm Bureau, HInds vocational college, and the Warrior Bonfire Program. I have three wonderful children Gavin, Kadience and Shelton. I am super vested in growing a better Warren county for our businesses, children and tax payers. My plan is to be VISIBLE in District 1 daily and to have a personal relationship with as many of the residents as possible. I want everyone in the District to know me by my name and face. I plan to make myself available no matter the circumstances. I work and reside in Warren county with no reason to have to leave during my term with no outside work distractions that are outside of Warren County, I am Warren county first candidate.
My plan for new businesses and economic growth starts with maintaining Warren county right of ways and attracting more residents to move here so that we have a higher census to attract more companies and businesses that require a higher population and higher foot traffic count. We have Interstate 20 that drives the traffic through the region but very few places for them to stop,shop, or eat. I will always encourage our local residents to take advantage of the existing businesses so that they will be here to serve our residents for years to come. Economic growth comes in a series of steps, we need better housing, better education, better roads, and last we need more residents which all promote tax revenue that goes back into the economy. It’s all needed to grow any economy.
Farmers play a large role within Warren county, I think that one way we can help at the most basic level is by maintaining the road ways they use to minimize damage and expenses to their vehicles that they use to transport crops, livestock and feed with on a daily basis. The county can also improve county drainage systems that may directly affect the farmer’s fields and property that would result in crop damage or cost them more money out of their pocket to fix drainage issues caused by county drainage issues. We need to also make sure that every road and county bridge is accessible and maintained to keep their routes as short as possible to keep detouring and longer routes to a minimum, that ultimately just cost them more to operate.
To help head off the infrastructure challenges I think we will need to look at the possibilities of purchasing more equipment in the county as well as finding more qualified operators to man that equipment. I have talked with county workers and officials and they all tell me that they only have two tractors running right now to mow right of ways and that is just not enough and this is just one example. I think we also need to pay our operators a more competitive wage so that they make a career at the county instead of jumping ship and going to other construction companies where operators make a much more attractive wage. Road maintenance also comes down to making sure roads are properly maintained daily but also making sure when repairs are made that the road way is prepped properly so that patches last. We don’t need potholes being patched in the rain, that’s a waste of taxpayers money and time. I would also find every dollar made available either federal grant money or at the county and state level to ensure the budget was adequate for safer roads. We would also have to ensure the water and drainage issue was maintained which cause so much of our roadways to deteriorate. As far as the high speed internet, I know that many residents still struggle with lack of or slow internet speeds, my plan would be to work hand in hand with providers to ensure the county was doing our part not to obstruct the provider and installations down county right of ways and help facilitate in any way we can.
Affordable housing has really put a strain on buyers as well as home builders especially with the cost of material being the highest it’s ever been. I think as a whole district 1 has safe housing options and I commend the local Sheriff department for being visible in the county. I would love to see more housing developments start in the future but as a supervisor I would again partner with the school district and continue to figure out ways to keep our rating as high as possible to encourage more citizens to want to live in Warren county. More housing options will help lower prices in the housing market as people will have more options and not feel forced to pay higher prices for the limited housing we have now and settle with less options.
I see myself studying past budgets and figuring out where the money was allocated. I would carefully propose a new budget for each allocation to reflect inflation cost to cover rising prices in equipment and material along with the possibility of higher wages to contractors and county employees. I would closely review where the money was spent and where the county most benefited it. Was money left over for different departments that could be moved around where the budget fell short in other departments that could have impacted county residents. If we depleted the road department budget but had overage in equipment or drainage I think it would be smart to reallocate the funds or request more to ensure we offer services to the residents that best benefit them.
Taxes are always the most touchy subject, no one including myself wants to pay more taxes than necessary but I also understand the significance of what they bring to the county budget and funding for projects. I want to study the county tax revenue and see where that money is put and how it was allocated to ensure the spending was felt within the community in a positive light where the residents could see where the money was used to benefit them. I plan to study all of the county tax policies to better familiarize myself to ensure we are utilizing the tax money the best I can for the residents.
My plan for community engagements are fairly simple, I want to make sure residents are reminded of the board meetings so that the attendance is up for awareness, I also plan to make myself way more available than the past supervisors so that concerns can be expressed and brought back to the Board and placed on an agenda. I would also like to hold District 1 meetings where residents can come and sit and bring up issues within the district that may be overlooked or causing issues that need immediate attention.I want to be the ears and voice for District 1 taxpayers so they feel like they are appreciated and taken care of.
As far as public safety in the county, I would love to see more manpower in the sheriff’s department so I would study that budget really well and see what we could do to enhance it. I would like to have a more competitive salary for the deputies so that we have retainability in the ranks and not lose them to surrounding agencies in different counties with higher salaries. I think that the EMS from Vicksburg fire does a great job and has for years so I would continue to try and keep that relationship between the city and county to best serve and protect our county residents. Emergency and Disaster response is headed up by John Elfer and he does a great job keeping us up to date on major weather developments but I would like to visit with him and his team to ensure they had what they needed to better protect the county. I would focus the budget on county right of ways and partner with energy companies to stay on the utility right of ways to try to prevent power outages from overhead tree limbs on power lines. I would take a more proactive approach on utility maintenance. I would also make disaster prep top of the list for parents that have students in school or daycares while storms hit and ensure families had adequate time to make decisions on keeping kids at school or at home so that people were not commuting in dangerous storms.
I would like to work more directly with the school board and assist where we could to keep our rating as high as we could to attract more students and families into the school system. I work with them also to ensure all measures were taken to keep our student body safe in and out of the classroom. I also want to work with the school district to see what we could do to make our teachers and administrators salaries more attractive and competitive for teacher retainability. Education is very high on my priority and needed as much if not more than anything else in the county, the future of our students starts right there in the classroom.
As far as ethics and conduct within the county it is simple, every county employee will be held to a standard that will ensure that they are protected as employees. I served in the Army and for the City of Vicksburg Fire Department, transparency is needed to ensure equality in workplaces, salaries, and positions within the Warren county board of supervisors and all county employees. Everything I do will be by the book to avoid any conflicts of interest with matters related to the county. There is the correct way to conduct business and there is the wrong way which leads to unneeded issues.
As far as transparency streaming the minutes of the meetings and work sessions, I think it should be streamed so that the county residents know who they elected and see what they are actually doing to support them within the county and their respective districts. Residents put these supervisors in their position based on promises made during campaigns, streaming these meetings will allow taxpayers to see if who they voted for is following through and also give the taxpayers an opportunity to see which supervisor is trying to move forward with projects and who is holding projects up.
Once elected I would like to see the zoning regulations and see what can be improved on, I think there is always room for improvement and only want better for the taxpayers.
Once elected my plan is to be more visible and more accessible to all District 1 residents and to improve the foundation that has been set before me. I hope that August 8th everyone gets out and votes for David ALLEN Pugh.See a typo? Report it here.