Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Just in time for early voting July 13-28, Republican Marty Haynes and Democrat Mitzi Yates, candidates for Hamilton County Commission in District 3, sound off on the area’s issues and how they plan to address the community’s concerns. Incumbent Mitch McClure is not seeking re-election.
Here is a summary of Haynes’ and Yates’ responses to the following questions:
- What do you feel qualifies you to serve on the commission?
- What do you see as District 3’s biggest problem or issue?
- What goals do you hope to accomplish if elected?
- What is your plan of action to accomplish the aforementioned goals?
- I am very connected to the business community in District 3. My experience with the many local companies I work with will bring a unique perspective to the commission. I am campus director for Stuart Heights Baptist Church ... past president of the Hixson Kiwanis Club and the Hamilton County Republican Club ... past VP of the Hixson High PTA and the Hixson Youth Association. When Hixson High held its 100th anniversary I served as co-chair of the event. I am a member of the HHS Hall of Fame, which is based on community service. Five generations of my family have lived, worked and worshipped in our community. Four generations of my family have attended Hixson schools.
- The voters in District 3 have overwhelmingly said they want to have good schools, be safe and have good infrastructure. It is imperative that Ganns-Middle Valley [Elementary] have a new building soon. Loftis Middle School has had a leaking roof for over 15 years. This must be repaired. Hixson Middle School is growing at a rapid rate. We must properly staff the school with more teachers. We must continue to provide our only high school [Hixson High] with technology for students to compete for jobs and college degrees. An enhanced fire station would greatly improve the service [Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department] already provides. As home sales continue to rise in our area, we need to continue to provide safe neighborhoods. Regarding infrastructure, we have a few roads that need to be addressed and a couple of intersections that need traffic studies for possible traffic lights.
- The Northgate area is a vital concern for all in District 3. I would hope we could attract new business concerns to this area. The town of Lakesite is a hidden gem in our county and a model for good government, low taxes, a non-intrusive government and high quality of life of its residents. As commissioner, I would look forward to working with them with any improvements as they deem needed.
- I will be open and available to the residents of District 3. The issues and goals that have been brought to my attention by the voters must be accomplished without an increase in taxes. Goals for the schools will be addressed with our school board representative. I plan to meet at least twice per month with [them]. I will be very visible in all of our schools and with their PTA bodies. I plan to meet regularly with local business owners, community leaders, homeowner associations, members of the Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas Bay VFD.
- I have lived all my life in District 3 and am very familiar with all the issues facing it. As a professional in the insurance industry, I am accustomed to dealing with complex issues involving multiple entities, just as county commissioners must be prepared to do. As a mother with a school-age child, I understand the concerns facing the county educational system. And as someone deeply committed to transparency in public policy, I will represent the views of all the residents of District 3 to the best of my ability, with a sustained effort toward accessibility.
- Unplanned, unsustainable growth is District 3’s biggest challenge. Unplanned, unsustainable growth will lead to a poorer quality of life and higher taxes. The recently proposed Chattanooga Village, opposed by many due to traffic and flooding concerns, was an example of growth that had not included the impacted community in the early planning stage. Higher taxes will eventually be required to widen Highway 153 and provide the new school(s) necessary. As a leader, not a politician, I will bring all sides to the table to work out the choices required for planned, sustainable growth in District 3.
- My first priority is to bring transparency to the workings of the Hamilton County Commission. The Commission continues to spend millions of dollars in backroom deals. It continues to make important policy decisions without public notice or debate. It is also time to move forward into 21st-century thinking, rather than clinging to the antiquated processes and “old boys’ system” of the past. As our district grows in both size and diversity, the needs of its citizens will change. In order to avoid waste, we must plan carefully for this to ensure all of us get the best value for each dollar we invest. I will strive to ensure the government of Hamilton County serves the needs of all its citizens, rather than the interests of a select few.
- County Commission meetings should be held in the evening when working people can attend. All agendas and official documents to be voted on should be posted online at least 48 business hours prior to meetings. All meeting audio should be transcribed and posted online in a searchable and downloadable format. All interviews for appointed positions should be conducted in public and/or recorded and made available in an online format. I will always be available to District 3 residents for comments, and I will utilize modern methods to access their views.
Check back next week for a summary of the candidates for Soddy-Daisy Judge.