Sluder is familiar with county's problems

By Julie Fann
star staff

"I feel like if I got elected today I could go to work tomorrow. I wouldn't have to learn the job. I know what the problems are, and I can go ahead and attack them now."
   Those are the words of Keith "Joe" Sluder, a professional photographer who is running for Carter County commissioner for the 2nd District. Sluder said he's spent so much time in area schools working for Coleman's Studios that he has a working knowledge of the educational needs and problems of the community.
   "Being in the schools like I am every day it kind of opened my eyes to some of the problems. I know all of the principals and talk to them, and I can see what's going on. I don't have to read about it in the paper or go to commission meetings. I see it," Sluder said.
   Sluder said he believes the county is wasting money that would be better spent in funding education for his community. Working hard so that all citizens involved in educating children could see a salary increase is something he said needs to be addressed.
   Although Sluder isn't against the county hiring a financial director, he said it needs an industrial recruiter more. "You gotta get somebody that can recruit businesses and know what to say; know how to talk to these people and know what to offer them, because we have more jobs leaving the county than coming," he said.
   Sluder said he would need to study the pros and cons of hiring a financial director. His greatest concern, however, is that the money spent to support the position wouldn't pay off. "You know, that's probably a high-paying job not to get anything out of it, not to get anything done," he said.
   The people of Roan Mountain, where Sluder is a native, aren't in favor of countywide zoning and, as a result, he's not either. "I need to represent the people that vote for me; if they want it, then I'll vote for it. If the majority don't want it, then I won't, but right now very few want it," he said.