By David Howell
TILLATOBA – Three supervisors candidates from three different races spoke at the first political forum hosted by Tillatoba Fire Department on June 23.
The first supervisor to take the podium was Eddie Harris, who was born and raised in Coffeeville. Harris is running for District Four supervisor, and started his speech providing background information which included a career in the Mississippi State Extension Service, most recently as county agent.
His opponent, incumbent District 4 Supervisor George Suggs, did not attend the rally.
Harris said he moved back to Coffeeville two years ago after retiring from Mississippi State.
“Yalobusha County is God’s country,” Harris said. “When I got a chance, I came back.”
He also told attendees that he was co-owner of Bypass Express in Coffeeville.
“One thing that I will promise you, I will be a voice for District 4 and Yalobusha County. I will not get in the board room and go to sleep,” Harris said as he shifted to politics.
“We need to create jobs in our county. We need our young people to stay here in Yalobusha County and Mississippi. They don’t need to go out of state to get jobs,” he continued. Harris specifically cited the county-owned building in Coffeeville that Avery Outdoors is vacating.
“You got to knock on some doors and talk to some folks if you want something to happen,” he continued.
Harris then addressed roads in District 4.
“These roads are in bad, bad shape,” Harris told the crowd. Need to fix these roads the first time instead of going back and patching,” Harris said. Over time, this would allow the budget to be used to fix roads right, rather than always patching.
Harris then switched to youth’s needs in the community.
“In District 4, we do not have one public place where our youth can go play basketball. That’s terrible… We are not providing anything for them to do,” he added.
Harris also touched on securing grants for the county.
“There are a lot of grants out there we should apply for, state grants federal grants,” Harris said, adding somebody has to be out there seeking them.
Next to speak was District 1 Supervisor Tommy Vaughn.
“It has been an honor and a privilege,” Vaughn said in opening statements, also acknowledging it can be a tough job at times.
Vaughn then countered earlier comments made in rally.
“We got millions and millions of dollars in grants throughout the county,” Vaughn said, citing several examples including new fire trucks and a $1.2 grant for Windsor Foods.
“They will have another expansion in the near future,” Vaughn added about the Oakland based Windsor Foods.
“We are always looking for grants,” he said.
Vaughn then addressed earlier comments from several candidates about tearing down boundaries across the county.
“That has always been a goal of mine, to eliminate this Coffeeville, Water Valley, Oakland thing.
“We were fortunate enough to start an economic development district in Yalobusha County that is made up from people of every part of this county,” Vaughn continued.
Vaughn said there are several businesses looking at locating in the county right now, including in the building in Coffeeville mentioned by Harris.
“I can’t talk about them, because I don’t want to run them off,” Vaughn said.
“We are not sitting back, we are knocking on doors. We are not expecting somebody to come to Yalobusha County, we are going to them,” Vaughn stressed.
He added that he likes to treat everybody with the same respect, anywhere in the county and was available to meet with anybody, anytime.
“I do want this job for four more years.I certainly hope you will see fit to give it to me. If you do, I promise to never be a politician. I will never lose sight that I am a public servant, I work for you, and you can fire me if you want to.”
Vaughn’s opponent, Larry Townes, did not attend the rally.
District Five Supervisor Frank “Bubba” Tillman was the last supervisor candidate to speak.
“I ask the people of Beat Five to elect me as supervisor. I haven’t got an opponent, but that doesn’t mean I am not going to represent the people of Beat Five,” Tillman stressed.