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NAME: Greg "Hootie" Smith
CANDIDATE FOR: Mingo County Commission
HOME CITY: Williamson
HOME COUNTY: Mingo
EDUCATION: Williamson High School Graduate, Class of 1989; Marshall University Graduate, Class of 1993. (B.A. Accounting-Minor Business Management); Capital Law School Graduate, Class of 1996 (Juris Doctorate of Law).
CURRENT OFFICE/OCCUPATION: Mingo County Commissioner 2001-Present; Law Offices of Greg "Hootie" Smith PLLC (Licensed in WV & KY).
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Attorney for City of Williamson; Attorney for Mingo County Commission; Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Mingo County.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Chairman, Mingo Co. Board of Health; Board Member of Mingo Co. Airport Authority; Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce; Board of Directors WV Association of Justice; WV Supreme Court Appointed Character & Fitness Examiner; Past Member of WV State Bar Board of Governor's; Past Board of Directors of the WV State County Commissioner's Association; Past Member-Board of Directors of Hatfield-McCoy Trails Authority; Trustee of Calvary Baptist Church (West Williamson); Youth Director-Calvary Baptist Church; Burch Middle School Girls Basketball- Head Coach (2020 County Champs).
FAMILY: wife, Christine (Messerian) Smith (20 years); children, Cassie (Matt) Hall and Kimberly (John) Beamer; one granddaughter; parents, Ralph (Dusty) & Judy Smith.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am the most qualified candidate to lead us through these difficult and uncertain times. My experience and education gives me the ability to make the tough decisions necessary to move our county forward to a brighter future.
1. How would you implement better county planning?
I believe the best way to accomplish better county planning is by getting more people involved in our local government. I've implemented this strategy by live streaming County Commission meetings so that the public can be informed and included.
2. How would you encourage economic development in the county?
Economic development is initiated through local entrepreneurs investing in our county. The primary focus of the Commission should be to support our small businesses through focusing on developing improved infrastructure and tax incentives to help our entrepreneurs succeed.
3. What more needs to be done about dilapidated housing in the county?
I have faced this challenge by creating a county ordinance that contains the full authority of State Law. Appointing a board of citizens to investigate and prosecute public complaints, obtaining grant funding to aide in demolition and through our efforts 35 structures have been corrected by their property owner and three have been ordered to be demolished by the Commission.
4. What are three most pressing problems the county faces?
Our county is no different than the other counties in West Virginia and must overcome many challenges. The three I personally believe are the most pressing include: the opiod/drug epidemic; decreasing tax base, which limits economic opportunities and declining population.
5. What needs to be done about litter control in the county?
To permanently stop litter in our county we must educate our children and change the mindset of our people. The Commission has spent thousands of dollars on county cleanup projects; coordinated efforts with cities, churches, civic organizations and individuals; employed litter control officers; and supervised inmates and volunteers performing road side beautification, only to see the litter return.
6. How do you plan on continuing to maintain a balanced budget?
I have always maintained a balanced budget through strong fiscal over site, conservative spending, and open dialogue with our elected officials. These efforts have proven successful in establishing a healthy rainy day fund for our county that has maintained local services during trying financial times throughout our state and nation.
7. How can the county commission help to improve broadband access in Mingo County?
Our rural mountain terrain prohibits internet providers from investing the funds to establish broadband access. To solve this problem, our Commission has partnered with the state's Broadband Enhancement Council and AEP for our state's first "middle mile broadband project." This project will allow approved internet providers to utilize existing AEP infrastructure to provide broadband services to citizens of Mingo County.
8. What more can be done to transform Mingo County into a tourism destination?
To be a tourism destination we must invest as local entrepreneurs, work together, support our small businesses, and leverage our tax dollars for additional economic development . Our Commission is actively pursuing this goal and has created a county tourism committee to assist with the planning, marketing, and design necessary to promote our county's history, heritage and beauty.