Incumbents best fits on commission

Published 11:24 am Thursday, November 1, 2012

Next week’s general election is a historic one when it comes to the county commission, marking one of the first times in many years — and perhaps ever — that all three seats are being voted on.

Incumbent commission president Les Boggs is unopposed, a fact which is likely a testament to how well he has performed in the job and that the successes would make him difficult to beat.

The other full term is being sought by incumbent Bill Pratt and challenger Carl Robinson. Freddie Hayes, Jr., appointed about seven months ago, is facing longtime Democrat commissioner Doug Malone.

Email newsletter signup

Based on their individual visions for moving the county forward, recent successes and the importance of maintaining continuity at this critical juncture, we believe Bill Pratt and Freddie Hayes give the county the best chance for prosperity.

Pratt had, by a large margin compared to the other three in the contested races, the clearest vision for how the county can address issues at the Lawrence County Jail. His plan is a sound one that would take time but could be done cautiously to ensure that taxpayers won’t be on the hook for a project the county can’t afford.

Pratt’s understanding of the county’s finances and his strong push that helped merge 911 with the sheriff’s office also help him standout.

Carl Robinson seems to truly have the county’s best interests at heart but needs more political experience. This isn’t the right time for him.

The choice between Hayes and Malone is far more difficult with both men being very similar when it comes to strengths and weaknesses.

Hayes has not been on the commission long but was able to help complete the long-debated merger of 911 and showed that he will do what is right even if it is unpopular when he voted to help save the fair barn project — something that was admittedly handled poorly on a number of levels — from complete disaster.

Hayes has earned the opportunity to serve for two more years to see if he can bring new ideas and his business background to county government.

Malone was a part of a number of successes in his eight years on the county commission and would certainly contribute again. But now is the time to see if an infusion of new ideas could make a difference.

In two years, both Hayes and Malone should run again and the race will likely be even closer.

The county faces many challenges in upcoming years. Regardless of who is elected, these individuals must be proactive and create a long-term plan for the county’s growth.