Dresden mayoral candidates answer questions in meet-and-greet – NWTN Today
Story by News Reporter: Shannon Taylor
All the candidates for mayor of Dresden showed up at the welcome meeting in Dresden at the Purple Iris to answer citizens’ questions. Current Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn and mayoral candidates Brandi George, Mike Vernon and Lyndal Dilday were all in attendance.
Dresden resident April Lieberman asked if the candidates would be willing to accept a debate co-hosted by media organizations in Weakley County. All of the candidates agreed that a debate would be a great idea and that they would ask Washburn to speak to Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum about moderating the debate. More details on the upcoming debate will follow.
Dresden resident and news reporter Shannon Taylor asked the contestants what was the most important thing Dresden needed right now.
George replied “the town desperately needs to be put back together. We have a lot of divisions in our city right now. A lot of people are not getting along right now, not growing and developing. We need to bring people together again. The citizens of Dresden must care about Dresden.
Washburn replied that he agreed with George regarding the split. “It really showed during the tornado. People got mad at each other, and friends got mad at each other, and family got mad at each other, and that is a problem that needs to be solved. I think a broader solution to what we’re looking at is to find jobs. Jobs that pay a living wage. Jobs that have benefits and that will keep people here and attract people in Dresden to build homes and start businesses here. That’s going to be a key thing to do.
Dilday said, “We have to put it all together.”
Vernon agreed with everyone and said, “I don’t think you’re going to find us too far on some topics. I also think we need to do a better job with the city when it comes to disseminating information. If no one knows what is happening, the citizens themselves must also intervene to be able to find out what is happening. We don’t have that flow of information here. People are starting to make up their own stories and you will hear more bad than good.
Resident Chase Kesterson asked, “What is the most important trait a politician should show when governing for the people?
Vernon replied “Honesty. If you don’t have a track record of how honest you’ve been and shown it, people won’t trust you. You have to earn the public’s trust, otherwise they won’t want to help you build.
Dilday said “transparency”.
George said “integrity. You have to do the right thing when you think no one is watching. If you don’t do what you know is right, you can’t live honestly and be trusted to lead a community.
Kesterson asked, “If elected, what steps will you take to improve the community?
George said, “transparency of information. The time when our meetings are open to the public is generally not readily available or posted in a timeframe when people will actually attend meetings. The information of our elected officials is not available at the Town Hall. City ordinances not readily available or how the city operates. This information must be available. I would also like to see programs available for families – there is not much to do for families and children in Dresden – and this needs to be kept low cost or free because we don’t have the economy to support that right now.”
Washburn said: ‘It’s going to take us a year or two to get back in one direction, but the good news is our sales tax was even higher than budgeted for this year and our property taxes are low – the next year is going to be the telltale, but I predict our sales tax will even exceed what it is this year. Property taxes will also likely increase because many people are building back better. Washburn also said he’s a big fan of sports for kids, but would like to see other things for kids who don’t do those things.
Vernon said “we want more programs. Programs for young people and seniors. We want programs for young people to grow and stay in the community, but at the same time, we can’t just ignore the elderly.
Kesterson asked, “what’s the town’s biggest concern?”
Washburn said: “The fact that we might start to die and we need to keep looking forward instead of stagnating. We have to have some growth in the industry if we want to keep people here when they graduate from high school.
Dilday said: “Jobs. Rebuild.
The other candidates agreed on the need for programs for seniors and young people as well as job growth.
The candidates all plan to set a date and time for the debate which they believe will take place in September or October. More information about this will be available soon.