Bentley challenges Hastings in District 4
Editor’s Note: Getting to know your candidate will be a regular feature informing you about our local candidates leading to the March primary.
This week’s featured candidates are seeking the local office of county commissioner in District 4, an office that is currently held by Don Hastings who will face Anthony Bentley in the democratic primary election on March 13. Both Hastings and Bentley will run as democrats.
Don Hastings has served as a county commissioner for the past three years and he said he is more than willing to serve the people of Franklin County, especially those in District 4, for another term.
“I feel like my job as a county commissioner isn’t finished and I don’t ever want to leave something unfinished,” Hastings said. “I believe we have done the best job we can this past term with the resources we’ve had and we’ve made some progress in Franklin County.
“I made the decision to seek re-election because I want to continue to help Franklin County move forward and make progress in the future.”
Hastings said he is well aware of the problems Franklin County is facing and he believes his experience as a commissioner makes him the most qualified to hold the position once again.
“The roads are a problem all over the county and they’ll always be a problem,” he said. “Once one road is fixed another one will be in bad shape.
“We did all we could with the money we had to make improvements to the roads and that is something I will continue to work towards if I am re-elected.”
Hastings also said if he is re-elected he will continue to explore different avenues to bring industry into the county.
“We need more job and we need more industry to bring revenue into the county,” Hastings said. “We’ve had a lot of people working on this issue, but the way the economy is right now, it’s just hard to get industries interested, but it is something our county really needs.
“I’ve always been committed to making sure the county’s needs are put first. Like with the issue of bringing human waste into our county, I think one of the most important things we did this past term was to make sure that didn’t happen. I still think that it would’ve been unsafe to bring that into our area and I will always make sure that the best interests of the people of Franklin County are considered, just as I did with this issue.”
Hastings said besides his experience as a county commissioner, he also has experience running a business since he has been self-employed for 43 years as the owner of Don Hastings Masonry.
“The position of county commissioner isn’t something to take lightly because they are responsible for handling all the county’s tax dollars and making sure the money goes to the right places,” Hastings said. “I fully understand this responsibility and it is something I know I can handle efficiently even though we don’t always have a lot of money to work with.”
Hastings said being a county commissioner at a time when the economy is bad might be something that would deter other people from committing to tackle the job again, but he said he is dedicated to making sure Franklin County remains a great place to live and work.
“Anything I ever get involved in I am dedicated to it,” Hastings said. “I’ve been a loyal commissioner and I am dedicated to this county and its best interests.
“Franklin County is just a great place. We have a great district in District 4 and I just love the people. I have many good friends and family in this county and I want to do the best job I can for them and for the rest of the citizens.”
Hastings was born in Red Bay and said it has always been his hometown. He said he was proud to have raised his family in the area he grew up in.
“In my opinion, you couldn’t pick a better place to live than Franklin County,” he said.
Hastings has been married to his wife, Nancy, for 49 years and will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this September. They have five children: Don Hastings, Jr., and his wife, Valerie; Mark Hastings and his wife, Laura; Joe Hastings; Joanna Alred and her husband, Scotty; and Samantha Wadsworth and her husband, Eric. Hastings also has seven grandchildren: Kevin Hastings, Tyler Hastings, Danielle Hastings, Hannah Hastings, Hall Hastings, Lexie Smith and Ethan Alred.
Hastings is a member of Red Bay Freewill Baptist Church where he serves as a trustee. He is also a director of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association, a director of the Resource, Conservation and Development Council, and an active member of the Franklin County Archives.
“I would appreciate the people of Franklin County allowing me the chance to finish the job I started,” Hastings said. “If I’m re-elected, I will continue to work just as hard as I have this past term.”
Hasting’s opponent, Anthony Bentley, said he is making his first venture into politics because he believes the county commission can do more for the people of Franklin County and he personally wants to see that happen.
“Everywhere I go people are concerned with the roads,” Bentley said. “I want to address those issues and I want to make sure that our sheriff’s office and our volunteer organizations, such as all the county volunteer fire departments, are supported.
“I know that money is tight but we need to seek grants and other sources of revenue to make sure we are doing all we can.”
Bentley said he believes the keys to moving the county forward in the future are communication and teamwork.
“I love the people of Franklin County and how they all pull together, especially in times of crisis like this past April,” he said. “The whole county came together to help one another during that situation and if we can just work as hard at getting the problems in our county taken care of as we did during that time of disaster, we will be in much better shape.
“But to have good teamwork, you must first have good communication. This is the biggest complaint I have because there doesn’t seem to be enough communication in our county departments.”
Bentley said his experience as a general supervisor at a metal company and the experience he has had dealing with finances through his different jobs gives him the qualifications needed to serve as a county commissioner.
“I understand the county has financial boundaries they must work within, but the important thing is to manage the money efficiently and allocate the money where it is needed the most,” he said. “Being a supervisor has allowed me to learn how to prioritize many requests and make the best decisions for the most people involved.”
Bentley currently lives in Red Bay and was born in Franklin County. After moving to Cleveland, Ohio, for a period of time, he returned to Franklin County and has lived in the area ever since.
Bentley has been married to his wife, Betty, for 49 years. They have a son, Christopher Bentley, and a daughter, Donna Eaton, who both graduated from Belgreen High School. They also have two grandchildren, Justin Madden and Christopher Bentley, Jr.
Bentley has served as the president of Chapter C Atlanta Branch of the Chevrolet Service Directors and he currently works for White Oak Transportation. He attends Cedar Creek Missionary Baptist Church.
“If I am elected, I will be dedicated to my position,” he said. “I will serve as a voice for the people of Franklin County because that is who I will be representing.”