2011 elections Two seek Dem nomination in District 2 supervisor race

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

There is a two-way competition for the Democratic nomination for the District 2 seat on the Warren County Board of Supervisors. The nominee will advance to face Republican Trey Smith and independent Deborah “De” Reul in the general election on Nov. 8.

Democrats seeking the nomination are:

• Incumbent William H. Banks Jr. 60, who has held the position since 2005; and Tommie Rawlings, 48, a member of the Vicksburg Board of Zoning Appeals who lost to Banks four years ago as an independent.

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1. What is the best course of action Warren County can take in the next four years to build a modernized jail and justice system facility?

Banks: I think the best course of action Warren County can take in the next few years to build a modernized jail and justice facility is to float a bond issue. By doing so, the county will be able to get the amount of money needed to build a jail that is cost-efficient and best-suitable for the county. The amount of the bond would have to be one that the taxpayers and businesses can afford because this would cause an adjustment in taxes.

Rawlings: Do the will of what grand juries and registered voters have been saying year after year, and that’s build a new jail. Enough with the long study, a smoke screen. The current board has had the chances to do the people’s will. All you have to do is see what course of action other counties have taken, not go get someone from Denver. Those people don’t live like us. I don’t think the current board has plans to build a jail any more than to replace the Washington Street bridge, which it did not do. That’s county supervisors’ duties, not the city’s, which took on the project with no county help.

2. If you had to write a comprehensive plan for residential and commercial development in Warren County, what would it say?

Banks: I would determine the needs and interests of the developers, then locate suitable property. I would advertise available infrastructure. I would showcase access to highways, airports, waterways and railways. We have a housing need in Warren County, and I have initiated and had passed a housing plan using federal grants for county residents in the last four years. I will continue to initiate more funding for housing. I would advertise our good water and sewage system, good schools, social programs and retirement community. I would work with the community and other supervisors to remove obstacles to keep industries and developers interested in locating here.

Rawlings: Implement the 2007 $85,000 study that they put on the shelf that said implement zoning countywide. Again, another smoke screen study. It was $85,000 Warren citizens paid out on another study that they refuse to implement. Study, study and study.

3. What criteria do you/would you use in voting for tax breaks or other inducements for new or expanding employers?

Banks: For a new or expanding employer to get tax breaks or other inducements they will have to show where their payroll consists of about 70 percent or more of people who live in Warren County. The reason for this is because our tax base consists of people living and working in Warren County.

Rawlings: On my watch, the only way to get inventory tax breaks would be to hire 60 to 70 percent of the workers from Warren County, plain and simple.

4. What is the best use of the old U.S. 80 bridge to remain a viable county-owned asset?

Banks: The bridge could be used to sponsor events like the run across the bridge, family walks, bicycle day and other family-oriented events as a drawing card to get people here and from out of town interested in the feasibility use of the bridge. The river is always a very good drawing point and I think the use of the bridge would be a good promotion initiative for Vicksburg and Warren County.

Rawlings: The only use I see is to open it one way for emergency use, or maybe a park. If no one likes that, let the people make the choice.

5. Why do you seek the office of county supervisor?

Banks: I am seeking the office of District 2 supervisor so the people of Warren County will continue to have a supervisor who will listen and hold fast to concerns to come up with a practical solution. I will continue to push for and initiate programs to improve the social and economic conditions of District 2 and Warren County. I am working to help bring jobs, better living conditions, better roads, opening and repairing of bridges, recreational and social programs through grants, and to bring about Christian love and unity. I have and will continue to have an open-door policy to all of District 2 and Warren County.

Rawlings: I want to prove to the people of the county that government service can work for you if the right person is working for you. I also love serving people.