MEET THE CANDIDATES: District 4 Warren County Supervisor
Published 4:00 am Monday, May 8, 2023
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of stories in which candidates for local offices will answer questions about a variety of issues. The Vicksburg Post sent each candidate a questionnaire with 10 topics, and they were asked to provide their responses. Today, a candidate for Warren County Supervisor District 4 — Dr. Jeffery Holland — gives his answers to the following questions. Holland’s opponent, John Carlisle, declined to respond to the questionnaire at present and will make an announcement at a later date.
Name: Jeffery P. Holland (Jeff)
Current Occupation: Supervisor, 4th District. Also, I am the Director of Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology (MCITy)
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How would you grade your success at this point in this office? Do you plan to keep things going in the same direction, or change course?
When I first ran 4 years ago, I did so as an advocate for economic development, particularly in partnership with ERDCWERX, VWSD, the state’s universities and Hinds Community College. I am pleased to say that our community has initiated an economic development partnership in high-tech job creation and entrepreneurship through the creation of MCITy. I have worked with MCITy’s developer, local and state government leaders, and our Vicksburg-Warren Economic Partnership (particularly the Economic Development Foundation) to see the historic MCITy building renovation come to fruition. Now it is time to unleash the power of this joint venture for workforce training, job creation and establishment of new technology startups. Should we stay the course — you betcha. I also have had the opportunity to work at the very center of our community’s efforts to develop a new port and industrial center off of U.S. 61 South. This development holds the promise of high-paying, high-tech jobs for perhaps the most attractive development site in the State of Mississippi. These are the types of opportunities I will continue to pursue as your Supervisor.
How would you address transparency and accountability in this office?
I believe transparency and accountability are greatly encouraged through partnering with others. These partnerships between local government offices, government and non-government entities, bring out the best in capabilities from the partners. Each of the partners contributes something and gets everything in return. Openness is established as a norm rather than as an exception. Leveraging, rather than duplication, is achieved. Efficiency results as well as communication. When I ran four years ago I promised to work with the city of Vicksburg, Warren County and State of Mississippi government officials for the betterment of this community. I have done and will continue to do, exactly that.
What are the most pressing issues in this office and how would you address them?
We must build a new jail. Must. And we must finance that jail within our county’s fiscal reality. I believe the expertise of this current board is essential to the timely and cost-effective completion of jail design and construction. Next, we need more programs that impact our youth positively. MCITy, for example, will in 2024 initiate an internship program in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to encourage our young people to enter these fields. The hope is that they are fired up by the opportunities that STEM fields offer — many times right here in their own hometown. Additionally, our community requires additional housing. We want the people working in this community to have the opportunity, the desire, to live here, to play here, to make a difference here. We would benefit from the increased tax base in our county if more people lived here.
How would your role in this office improve Warren County?
Yes, as a Supervisor we do get to improve local roads and drainage. But, the community also needs a board that is agile enough to recognize business opportunities and risk savvy enough to understand appropriate levels of risk and when to take them. Being a Supervisor does include fixing what is broken today. However, it is also about setting the community up for better tomorrows. It would be a privilege to continue to develop and implement a better tomorrow for this community.
What are your reasons for seeking this office and why should voters elect you?
My primary reason for seeking this office is the same as it was 4 years ago: this community has been good to me and my family. I want to make a difference in its future. I believe the Father has provided me with gifts, skills and experiences (such as being Director of ERDC) that have prepared me well for the role of Supervisor. There is more left to do. I know what needs doing, how to get it done and with whom. It would be a joy to do what needs doing.
Please share any family/personal information you’d like to include.
My wife Janet and I have been married for 40 years. Megan, our daughter, is married to Stuardt. Eric, our son, is married to Martha, and they have two children. Janet is the retired preschool director at First Baptist Church (where we both attend and serve). I retired as the Director of ERDC.