Three candidates seek District 3 seat

Published 12:05 am Thursday, July 21, 2011

NATCHEZ — The District 3 supervisor race set for Aug. 2 has three fresh faces vying for the position, all ready to make their political debut.

Angela Gibson Hutchins, Raythell P. Smith and Wilbert Whittley, all Democrats, are seeking to replace supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell, who announced earlier in the year that he would not run for re-election.

Angela Gibson Hutchins

Angela Hutchins

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Hutchins said she decided to run for supervisor because she wants to use her 23 years of experience, knowledge and capability to continue to work with and help people in Adams County.

“I care for people and I like serving the public,” she said.

Hutchins has worked as the administrative assistant to the board of supervisors, and said during that time she has learned a lot about the job of supervisor.

“Anyone who calls in to the supervisors’ office talks to me, and I have helped numerous people before it has even gotten to the board,” she said. “I would like to continue to help people out, except this time I want to do it with a vote.”

Hutchins said with the recent acquisition of Elevance Renewable Sciences, continuing economic development is the No. 1 priority facing the county right now, and cooperation is the key to help it thrive.

“The board just needs to be able to work with Natchez Inc. to try and get economic development interest in the area,” she said.

Hutchins said the county would also need to pursue developmental interests outside of the area instead of waiting for them to come here.

“We need to make trips to different places to see what we can bring back to Adams County,” she said. “We need people here generating funds just like Elevance is going too.”

With new companies comes job creation for county residents, an area in which Hutchins said supervisors play a big role.

“Supervisors are the ones who determine businesses tax exemption status, and that is a big factor in whether or not businesses want to move here,” she said.

Hutchins said she fully supports the effort of the Natchez-Adams Recreation Commission to build a recreation complex in the area.

The commission is looking for ways to fund the project, and Hutchins said while she wants to look through the budgets and funds to find other ways to pay for the project, she would be in favor of a tax raise to pay for it if no other funds are available.

“I would also look into bond rates or any other way we could find to fund it,” she said.

“I would do everything possible to find a way without raising taxes.”

On the issue of education, Hutchins said a supervisor’s role is very important.

“A supervisor is there to appoint people to the board, and it is their job to appoint the best people for the job,” she said. “We have to make sure we always have the best and most qualified person for the job. These are our children they are overseeing.”

Hutchins said if she is elected, she will continue to use her experience working with the supervisors to do whatever it takes to serve her district to the best of her abilities.

Raythell P. Smith

Raythell Smith

With experience in education, economic development, recreation and housing, Smith said he decided to run for supervisor because he is the most qualified candidate for the job.

“There are so many things in the district that need addressing, and I feel that I am the candidate that can address them,” he said.

Smith said the county’s No. 1 priority is bringing more jobs to the area, something he will have no problem addressing if elected.

“I can help secure funds to bring in global companies to work here,” he said. “I can also work with business people to help create jobs locally.”

Smith said he will also work to help local small businesses find funding to create more jobs.

“We need the county and the city governments to join hands and work together more to secure funds to help these small businesses,” he said.

“Any local businesses that can provide more jobs is a good thing.”

With experience working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and serving on the former Economic Development Association board, Smith said he knows what larger companies look for when deciding to move to an area.

Smith also said that while the county does an excellent job of using its local resources to its own advantage, he wants to work to utilize them even more.

“We have these resources here and in our grasp, and it is a waste if we don’t use them,” he said.

With 15 years experience working for the Wilkinson County School District, Smith said education in the county can be improved by spending money on areas where help is needed most.

“We need some type of industry that could help us fund our education more, and we need to use those funds in the classrooms,” he said.

Smith said he has supported the recreation complex in the county for many years, and he was even one of the first people to come up with the idea.

“I will work closely with everyone involved to secure the funds to go ahead and build this,” he said. “It is needed, and will strengthen the communities and give families a chance to go out and have fun as a unit.”

If the county can’t find any other way of funding the project, Smith said he would be in favor of raising taxes to build the complex.

“One role of a supervisor is to have vision,” he said. “I know if this gets built it will pay for itself in the long run.”

Smith said his experience and knowledge in many different areas makes him the best choice for the District 3 seat.

Wilbert Whittley

Wilbert Whitley

Whittley said he has been closely dealing with the public his whole life, and he decided to run for supervisor to continue giving back to his community.

“It is just something I have wanted to do,” he said.

Whittley said through his years of teaching and coaching, he has always been a leader, and that coupled with his experience make him the perfect candidate for the job.

Like Smith, Whittley said bringing more jobs to Adams County is the No. 1 priority facing the board.

“The only way to get jobs here is to get our infrastructure looking good,” he said.

In order to do that, Whittley said the county needs to work on getting the litter off of the streets and finding more forms of entertainment for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“We need some new type of entertainment for the youth and senior citizens,” he said. “We need to have some place for them to be, like a centralized location for everyone to come together and talk.”

Whittley said along with providing more exercise opportunities for area residents, the proposed recreation complex is also an example of a form of entertainment that would help bring industry and jobs to the area.

“We need activities for families to do together,” he said. “Industries look at that when they are trying to pick an area to move, and if we don’t have them we can miss out.”

Because of the complex’s potential, Whittley said he would also support a tax raise to fund the project if all other forms of funding failed.

Whittley said businesses also look at education when deciding on whether or not to move to an area, and he would work to make sure the supervisors always know what is going on with the school district.

“The supervisors appoint members to the board, so I think the (supervisors) should take a more active role in assisting them,” he said. “The (appointed school board members) should at least come to the board to give us an evaluation of what is going on. That way something doesn’t just come up.”

Whittley said it will take strong leadership to help make Adams County run smoothly, and that is exactly what he will provide if elected.