The newest member of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors is learning, meeting and gaining an appreciation for others who serve in public office.
District 2 Supervisor Bill Brigham is new to the board and to public office after spending 40 years in Columbus’ banking industry.
He took the oath of office Jan. 3 and immediately hustled to the courthouse to have his official photo taken. His spot on the wall of officials that greets visitors to the Lowndes County Courthouse still has his predecessor — Frank Ferguson’s — name on it, but that empty spot is not indicative of his first month in office.
“I’ve been impressed with the staff we have in different positions,” he said Tuesday morning after finishing his third board meeting.
Their level of knowledge, willingness to help and work ethic are the most important things he has learned, Brigham said.
“They really keep us informed … It’s easy working with them all.”
Brigham said he is surprised by the sheer number of meetings that supervisors are called on to attend, and some bring last-minute notice.
“It’s rewarding, and it’s been very busy,” he said.
The meetings are important, he added, because supervisors need to hear from residents and employees.
Brigham has gained an appreciation for his colleagues on the board.
“They all add something to the team, I think,” he said.
While he doesn’t expect them to always agree, Brigham said, the elected officials he has worked with thus far have the community’s best interests at heart.
His campaign platform included improving the quality of life in Lowndes County. Brigham also touted job growth as a goal.
“I do think that jobs right now is the most important thing we have to create,” he said, adding that jobs improve the quality of life for people.
While Lowndes County has seen a lot of job growth during the past three to four years, it’s also seen a lot of job loss.
That’s why, he said, it’s crucial to continue working with the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link and why he is excited that Clay County and West Point have joined the regional economic alliance.
Clay and West Point offer some things to prospective industry that Columbus and Lowndes County do not, Brigham said. One is infrastructure capacity.
Brigham wouldn’t say whether he would seek a second term, but he did have an idea of what he’d like the county to look like at the end of this term.
“I’d like to see our city and county become unified in our plans and our thoughts and our relationships,” he said. To him, it’s imperative that the entities work together in economic development and something as basic as law enforcement.
Brigham, who also serves on the state board of Keep Mississippi Beautiful, is optimistic about the future of Lowndes County.
“I just sense that good things can happen …” he said. “And I think that’s encouraging.”
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