Rita Dukes Smith: What are your top priorities if you are re-elected/elected for the position of magistrate?
Jimmie Ray: As of the date that I am writing this, Feb. 27, I would have to say that the most pressing problem that we have now, are the roads in Hopkins County. Having been the operations manager years ago, and working with the Public Works Forman, Jeff Browning and some of his staff, I know that they are very capable and knowledgeable. But they are going to need a lot of support from the Fiscal Court to accomplish their goals.
RDS: What are the primary issues facing your district; and, what can you do as a magistrate to deal with them?
JR: Hopkins County, according to the USDA, was recently put into the top six of the most poverty stricken counties in Kentucky. This saddens me greatly. I want to see jobs brought into the county. Not just jobs, but good paying jobs. But to do this we are going to have to make ourselves more attractive to higher paying industries.
RDS: Do you believe that county dollars and resources are being spent and used wisely?
JR: Yes and no. I wouldn't say unwisely, but rather, we jumped on some ideas, that could have been great for Hopkins County. But we tried to fast. There should have been more time spent on planning, before we went forward.
RDS: What are the primary issues facing the county as a whole; and, what can you do as magistrate to deal with them?
JR: As I said earlier, in question 2, higher paying jobs. This is not just an issue in the fourth district, but the whole county. An if elected magistrate, I have to think of the whole county, not just my district. What affects the whole county, affect everyone.
RDS: What are your qualities or attributes that would benefit Hopkins County?
JR: My best quality I think is my empathy for other people. Having lived in Hopkins County all my life, I want to see this county and every one in it be proud and happy to live in this place. I know that is an impossible idea, but someone has to start the idea to make it happen.
RDS: If elected/re-elected, on what does the county need to spend more money?
JR: As of this writing today, I would have to say on roads.
RDS: If elected/re-elected, where would you like to make spending cuts?
JR: First of all, I would never vote for a loan, where we were going to pay only the interest. One of the best lessons that my father ever taught me, if you can't afford it, don't spend it. I believe that applies to personal lives as well as business. And the county finances, should be treated as a business, not a way just to spend dollars.
RDS: How many hours per week will you dedicate to being a magistrate? What will you be doing during that time?
JR: I will spend all the time that I need to. If everything holds true, I will be retiring in December 2015. So that means, that I will have two full time jobs for the year of 2015. I will be looking at roads, going to committee meetings, and trying to do the best that I can for the people of Hopkins County.
RDS: Under what circumstances would you vote to increase tax rates?
JR: If Senator Rhodes bill had passed, to let the court to decide on the library tax rate, I would vote for that. But having talked to a lot of people about this, I feel that people are very apprehensive about having a board, that they have no control over, by voting them out of office, I feel that it would be a bad decision. I will support the library, and I hope someone in the Legislature continues to purse this worthwhile bill and make it so.
RDS: Why should voters vote for you instead of your opponent(s)?
JR: Well, my mother says I'm perfect. My wife tends to disagree. I am very personable, I care about others feelings. Whether they are right or wrong, they still have the right to voice their opinion. I will listen, and I will not put myself above others.
Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
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