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story.lead_photo.caption CHARLES COOPER

1. What are your top priorities if elected into office, and how do you plan to address them?

My top priorities are the City and the City's Business, keeping everything going and functioning as well as possible just as we need to be doing. There is always room for improvements, growth, and advancements in modern day for our City. Whether it may be services offered, businesses coming to town, or improving on current issues already in place and committing to advancement from there.

2. What do you plan to do to best serve the people of Fouke and make sure their voices are heard?

I plan to listen to the citizens and their issues that they may have that they feel needs addressing and a resolution to. I plan to document and keep notes on anything a citizen has to discuss with me, then follow up in our meetings and keep contact with the people on the progress and resolution to the issue at hand. My Oath is to the People as their Elected Servant and Representative of the City. I do have a regular job daily, so if they cannot reach me immediately leave a voicemail with name, number and the issue at hand, 903-733-7522.

3. What is the biggest challenge the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for the city, and how do you plan to address it?

COVID-19 has been a challenge for the entire country and definitely has not left our City out. I believe the biggest challenge caused for our city was the drop in tax revenues and state turnback funds. With the indefinite closures of businesses considered non essential and people staying in place at home, not spending or getting out and shopping as normal. These finances took a fall in coming into our city. Being a small city, it caused us to tighten our budget. We have slowly come back up as phases have raised, but still are not back in full intake of these funds. Addressing it would be on a day by day basis and encourage safety and social distancing as implemented by officials, encourage citizens to still get out and shop locally and still remain safe and distanced in their ventures.

4. What are your thoughts about the city's finances, and what programs would you like to see added or done away with?

City finances seem to be ok seeing them on paper, with the exception to the COVID issue and revenue lost there in the past few months. I feel we need to continue watching and prioritize our spending on what we have to do and the necessary repairs and issues with equipment, services and main issues of daily operations in our City. As for programs, I do not see any that need to be done away with, I would like to see programs that can benefit our citizens, like our youth and elderly. Meals on Wheels for our Elderly to be available again for those confined at home and unable to get out. I would like to see a summer work program for our youth again, in the past known as CETA, JTPA, to get out.

5. Under what circumstances, if any, would you consider raising taxes?

I do not feel there is any circumstance or reason to raise, or consider raising taxes in our City. Even with the COVID issue and cut in state turnback funds from the issue, we need to encourage local shopping and business.

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