Supervisor candidates face the people
SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES Rickey Harris, left, Joe Norwood, Melvin Wright and John Nelson Jr. candidates for the vacant District 4 seat on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors participate in a political forum Thursday at the McCain Theater on the Meridian Community College campus. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Oct. 25, 2002
Two of the candidates for the vacant seat on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors said Thursday that economic development would be a top spending priority during a budget crunch.
Rickey Harris and Joe Norwood said economic development is needed because people are having a tough time finding work. Norwood said basic government services also would be a priority.
Harris' and Norwood's opponents, Melvin Wright and John Nelson Jr., had different opinions.
Wright said he would spend money on human services to take care of the elderly and youth. And Nelson said his top spending priority would be basic public services.
The four candidates' comments highlighted a political forum the Lauderdale County Human Relations Commission sponsored at the McCain Theater on the Meridian Community College campus.
A panel of five media representatives questioned the four District 4 supervisor candidates for an hour on leadership, county spending and economic development.
District 4 voters will choose a new supervisor Nov. 5 to fill the post left vacant last summer by the death of Q.V. Sykes. The district includes parts of southwest Meridian and adjacent Lauderdale County.
Running for the job are Harris, a county patrolman; Wright, a retired hospital worker; Nelson, a private investigator; and Norwood, a television cameraman. All are Democrats.
Candidates touched on familiar issues, including metro government and whether Lauderdale County needs county patrolmen.
Norwood said he supports metro government; the other three candidates said they oppose it.
Norwood said more sheriff's deputies may be better than having five county patrolmen. The other three candidates supported the county patrolmen, with Nelson saying he would increase their responsibilities.
Harris, Wright and Nelson appeared confused when asked what they would do specifically to look for outside resources, in the form of grants, to fund community development projects.
Nelson said he was more concerned with attracting industry. Wright said he would look into whatever ways are available. Harris said he might consider applying for grant money.
Norwood said he would look for federal money to help clean county ditches and for other ways to improve the community through block grants and other sources.