Tuesday’s vote: District 1 Supervisor

Published 3:08 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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Mike Lazarus

District 1 supervisor candidate

What position are you seeking and why are you running for this position?

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ANSWER: Adams County Supervisor District 1. I am running because since the day I Left office I have witnessed the county going in the wrong direction. There seems to be no camaraderie among the current board. So many people have approached me about running again and I have total confidence I can turn the county around.

What experience do you have that you think qualifies you for this office?

ANSWER: I have a background in construction and was a former manager/ salesman for an oilfield construction company. I was superintendent for a construction company overseeing the building of roads and bridges. I oversaw the four laning in Woodville, Hwy 61 N. and built the boat ramp under the hill.

I started my own business and have operated it successfully for 26 years. I know how to manage money and stay within a budget. All this makes me uniquely qualified because when I see a problem with a road or bridge I know what is needed to repair it. When it comes to county finances I know how to operate within a budget and just as important I have the knowledge to set the budget. This includes having a good working relationship with the county administrator and department heads. My 12 years as county supervisor has given me the experience to know how to deal with any issues that arise and more importantly the know how to solve them. From cleaning out ditches and making sure trash gets picked up to negotiating multi million dollar contracts I have always gotten the job done.

Have you held other political office? If so, what and when?

ANSWER: Adams County Supervisor District 1, 2008-2020.

Why do you think you would be the best candidate for this office?

ANSWER: I feel confident in my understanding of county government. I have successfully found ways to save the county millions of dollars during my time in office. My idea to hire a nurse practitioner alone saved the county a million dollars the first 3 years. I have relationships in Washington and the state capitol that have brought millions of dollars into Adams County. These relationships helped me to lobby successfully the first three phases for the Belwood levee. That is a direct result of having these types of relationships. During my time in office 5 bridges were either replaced or built. Millions of dollars were spent on road improvements inside and outside the city limits with no tax increase.

My biggest asset is my ability to work with others for the betterment of all of Adams County, even my fellow supervisors would look to me for guidance. I had the privilege to share time in office with four different sheriffs, four mayors and three county administrators. My leadership skills to accomplish projects and negotiate contracts put me in a superior class that the people of Adams County are now suffering from my absence.

Tell us where you work and how long you have worked there? What is your position at work?

ANSWER: Lazarus Arts, 26 years, owner.

Tell us about your education experience, high school and college.

ANSWER: Graduated South Natchez-Adams High School. Attended Co-Lin. Attended USM.

What are the biggest challenges facing the office you are seeking or currently hold, and how would you propose to solve them?

ANSWER: From my perspective I don’t see leadership or working together to move Adams County forward. Just look at the current garbage contract that the Supervisors recently approved. There was no one there to negotiate, just complaints from some that they weren’t happy with the contract but what did they do, nothing. What I see is the current board is confronted with a problem when it is too late to do anything about it or doesn’t have the experience for a successful solution. I did not wait for a problem to arise, I would have the forethought to see a potential problem and head it off before it became too late to do anything about it. That is called thinking outside the box, forethought or whatever you want to call it but I had it and now the taxpayers of Adams County are missing out and it is costing them.

Also I have department heads calling me about the lack of input on the budget. In the past I would meet with department heads to discuss things that may need to be adjusted, things we could cut and what might need to be added or increased. We used to work as team, for example Pack The Pick-Up fundraiser.

I remember four years ago there was talk of consolidation with the county taking over the city not sure that is the case now.

What else do you want potential voters to know?

ANSWER: To all the District 1 voters, please be aware that if you do not put the most qualified person in office it will and it can have a direct impact on you. Elections should be about the most qualified person, its not about who you are related to or friends with. We all have friends we would not hand our finances over to but this is what you’re doing when you make the wrong choice. When someone votes for himself a raise the first term in office you have a good idea of why they want the position of supervisor. It does not take any special skill to borrow and spend money, vote for the person that has your best interest and the best interest of Adams County. Please look at our records and the choice will be clear.

Wes Middleton, incumbent,

District 1 Supervisor

What position are you seeking and why are you running for this position?

ANSWER: Adams County Supervisor District 1. I currently hold this position, and I am in the final year of my first term. There has been tremendous progress made in the last 3 years and I feel that my work is not yet done.

What experience do you have that you think qualifies you for this office?

ANSWER: My college degree, 17 years of running a successful business, and my ability to work well with others are some of the most qualifying advantages that separate me in this race. I recently completed all requirements for graduation in the Institute for Excellence in County Government. I am a member of the first ever-certified class of County Supervisors.

Have you held other political office? If so, what and when?

ANSWER: This is the only political office that I have held.

Why do you think you would be the best candidate for this office?

ANSWER: I made a promise four years ago to the residents of Adams County and District 1. That promise was that I would run Adams County like a business and that I would do my homework before any decision was to be made. The amount of progress that has been made in this current term cannot be matched.  I care about every resident of our community, and I care about the future of our county. I wake up every day and go to sleep every night trying to figure out ways to make our community safer, more prosperous, and how to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Tell us where you work and how long you have worked there. What is your position at work?

ANSWER: I am currently working for Rex Team Sports as an Outside Sales Representative. I have been employed here for one year. Before that I ran our family business for 17 years. We sold the business in 2021.

Tell us about your education, high school and college.

ANSWER: I am a graduate of Trinity High School and a graduate of Delta State University where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Aviation.

What are the biggest challenges facing the office you currently hold, and what do you want potential voters to know?

ANSWER: This term has been very successful. One main goal that I had was to build a working relationship with the leaders in city government. With that being said, the City/County relationship is in a position right now like never before. With the partnership we have with Watkins & Eager (Gregg Harper and Manning McPhillips), we have been able to secure a tremendous amount of financial support from both the State and Federal level i.e… Morgantown Road, a project that has been stagnant for 20 years will be going out to bid this month. We received the Small Communities Air Service grant to assist in bringing commercial air travel back to our airport. Studies were done and there is a tremendous need for passenger travel out of Natchez. These are just a couple of examples of how successful this relationship has been.

We just completed an $8 million paving project that targeted many roads throughout the county that were in terrible shape. This is the largest paving project ever completed in Adams County. This project was funded with use tax dollars that will not be a tax increase to our residents. We are in the middle of a $4 million recreational improvement project. This includes upgrades to all county owned parks, upgrades to the county owned rodeo arena. A construction on a $2.6 million upgrade to Chester Willis Baseball Field began Aug. 1. This ball field renovation will be something that will make our entire community proud. Also, included in this will be digitizing courthouse documents that are long past due. The money that was budgeted for the interlocal agreement between the City and County will fund this bond. All of this is being done, again, with no increase in taxes for the residents.

In the last year the county has put out over 30 NOLA Cameras. These cameras are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have been placed throughout the county in high crime areas. There is no other county in the State that has been this proactive. I have received grants to replace two bridges in District 1, Bourke Road and York Road. Construction on Bourke will be starting very soon, and York should hopefully be starting after completion of Bourke.

This list of accomplishments is very long, but please don’t forget that we essentially lost a year and a half of productivity during COVID. Adams County is in a very good position right now, but our best days are still ahead of us. I’m asking the voters of District 1 to give me another chance to keep things going. I can assure you that nobody will outwork me. Please feel free to call me if I can answer any questions that you may have.