The District 4 Supervisor race features another rookie Democrat supervisor, Daniel Jackson, campaigning to keep his spot while a Republican challenger with an impressive record hopes to claim a spot at the table.
Jackson, 31, is the youngest supervisor on the county board but he”s out to educate the voting public on a few things they might not know.
“I hope the folks of District 4 look at the facts and figures. Two elections and something mandated by the state are responsible for the bulk of the county”s tax increases,” he said.
Jackson, a Starkville Academy and Mississippi State University graduate with a degree in secondary education, said citizens” complaints over tax increases are unjustly aimed at the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors. The primary cause for the recent increase, he said, are a 2007 public vote to renovate several Starkville School District facilities, a 2008 referendum to invest in renovations to the county-owned hospital and the reassessment of property values which is mandated by the state to take place every four years.
“Those three things account for 70-80 percent of the tax increases,” said Jackson.
Educating citizens is nothing new to Jackson, who taught in Choctaw County schools from 2003-2008. He also runs a small vending machine business and works on his family”s cattle farm.
Regarding the always popular issue of county roads, Jackson admits he”s been blessed to lead a district which already has some of the best roads in the county, but he”s been careful to balance his allotted road money between building new roads and maintaining existing roads without asking the county to purchase anything on credit.
“You can (pave roads) two ways. Either you pay as you go or you can propose a bond issue. A good portion of the roads in my district are in pretty good shape, so I have a hard time asking the people in my district to pay for roads in areas they may never use,” he said.
“I”ve tried to make the decisions that are best for the county. You can”t please everybody, but I”ve enjoyed working with the public to see Oktibbeha grow.”
Jackson is a Democrat.
Bricklee Miller, 42, is accustomed to supervising a multi-million dollar budget.
For the past 11 years, Miller has served as director of a popular Oktibbeha County multi-purpose event facility which draws thousands of annual visitors to Starkville.
Miller has been so busy with work and family that she”s still pursuing the degree in agricultural economy she started 20 years ago when she moved to Starkville to attend MSU. She”s taking some more time out to serve the community in another capacity.
“I want to be a supervisor because I love being involved. I have been for the last 11 years in developing economic revenue for our community. I”m really good at financial infrastructure, which is what I do now and what running a county is,” said Miller. “I run a multi-million dollar infrastructure and have grown it over the years. I took over something small and it”s grown into a tremendous resource for our community.”
Miller said she can do the same for county government and constantly sees opportunities to market Oktibbeha County to industries.
“You”ve got to have more than day-to-day knowledge. You”ve got to have a vision of where the county should go and the leadership to get it there. That”s what I”ve done,” she said.
As Miller campaigns to break into the all-boys supervisors club, she”s keenly aware of the challenges ahead of her.
“A lot of people ask me, as a female, what I know about building a road. First of all, we have a road manager and foremen. And I was really involved with having the road to our facility, Poorhouse Road, built,” she said.
Miller is a Republican.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.