Justice of the Peace District 8
Spouse, children and/or other family: My family includes my husband, James "Bo" Coe and two grown children: Michelle Lawrence of Hot Springs, AR and Matt of Marion, AR. I have six grandchildren.
Years a Miller County Resident: 53
Highlight your top three degrees and/or educational achievements: I have an undergraduate degree from SAU with a major in English and a MSE from SAU in education. I have reading, special education, and administrative certificates. In reality, I've gone to school all my life. I've always enjoyed learning.
List your current job/employer and your top three occupational achievements: I'm currently retired after 42 years in education. The last 14 were as middle school principal in the Genoa Central School District and before that I was assistant principal at Arkansas High School in Texarkana.
Highlight the top three examples of your civic or community service: Currently most of my community service has been through my church with Harvest Texarkana and the backback program. I work with the Miller County Republican Party and events they sponor. While working I assisted with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity and numerous community fundraisers with students.
Highlight the top three examples of your political experience: If you work in school administration, that is a political experience in itself. I've served on state committees concerning teacher legislation, child and school safety, and curriculum, I'm currently a member of Miller County Republican Women and a member of Staff Parish Relations at my Christ Church.
Political affiliation: Republican
Why are you running for office? Volunteering opened my eyes to many things in Miller County. Most of our problems are due to lack of resources which can be attributed to lack of economic development. Everyone seems aware of these problems, so maybe the same old problems need to be looked at with fresh eyes and concerns listened to with new ears.
What are your top three goals if elected? Careful scrutiny of the budget would be my first goal. There are lots of tough questions to be asked and are we asking them? Secondly, how are we encouraging economic development? The use of Smith Park is my third goal and I think we could tie it in to No. 2.
What are the three most important issues facing the county? The county is definitely facing money problems. We have no tax base and that leads to issue No. 2..no economic development. We have to grow Miller County. Those two issues are formidable.
How do you propose addressing these issues? As far as the budget, I would have to look at it. It takes everyone being on the same page and the community knowing what's going on would be a great help. Listen to the people at the ball games and the restaurants.all those voluntary taxes are scoffed at. If people really knew what was needed and had a say, maybe they'd be more receptive to a tax. Growing Miller County is a must. This is the only way we can be assured a tax base. All we have is Cooper Tire. Do we need to join with Texas side and look for those big companies to come here? Is AR-TX REDI the answer? That's a question that needs to be answered sooner than later.
What are the most important issues specific to your district? District 8 has city and county residents. That means taxes and services are different for these people. Those are issues unique to district 8 but the lack of jobs and economic growth are discussed more frequently. I think people just know if they decide to live in the county, they face different challenges.
How do you propose addressing those issues? Trying to address issues such as the tax system in the city of Texarkana and the county would take an action by the state. It has been under discussion in the legislature for years but with no agreement. The other issues of jobs and economic growth that affect all of us would be addressed in tandem with all the districts that make up Miller County. A plus for district 8 might be the land that could be bought for a large enterprise of some kind.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a tax increase or bond issue? It would definitely depend on what it was for. To attract a large business of some kind might take a bond issue or a tax increase and I would favor that.Making the electorate aware of the issues and all the in's and out's would be an absolute necessity.
Where do you believe the county stands financially and what, if anything, would you like to see changed? Again, without actually looking at the books I can't say for certain. I've looked at the financial statements provided by the quorum court but am not privy to all the information. Just by reading the newspaper and going to the meetings, I'd say we are not on steady ground at all.
How can justices of the peace help this region attract industry and create an atmosphere to retain existing jobs? First of all you have to be receptive to new ideas and to change. Change is a scary thing but what are the options. We have to work with the schools to make sure we are educating citizens for the jobs that will be coming. Sell all the outdoor resources, availability to major cities, and our people.
What is your opinion on pay increases for county employees? If you support this, where would the money come from? I'd love everyone to have raises but do we have the money? You can't spend money you don't have. The pay for some elected officials may be mandated by law, so we'd need to look at that. All in all, if the county had money at the end of the year I'd definitely say a bonus would be due.
Justice of the Peace District 8
Spouse, children and/or other family: Married to Roberta for almost 58 years. Two children and four grandchildren. Three step grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Years a Miller County Resident: Nearly 36 years
Highlight your top three degrees and/or educational achievements: High school graduate with honors, Army specialist school with honors and some college.
List your current job/employer and your top three occupational achievements: Retired from Arkansas Best Freight, contract poultry grower for 25 years, current cow/calf operation.
Highlight the top three examples of your civic or community service: Current secretary/treasurer Red River Cattlemen's Association, state board member of Arkansas Cattlemen's Association, numerous positions at Genoa Baptist Church and Ag Learning Center volunteer
Highlight the top three examples of your political experience: Justice of the peace in my eighth year (fourth term). Also served in U.S. Army eight years, volunteer Genoa firefighter for about 25 years and second vice-chair county Republican committee.
Political affiliation: Republican
Why are you running for office? I believe I have served the citizens of Miller County with honest, fair and common-sense representation. I try to attend all committee meetings so I know what is going on and can make sound judgment on any given items that arise. I try my best to see that the citizens get the most for each tax dollar spent.
What are your top three goals if elected? Economic development, improving the public's safety (see below) and stopping the dumping of trash and dogs.
What are the three most important issues facing the county? I would like to see our county attract industry. I would like to not have a drug problem here and not have trash thrown all over the area. I still support the Genoa Water District and would like to see Phase 2 completed so we would have more fire plugs to help the volunteer fire departments.
How do you propose addressing these issues? Working with REDI, the JPs can help attract new industry. I have been checking into land that could be used for new industry in Miller County. Working closely with the sheriff's office and the water district are good strategies.
What are the most important issues specific to your district? Trash being thrown everywhere, stray dogs being dumped by owner who decide they no longer want them and vehicles that travel above the posted speed limits.
How do you propose addressing those issues? Turn in anyone seen littering and report suspect vehicles that don't belong there that are hauling items the wrong direction, report persons dumping dogs and report speeders' time, location and description to Miller County Sheriff's Office and set up surveillance.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a tax increase or bond issue? No tax increase. I would support a bond issue if it was approved by voters.
Where do you believe the county stands financially and what, if anything, would you like to see changed? The county's finances are basically sound and running close, but within reasonable limits.
How can justices of the peace help this region attract industry and create an atmosphere to retain existing jobs? The JPs can help attract new industry. I have been working with REDI by checking into land that could be used for a new industry in Miller County.
What is your opinion on pay increases for county employees? If you support this, where would the money come from? I would like to see all employees paid more. Sometimes, there is just not the extra money to do so. Actually, they have a pretty decent pay package with salary, holidays, vacation, sick leave, insurance and retirement.