Statewide elections are coming up this Tuesday, November 6 and the race is on for the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors. The candidates from districts 2, 3, and 5 are ready for Tuesday’s vote.

The campaigns have heated up in recent weeks as candidates have made their last-ditch efforts to woo voters.

One of the county’s most intriguing races: District 2 Supervisor.

District 2 incumbent Democrat Jimmie Smith has held his position for two decades. He cites his experience as one reason voters should choose him.

“We have enhanced the quality of life in Lauderdale County through improved recreation, economic development, and roads and bridges,” Smith said.

He feels that the best way to improve his district is to build upon what has already been done. “We need to continue to build roads and make sure our bridges are safe, we need to further enhance economic development - we have already created 600 jobs so far, and we need to keep working in those areas.”

His opponent, Republican Wayman Newell, said he wants to improve roads, bridges, and economic development, but says a different approach to those improvements ought to be implemented. While Smith can boast more experience as supervisor than anyone else on the board, Newell believes that it’s time for a change, and says that he will bring fresh ideas to the administration of the county. He also says that he wants to make a greater effort to get the surrounding counties working together to create higher-paying jobs.

“I’ve always been a friendly person and I always try to help people in need,” Newell said. “People in my area can call on me any time and I’m always there to help.”

Smith says that he, too, is there to help, remarking that he returns phone calls from citizens everyday and is a full-time supervisor with an open door policy.

As District 2 Supervisor, Smith said his top priority is to keep everything running smoothly.

“I don’t put one [issue] before another. We need to stay focused on all the issues, making sure tax-payer dollars are spent appropriately,” he said.

District 5

District 5 candidates this year are outspoken Democratic incumbent Ray Boswell, and his 18-year-old Republican opponent, Greg Mangum.

Boswell was first elected as District 5 Supervisor in 1988, was defeated in the 1995 race for the office, but voted back to the position in 1999. During his 15 years as District Supervisor, Boswell has made himself quite visible to the public and has earned the reputation of the most outspoken (or as he puts it, “plain-spoken”) politician in the county.

He says that one of the most importants aspects of his role is “to represent the people ... all the people instead of a select few. Everyone,” he continues, “everyone I represent is important to me.”

Mangum does not seem to feel that Boswell has done this, however, saying, “We need a representative that will stand for all the people, not just a select few.”

When asked if he feels there is any threat in such a young opponent, Boswell responds, “Any time I’ve ever had an opponent, I feel threatened. You have to run any race as if you were behind.”

Mangum, a recent graduate of Southeast Lauderdale High School and president of MCC’s Young Republicans, may be young, but he is determined. And while he readily admits his lack of experience, he just as readily provides answers to it.

“I know I’m inexperienced as far as the job,” he says, “but I do know that I know what our budget is and I think I could be a better steward for watching how it is spent ... A young person can be drafted into the army at 18...I think if you are knowledgeable you can do a job at any age.”

He adds that, as a young person himself, he feels he would make a better representative of young people looking for jobs.

Though it has been a long time since Boswell has been able to employ youth as a tool, he does provide a long list of things that he feels make him the most suitable candidate for the job of District Supervisor.

“I’m a businessman,” Boswell said. “I’ve run a company before. I’ve served in the military. I’ve been a branch manager of a big company... I’ve been supervisor for 13 years. I communicate with my constituents.”

But despite all that, Mangum feels that Boswell is lacking in one quality that Mangum believes himself to have plenty of, “I put moral values first, and I think I have served my district by being a good citizen who has faith as a strong component in my life.”

Boswell hinted of the aqcuisition of a major business “on the horizon” in the county, one he claims will create thousands of jobs, refusing to relinquish any details. His idealistic young opponent talks of his conviction that voters will not be off-put by his age, “I think people are just looking for someone with a good moral standpoint.”

District 3

District 3 candidates are Wally Hudnall, a Democrat, and the incumbent Republican Craig Hitt.

Hitt said he strives for equal representation, saying one of the ways he has served his district is by “striving to represent everyone equally” and citing this as his top priority as district supervisor.

“By doing that,” he says, “I feel I will have given them my best.”

Hitt feels his district needs continued improvement in infrastructure, education, and quality of life.

“I will continue to concentrate on roads and streets throughout the district,” he says, “Good, safe access to and from school, work, church, wherever we travel affects everyone.” He also vows to do whatever he can to improve education in Meridian and Lauderdale County.”

Wally Hudnall feels that he has an edge on Hitt because of his business background.

“When I bring business, I bring experience,” he said. “Lauderdale county is a 43.7 million dollar business.”

He feels that his experience in the timber business has given him the know how to efficiently manage tax-payer dollars and says that better money management will eliminate the need to raise taxes.

Hudnall says that his overall priority as district supervisor will be “roads, roads, roads” and that, like his opponent, he wants to see supervisors working together to improve the county as a whole, “We need to get our heads together,” he says, “and make this area grow.”

Like District 2 candidate Wayman Newell, Hudnall says he will bring fresh ideas to his district, and like his opponent, he wants to represent the people of District 3 faithfully, “I plan to run the district with good business sense and answer to my people in district 3, their wants and their needs.”

Hitt wants voters to know that he has made contacts on the local, state, and Washington level during his time as supervisor, and adds, “For Lauderdale county to reach what I believe is our potential, it will take all of us, county, City of Meridian, Town of Marion, state and federal officials working together.”

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