District 1 Supervisor Candidate Questionnaire
The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5. In preparation for the election, the EAGLE reached out to all candidates for Lafayette County Supervisor positions, as well as the two candidates for Sheriff of Lafayette County. Supervisor candidates were asked to answer five questions.
Below are the responses from District 1 Supervisor candidates Adam Clay (R) and Brent Larson (D).
1. What difference do you want to make in the lives of Lafayette County residents, if elected?
Clay: I want to improve the quality of life and standard of living of all residents, not just the well-to-do or well-connected. I’m a man of faith and believe God has created us equally, and so government has a duty to treat everyone equally. Local government should be open, honest, objective and bring value to the taxpayers of Lafayette County.
Larson: I pledge to listen to the citizens, obtain their ideas and suggestions, understand their needs and then work together with other city and county leaders to make Lafayette County the very best place in Mississippi to live, to work and to grow, not only for us, but for our children and grandchildren.
2. In Lafayette County, there is a strong need for infrastructure improvements. How do you plan to see those needs met?
Clay: The growth experienced over the last decade and what is expected in the future is straining our resources. The county should continue to work with the city and University when pooling those resources makes sense, but not at the expense of people who live in rural areas. I’d like to see the county adopt an objective scoring system to pave roads based on need, not just on who lives on those roads. It’s past time for Highway 7 to be expanded to four-lane. If elected, I want to build a coalition with surrounding counties, state and congressional leadership and get that project off the ground. Infrastructure in the 21st Century isn’t just roads and bridges. We must continue to work to expand access to high speed internet and cheap natural gas.
Larson: As one of the fastest growing counties in the state, we must continuously address our infrastructure needs. First and foremost, we must rely on a comprehensive and regularly updated Long Range Plan anticipating our needs well into the future. Competent and long-term planning will result in better decisions concerning the future of our county, and will allow for proactive rather than reactive decisions to be made. Grant funding is a big resource to communities seeking improvement and upgrades to facilities and services for its citizens. I plan to work with our state and federal officials to secure available grant funds whenever possible. Also, the city, county and university leaders must coordinate efforts to make sure our ever-changing community needs are being met for students and permanent residents.
3. Lafayette County has a large number of people who earn minimum wage, or struggle to make ends meet. What are your plans to serve this population?
Clay: The key to economic growth in any community is having a trained work force and adequate infrastructure. Together these attract good businesses that pay living wages, lifting people out of poverty and providing a brighter future for our children. With 25 percent of residents of Lafayette County living below the poverty line, economic development must be a priority. I believe our economic future is tied to our infrastructure future. As Supervisor, I’ll focus on maximizing educational options and expanding infrastructure to encourage economic investment and improve available employment opportunities.
Larson: All citizens are important in a growing, developing community. Housing and the cost of living has increased dramatically in the last few years. Leaders must seek ways to provide more affordable housing to lower wage earners, manage budgets conservatively, and make available free or low–cost services such as parks and youth recreation programs to all citizens.
4. When it comes to education, what are your goals for the LOU Community’s youngest residents?
Clay: As a former school teacher and father of 3, I’m committed to ensuring the children of Lafayette County are given the opportunity to succeed. My vision for my own children is the driving force behind my campaign; I want every child to grow up in a safe environment, get a good education, and have economic opportunities that allow them to stay put should they choose. Our community is blessed with two of the best school districts in the state, a thriving community college, and a nationally recognized research university. As Supervisor, I’ll continue to support our schools and work to improve access to early childhood education.
Larson: As a currently elected member of the Lafayette County Board of Education, I have a particular interest in education. Both Oxford and Lafayette County school systems are high performing schools as rated by the Mississippi Department of Education. They have outstanding teacher corps, principals, superintendents and staff. Oxford has a new high school and is building a new middle school, while Lafayette County is constructing a new elementary school. The role of elected officials is to work with school boards and administrators to provide support to ensure that our schools are delivering the very best education for our children.
5. What is one fact about yourself that you’d like to share with the undecided voter?
Clay: I grew up in a family that values honesty, integrity and hard work, and I’ll bring those attributes daily to the job. I believe public service to be a civic duty. I’m free of any conflict of interest and not beholden to any personal business to get in the way of doing what’s right. I seek only to serve and represent the hard-working citizens of Lafayette County. I humbly ask for your vote for District 1 Supervisor.
Larson: I’m running for this important office – Supervisor, District 1 – because I believe in our community! As a lifelong Lafayette County resident, a graduate of Oxford High School, an Ole Miss graduate with a degree in Business Administration, and a small business owner, I sincerely believe I have the skills and experience to make a difference in our community. I hope you give me the opportunity to do so.