MEET THE CANDIDATES: District 5 Warren County Supervisor
Published 4:00 am Monday, May 15, 2023
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth 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 5 — Kelle Barfield — gives her answers to the following questions. Barfield’s opponent, John Michael Allen, announced this week he has withdrawn from the race due to medical reasons.
Name: Kelle Barfield
Current occupation: Elected official and owner of Lorelei Books and Delta Warren Properties
How would you grade your success at this point in this office? In a board of five, a single supervisor can’t take individual credit for progress made. A spirit of cooperation even in matters where we envision different outcomes or paths is critical to overcoming stagnation in addressing needs and opportunities in the county. I believe we have been successful in taking steps to address a number of longstanding issues here and hope to be able to continue working toward solutions that benefit the greatest number of residents.
Do you plan to keep things going in the same direction, or change course? I always keep my eyes and ears open for course corrections that come our way based on new funding or partnership opportunities, new ideas, or new concerns.
How would you address transparency and accountability in this office? I would continue to answer all questions honestly and with thorough details as to why the county government can or cannot address a certain situation. People often acknowledge to me that their concerns have nothing to do with a county supervisor’s role, and state law often prohibits county employees from addressing the needs they express, such as matters between private citizens and issues handled by state agencies, by the courts and law enforcement, or by other elected officials or boards. But I listen, try to recommend solutions and track all commitments made on behalf of the county.
What are the most pressing issues in this office and how would you address them? At its basic level, the role of a county supervisor is to manage available resources to ensure county infrastructure does the best for as many as possible. Our most pressing challenge is to build revenues without raising taxes so that we can add services or meet the rising cost of maintaining existing services. We do this with an eye on local economic growth because the best way to grow the budget to maintain and expand county services is to expand the tax base through additional jobs and new residents. We have worked very hard to manage the county budget to address needs without raising ad valorem tax millage, by seeking funding from state resources and grants for example. Inflated cost of living and cost of construction materials make it challenging to hire skilled personnel and implement projects within the existing budget, but we continue to pursue county financial management with the utmost diligence.
How would your role in this office improve Vicksburg and Warren County? My background in project management, personnel management and corporate financial management combined with my experience in state government as an incumbent county supervisor enable me to do as much as I can for residents within the limits of state law for county government.
What are your reasons for seeking this office and why should voters elect you? I want to see continued progress in several major initiatives we’ve created momentum behind, including county infrastructure, jail construction, economic development, passenger rail, youth development resources and Warren County quality of life in general.
Please share any family /personal information you’d like to include. My three adult children all graduated from Warren Central High School, as I did, and are amazed by the progress they see being made in Warren County. It’s a joy for me to demonstrate to them how each person can make a powerful difference in his or her community each day.