Mayoral candidates answer some questions
This week, the Advance-Monticellonian concludes its three-part series about the candidates for the city’s special mayoral election on Tuesday, May 9. Democrat David Anderson, who is currently serving as Interim Mayor, and Independents Ronny Carr and Joe Rogers are vying to serve the remainder of former Mayor Zack Tucker’s term.
Tucker resigned in January after being charged with abuse of offi ce and tampering with public records. The person elected next month will serve until December 2018.
Early voting begins at 8 a.m. next Monday at the club room downstairs in the Drew County Court House. Monticello citizens may vote from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. next Monday through Friday, May 5, then early voting will conclude on Monday, May 8. Polls throughout the city will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day at regular polling places.
The same questions were asked to all three candidates and their answers published in alphabetical order by the last name of the candidate. Anderson’s responses were in the April 12 edition, Carr’s were in the April 19 edition and Rogers’ are following:
AM: How long have you lived in Monticello?
JR: I have lived in Monticello for all of my 53 years.
AM: Please tell us about your upbringing (e.g. where you went to high school, college, where are/ were you employed and for how long, etc.).
JR: I was born and raised in Monticello. I graduated from Monticello High School and attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello for two years. My father started Roger’s Mens Wear in 1976. I started working at the store at age 14 and took over the operation of the business at age 18. I have been running the company ever since.
AM: Please tell us about your family of origin and your present family.
JR: My father, Billy C. Rogers, was from Carthage. My mother, Mary, was from Brockport, N.Y. My parents moved to Monticello in 1963, and I was born that year at Drew Memorial Hospital.
AM: Please tell us something not many people know about you.
JR: I served as the Arkansas South Babe Ruth State Commissioner from 1993-2017 as a volunteer.
AM: Why did you decide to run in this special election?
JR: I am passionate about making things better for the people of Monticello. I want to have the opportunity to direct the operations of the city to restore trust and confi dence in Monticello city government and to provide more and better services for the citizens.
AM: The reason for this special election is well-known. How will you go about repairing Monticello’s image?
JR: I will lead the city government in an open, honest and ethical manner and oversee all city employees and contractors to ensure that they perform their duties competently, honestly and ethically. I will ensure that the city is accountable and transparent to the people in all aspects of government.
AM: What, if any, is your prior political experience?
JR: I served as Mayor of Monticello for a full four-year term (2007-2010), and during July-December of 2010 to complete Mayor (Allen) Maxwell’s term (following Maxwell’s death).
AM: What do you think is Monticello biggest asset?
JR: No question, it is our wonderful people. We have the friendliest, kindest people that you can find anywhere. We have a lot of untapped potential in Monticello, with many people who are smart and hardworking who are looking for opportunities for jobs and businesses. We need to make better use of this great asset.
AM: What will be your top priority if elected?
JR: My top priority will be to restore trust and confi dence in Monticello city government by ensuring all city operations are carried out honestly and competently and by ensuring honest and responsible expenditures of the taxpayer’s hardearned dollars.
AM: Please outline the remainder of your platform (e.g., infrastructure, city growth, building of new amenities, etc.).
JR: Restore: I will work to restore trust and confi dence in Monticello city government with honest and responsible expenditures of the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars.
Openness: I will maintain an accessible offi ce with city operations that are transparent to the people of Monticello.
Growth: I will work to remove any barriers that hinder growth of business and industry with a business-friendly environment. I will work hard to recruit new business and industry and promote Monticello as the driving force of economic growth in Southeast Arkansas.
Explore: I will welcome new ideas and will diligently seek out new opportunities for Monticello.
Recreation: I will work with the Parks and Recreation Committee to ensure all facilities are safe, accessible and maintained.
Serve: I will work hard to upgrade the city infrastructure to provide better service including the water and sewer department, city streets, police department and fi re department.
AM: Will you have an open door concerning the city’s finances?
JR: Absolutely. The people of Monticello need to know where their tax dollars are being used and to have assurance that taxpayer funds are being used to give the most benefi t possible to the citizens. I will have an open door concerning the city’s finances and all other aspects of city government.
AM: How will you promote Monticello and its rapid expansion?
JR: I will work to create a business-friendly and resident-friendly environment in Monticello and use every opportunity to let people know about the benefits of living and working in Monticello. I will seek out new ideas and opportunities to advance Monticello.
AM: How will you work with organizations like the Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas or the Southeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority?
JR: In any collaborative relationships in which the city is involved, I will represent the citizens’ interest by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used ethically and responsibly and that the citizens benefit from our participation.
AM: What will be your working relationship with the members of the Monticello City Council and the government of Drew County?
JR: I will work with the city council to provide the people of Monticello with an honest, ethical, competent and accountable city government. I will seek opportunities to work with Drew County government offi cials to make life better for Monticello and Drew County residents.
AM: What will be your working relationship with the members of the Monticello Economic Development Commission and the Monticello- Drew County Chamber of Commerce?
JR: Monticello Economic Development Commission, Inc. is contracted with the city to develop industry and businesses in Monticello and the surrounding area, so I will work diligently with them to ensure that the economic needs of the City are met. I will support the efforts of the Monticello- Drew County Chamber of Commerce to serve the needs of business owners, develop tourism, assist visitors and new residents, and promote Monticello.
AM: Finally, and we understand this might have been addressed previously, what best qualifi es you to be voted the Mayor of Monticello?
JR: I am a successful businessman and an experienced Mayor of Monticello. I know how the city government is structured and how it operates. I am willing to listen to everyone and will always try to make the best decision for the people of Monticello. Mostly, I am an ethical person who will not misuse the offi ce of Mayor, and I will be accountable to the people. I am ready to get right to work