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Barbour Commission candidates view economy differently

November 5, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

The three candidates running for Barbour County Commission in Tuesday's election have differing views on how to bring economic development to the county.

Incumbent Republican Phil Hart, Democrat Dana Booth and Independent Pamela Sue "Susie" Phillips each shared their thoughts with The Inter-Mountain.

Hart has been a county commissioner for 12 years and currently serves as commission president. He said he has experience and a good working relationship with county, state, and nationally elected officials as well as other municipality officers.

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If elected, Hart said he would continue to serve citizens of Barbour County with "commitment, dedication, hard work and pride."

Hart said he thinks the county is on the right path because unemployment rates are dropping, the coal industry is running well, and industrial parks have expanded, attracting new businesses. Hart also wants to continue to work with county citizens.

"One big thing that I definitely want to do is go out into the community and bring town hall meetings to the communities," Hart said, adding that his reasoning is "to get their concerns and ideas for the betterment of Barbour County and to let them know what is going on on the government side."

Hart said the county commission continues to work with all elected officials and private industries to secure funding for a 180-day liable emergency water supply. Also, he said the county has secured grants for many projects that, if elected, he would continue to work on.

Hart also said the commission wants to work on the community corrections and home confinement programs to save tax dollars.

Booth said he believes the county needs to promote economic development.

"I really think people are looking for change and, in order to make that change happen, they have to go and cast their vote to make that change," Booth said.

Booth said he will be the voice of the people and will work to promote Barbour County and make it a better place to live.

"Together, we can make that happen," Booth said.

Booth said that if he's elected, his main agenda is to work with the people of Barbour County, because it's the residents who hire a candidate to do a job for them and to be their representative.

"You have to be out and among the people to know what the issues are," Booth said. "That's who pays your salary, that's who pays the bills. Be accountable, that's another important thing and that's what the people respect."

Phillips said she served as a county employee for just over 25 years and saw ways Barbour County could improve.

She said she believes there is no reason why the county can't both promote economic growth and look out for what the county already offers.

She said she brings an open mind to the election and that it is time to make a difference.

"We need to support the people we have, but we also need to bring in other businesses that our county can grow," Phillips said. "We can bring other businesses in that compliment what we have. They can work together and make the county grow."

Phillips said the addition of complimentary businesses could even enhance existing businesses.

"They can help one another. They can provide resources back and forth to each other," she said.

Phillips said she would offer Barbour County her hard work, ethics, honesty, and her willingness to work with the citizens, employees and businesses.

"I would like to see that the county agencies are getting the best from their commission so they can provide the best to the citizens of the county, and I would like to promote Barbour County in every possible way," she said.



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