►VIDEO: Jefferson City Council Candidate Responses | May 4 Election

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An opportunity to hear and see the Jefferson City Council candidates in the May 4 elections has been scheduled for tonight at the Jeffersonian Institute.  The event is sponsored by the Jeffersonian Institute, Marion County Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson Jimplecute and begins at 5:45 P.M.

On the ballot for city aldermen in Ward 1 are Tyler Owen and incumbent Jim Finstrom. Tyrani Braddock is unopposed for Ward 2. Incumbent Victor Perot and Darla McCorkle filed for the Ward 3 position.

Each ward elects two aldermen on alternating two-year terms.

Responses to the Candidate Questionnaire are below:

*James Finstrom, JD | Candidate for Ward 1 Alderman

1. Give a brief biography of yourself.
I was born in Davenport, Iowa and raised in Mount Vernon, Iowa. I attended college at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon and attended law school at Southern Methodist University. I have practiced law for 50 years. I was county attorney Marion County for 12 years. I will be district governor for Rotary International next year. I am a deacon at First Baptist Church and a Gideon.

2. What are your professional credentials and education?
I was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1968 after graduating with a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University.

3. Are property taxes for the City of Jefferson too high/too low/ about right?
Property taxes are about right considering infrastructure needs and budget necessities.

4. What is the most pressing issue or need for the City of Jefferson?
Infrastructure – streets, fire department and continued tourism emphasis should be our top priorities.

5. What is your vision for the City of Jefferson?
To be the best small town in Texas.

 

*Tyler Owen | Candidate for Ward 1 Alderman

1. Give a brief biography of yourself.
I was born and raised in Irving, Texas, and graduate of Irving High School, where I met my wonderful wife Janet. Janet and I moved to Jefferson in late 2006 to relocate with family. I am the proud father to two amazing children, Vivian and Parker. I live at 516 Pecan Way, where I have lived for 3 years. I am a full time Detective at a neighboring city and a previous Police Officer for the City of Jefferson.

2. What are your professional credentials and education?
I am a graduate of the Eastfield Police Academy, in 2005 and have been in public service since 2003. I have dedicated my life and career to serving people. I have been on the board of my local Police Department Association board for 4 years now, which is heavily involved with local city government, regarding budget, staffing, administrative issues, equality, etc.

3. Are property taxes for the City of Jefferson too high/too low/ about right?
In my opinion the current tax rate is about right, due to the overall citizen income for the city as a whole. Jefferson has a unique citizen income ratio, with regards there is a big gap, between the “haves” and “have-nots”. Raising the tax rate for the City could potentially be problematic for the average income family.

4. What is the most pressing issue or need for the City of Jefferson?
Communication and Community involvement is the biggest pressing issue I believe the City needs. I think there is very much a lack of communication from several city council members to the constitutes, as it relates to agenda items or overall problems. Council members represent their Ward, and I believe gathering a firm temp on where they’re Ward stands on MAJOR issues is lacking. I would also like to see Jefferson commit to community events like sister cities (example- Hallsville), public picture shows, community block gatherings etc… to strengthen community and city relationships. A community that eats together…. stays together.

5. What is your vision for the City of Jefferson?
My vision for Jefferson is to migrate out of the “well this is how we have always done it” attitude and transition into one the leading small towns of East Texas. I realize that Jefferson’s size limits our ability to provide overwhelming resources to our citizens but State and Federal grants are available to provide more community events or attractions.

 

*Victor Perot | Candidate for Ward 3 Alderman

1. Give a brief biography of yourself.
My name is Victor Perot and I reside at 403 W. Lafayette St. I am 63 years of age. My wife is Anita Perot. I was born in New Port, R.I. while my Dad was in the Navy. We ended up in Jefferson because both of my parents were raised here. I am the current president of Brownrigg Insurance Agency in both Jefferson and Marshall. I have been an owner of a business since 1982.

2. What are your professional credentials and education?
In my business, I am a Certified Insurance Counselor and a Certified Service Representative. I have served the City of Jefferson, first as a City Councilman from 1980 until 1986. I ran for the position of Mayor, and won in 1986 and served as Mayor until 1994. I was appointed to the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation and served on that board until 2005. Then, in 2015, I was elected as Ward 3 Alderman and have served that position until current date.

3. Are property taxes for the City of Jefferson too high/too low/ about right?
The city’s tax rate is the same for 2018 as it was for 2017 at 44.5 cents per $100 valuation. I would certainly hope that the City could remain there for at least one more year. I feel that the rate is just about right for now. The issues with tax rates for the City and other taxing entities is that the cost of goods continues to rise with inflation. As expenditure cost rises for the City there will be future points where taxes will have to be raised to continue business as usual. I promote the lowest increases, only at the times when I know that the City just cannot pay its bills without doing so.

4. What is the most pressing issue or need for the City of Jefferson?
The most pressing issue for the City today is Tourism. We have several smart and connected people on the Tourism Board that are bringing great ideas to the table. More funding will be put in place to help that one factor, to attract more people to town. Tourism is the nucleus of Jefferson. There are more businesses that depend on these clean dollars than any other types of businesses in town. The prior monies that have been paying for the maintenance bills for the Jefferson Transportation Center were being taken out of the tourism budget. After being educated by our Tourism Board, we will begin paying those monies out of City General Funds and let the Tourism Board spend that money on advertising.

5. What is your vision for the City of Jefferson?
My vision for Jefferson is that it becomes a bustling town again with the streets full of tourists daily. We must encourage new business to town to fill up the empty buildings and restaurants. The City is exploring several grants to fix the drainage, water, sewer and streets to help build the future for Jefferson. Every city around us is vying for the tourism dollar, so we have to do the job better than them to build our business up. We need jobs for our young people that want to stay in Jefferson and not have to go to Dallas to make a living. Working together, we can do this.

 

*Darla McCorkle | Candidate for Ward 3 Alderman

(Candidate Questionnaire not submitted)


*Tyrani Braddock | Candidate for Ward 2 Alderman (unopposed)

(Candidate Questionnaire not submitted)

 

 

 

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