District 2 commissioner Jody Thompson and challenger Chas Hardy spoke on their experience at a forum Tuesday night in Commerce.
“When the people voted me into office, the county finances were stressed and the budget was a challenge to work with,” Thompson said. “I was a part of 50 meetings that first year, repairing the damage.”
He said that finishing the roads for the Toyota project gave the county “hundreds of jobs.”
“Since then, I placed allocations in the last SPLOST to give money to both the library and the Commerce Health Department,” he added. “For the first time, my citizens have seen new roads for economic growth in District 2. In fact, more roads have been paved here than ever before. We have funding in place to fix the very dangerous intersection at Hwy. 98 and B. Wilson Road.”
Thompson said he has worked to make government more transparent.
“I am the leader who responded to the people and made every effort to make progress in our district,” he said. “I have worked very hard improving our finances and giving the people a voice.”
Thompson said his goals for the next term would include “the much-needed animal shelter,” updating county codes and offering taxpayers “more relief while still getting more services.”
“Our progress will continue and the citizens will continue to have leadership without political ties and who will serve 100 percent of the people.”
Hardy, who serves on the Jackson County Industrial Development Authority, said he “wants to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.”
“We need people who have respect for the people they serve,” he said.
Hardy said a commissioner needs to work toward developing relationships with others in government.
“One of the most important aspects of a good leader is to be able to humble himself and build those relationships,” he added.
Hardy said he is already serving the county by being a representative on the Jackson County IDA.
When the candidates were allowed to question each other, Thompson asked Hardy if he would have any conflict of interest since his father is the mayor of Commerce. He said this would not be a conflict and he would represent all citizens of District 2.
“What I have with the City of Commerce is a working relationship,” he said. “I will establish relationships with other towns.”
Hardy asked Thompson why he wanted to be re-elected. The incumbent said he believes in two terms and would not seek office any longer than that.