WATER VALLEY – The weather turned a little cooler heading into last Saturday night’s Rally in the Valley, but the politicking was hot as the August primary fast approaches.
The rally was the third in the county, but the first in Water Valley and several different candidates, including four battling for the Beat Three Supervisor seat being vacated by M.H. “Butch” Surrette, addressed the voters.
Kenny Goolsby was the first Beat Three supervisor candidate to take the podium and was one of the most brief.
“My wife and I have been married for 22 years and we have run a business here for 25 years,” Goolsby added. “I believe I can take my business experience and help run the county,” he concluded.
Two candidates add-ressed roads in Beat Three, Lee McMinn and Bailey Walker.
Walker served one term as Beat Three supervisor from 2000 to 2003.
“First on my agenda is these roads in District 3… Patching potholes, resealing, and blacktopping some gravel roads that never has been blacktopped. I want to do that, I think I can,” Walker explained.
McMinn said he would implement a paving plan to address roads as funds become available.
“I will show that plan to anybody who wants to see it,” McMinn said.
“Our road situation is like a lot of counties and towns, you have got some roads that are hard to get across,” McMinn said.
“It costs between $12,000 and $14,000 a mile to seal a road today,” he added. “Obviously we can’t get every mile of road in the county.”
Henry Johnson told attendees that he was born in Yalobusha county, is a 21-year employee of BorgWarner and also operates a lawn care service.
“I am a family man,” Johnson said. “I am fair, I am honest and I am trustworthy,” Johnson said.
McMinn followed John-son, and took the stage with his wife and two young children.
“I wanted to bring my family up here and introduce them because they are my biggest supporters,” McMinn explained, before he launched into his speech, which was the longest of the four candidates.
In addition to implementing a road paving plan, McMinn stressed creating jobs.
“I was involved in the Economic Development Foundation along with a number of other people who served on our board. Professional people who live and work in this town,” McMinn said.
“We understood the need for an aggressive economic development effort in this county, one that was not only Water Valley but Yalobusha County as a whole,” McMinn explained as he pointed to successful economic development partnerships in other counties.
“When I ran for this job in 2007, albeit unsuccessfully, I feel like there was an accomplishment that we as board members on that foundation made. The current supervisor board had the wisdom in 2007, after the election, to restart the economic development district. They hired Bob Tyler as its director. Bob Tyler has done a wonderful job and continues to do a wonderful job today and I hope he will be in that capacity for a long time,” McMinn said.
“I can promise you that if I am sitting on that board of supervisors, job creation will be one of my number one efforts,” McMinn continued.
McMinn also pointed to the formation of the Water Valley Main Street as an economic development effort that he helped implement.
McMinn told the crowd he became familiar with the state’s Main Street organization as a subscriber of the Mississippi Business Journal.
“There would be article after article after article talking about the successes of the Mississippi Main Street Association. I just wondered to myself, why can’t we have that here,” McMinn explained.
McMinn added that with the help of local people the program was launched in Water Valley after a two year process.
“It has been a great benefit to our community,” McMinn added, pointing to awards the Water Valley Main Street Association had received this month.
Walker was the last candidate in the Beat 3 race to take the podium.
“Being a Shriner, I know what it means to work for and to help children. I will work to make a better future for them in the county with industry and economic growth,” Walker said.
“I have 14 years of experience with the county,” Walker said, including four years as a former supervisor, five years as fire coordinator and three years as rubbish landfill operation.
“I am a family man, honest and hard working. I don’t have another job to go to, so I will be there when you need me,” Walker concluded.