The Turner Alumni Association hosted a Candidates Forum for candidates in the May 7 elections in Carthage and Carthage ISD, as well as the May 24 election runoff.
Isha Brown, candidate for a seat on the Municipal Commission of Carthage; Tim Cariker, candidate for district attorney; and Adam Duran, a candidate for a seat on the ISD School Board of Carthage, were unable to attend the forum.
Each of the candidates was asked questions regarding the position they sought, including why voters should choose them and what qualifications they would bring to the table.
David Leary, running for a Carthage Municipal Commission seat against Isha Brown, said he wanted to make a difference in the city.
“I want to do something to help people just because I care, not for recognition or title or even compensation, but to do it because I care,” he said. .
Leary said he has the kind of passion that means he’s proactive in bringing about change and meeting people’s needs. He said his experience as an employer, manager of officers and pastor will help him do that.
“People don’t care what you know until they know how much you care,” he said.
Leary spoke about diversity and inclusion – and making sure he didn’t overlook any stakeholder. Asked about the differences between the west and east sides of the city, Leary agreed that the historically black east side of the city was often overlooked in the past.
He said resolving issues within the city would force people to put cases together for their proposals.
“This goal is a goal that can be achieved. But it will take combined efforts,” he said. pushing yourself to get there. And looking at the current state of where they are now, it’s going to have to be pushing. Not just a drop and saying ‘Oh, well nothing’s going to happen.’ Something has to happen.”
Brenda Giles is a candidate for the Carthage ISD school board because of her heart as a teacher, she said. The longtime CISD teacher wants to use the knowledge she gained as a teacher in the district to help students succeed.
“I’ve been there. I’ve been in those trenches. I know what’s going on in the classroom,” she said.
Giles also said she wants Carthage ISD to be a leader in addressing issues arising from state mandates that often stifle the joy of learning. She joked that the buzzword in education in her day was ‘rigor’ – and it always made her talk about rigor mortis and how the fun of learning was destroyed.
“I think Carthage can lead the way in making changes to what’s happening at the state level,” she said.
Some of the issues Giles cites include students struggling to learn to read, as well as bullying and the negative impact of digital testing. She promised to be available to her constituents, saying she would work for the benefit of the entire community and would be dedicated to her work.
She also encouraged parents to get involved in their children’s education.
District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson, who is running against Tim Cariker, told those gathered Thursday that he wants his case to speak for itself. Davidson cited his more than 7,780 felony convictions during his tenure. This experience is valuable, he says.
Davidson said his office is struggling to deal with a backlog of cases exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that largely means litigating cases because trials are both expensive and time-consuming.
“I have experience on the job,” he says. “Someone here is going to hire a person…one experienced and one not, who are you going to hire?” The experienced person.
Davidson also pledged to continue his efforts to prosecute criminals throughout the county and in the Cook’s Quarters neighborhood of Carthage so everyone can grow up in a safe neighborhood.
“When something happens, we need people to stand up and tell the truth,” he said. “I’ll sue if I can make a deal.”
Rodger G. McLane told attendees that they needed a county judge who would do all the work, both administrative work and work as a court officer.
“Your tax dollars pay for a county judge to manage the administrative side of the budget, to work with the commissioners to manage and conduct county business every two weeks in the commissioners court. You also pay the county judge to hold court: misdemeanors, civil cases under $20,000, minors, guardianship and appeals from justices of the peace,” he said. “Wouldn’t you like another official to do the work you are already paying him for?”
McLane, an attorney, said he was conveniently located to go to work on the first day and help Panola County. He also said he emphasizes discernment and works with people to find solutions to problems.
“I am not a yes-man. I’ll tell you it’s a bad idea, we can’t do this, we don’t need to do this,” he said.
Asked how to address security issues at Texas 315, McLane noted the State of Texas’ apparent lack of concern about the road and local options to address the issues, namely increasing patrol presence .
“What can we do there? Can we increase patrols there or do our citizens want it, are they interested in a small tax increase to provide a dedicated 315 agent? “I’m not suggesting that, just asking for the rhetoric. How serious are we about this? ” he said.
The issue is one of manpower, he added.
“It’s the same with the backlog. Are we interested in hiring another assistant district attorney to help out or are we interested in electing someone else with legal experience to hold the court to help with these pending cases? ” he said.
McLane said he wasn’t going to sit back and make promises just to get votes.
“I’m not going to persuade you with something I can’t do. I hope the best for Panola County, and I plan to work hard for you to find the best answer to this,” he said.
Paul Beatty, who is also a candidate for county judge, says the main focus of the role is the budget. As someone who started six businesses and managed a budget while serving on the Carthage ISD school board, Beatty says he is highly qualified for the job.
“When you have those assets behind you that you’ve already done, and the six businesses and the budgets, you have that knowledge for (the job). So it’s a win-win for you,” he said. declared.
He also wants the county to do more to attract businesses to the area, saying it would help increase the county’s revenue.
Beatty also cited his former job in law enforcement and as a volunteer firefighter as a good thing if he’s elected county judge: He’s experienced in all aspects of the job, whether he’s whether it’s working with the sheriff’s department, building roads, or phoning Austin or Washington.
“Somebody has to be the contact person, somebody has to have that relationship with Austin, with our adjourned counties, and somebody with Washington, DC. Fortunately, I have those relationships,” he said.