Roberts concerned with education, spending of tax dollars

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   Eddie R. Roberts, who represented the old 5th District on the Carter County Commission from 1990 to 1994, has announced his candidacy for commissioner in the 7th District, consisting of Gap Creek and West Side.
   Roberts said that if elected, he will be a voice for the people of his district and will fulfill the office to the best of his ability, with honesty and integrity.
   His previous experience on the county commission and his knowledge of the budget makes him the right candidate for commissioner, Roberts said. "I was chairman of the beer board for four years, and served on about all of the committees, including highway and work release," he said.
   "While I was chairman of the beer board, the footage rule was 2,000 feet from a public gathering place. They've got it down now to about 700 feet. I'm not against a man drinking a beer if he wants," Roberts said, but he also believes the 2,000 foot rule should have been adhered to.
   Roberts said he is concerned with the educational welfare of children in the county and the efficiency of how tax dollars are spent. "I feel the county executive has done a good job," he said, but "I would need to study the commission's proposal to hire a finance director" to determine whether it would increase efficiency and accountability in county government.
   "Industry and education are the most important issues," he said. "We need industry so the kids will stay here. We need jobs for our kids. The better education they've got, the better they're going to make it."
   Roberts said he does not like countywide zoning. "There's areas that don't want zoning; there's areas that need it. But for the most part, you can't zone the whole county," he said.
   When it comes to industrial recruitment, "I feel that if the county commission would look at buying some land and make it available for industry, we might recruit some industry," Roberts said. "In the last eight years, I've seen no land bought. The last year that I served on the commission was the last year an acre of land was bought for the county.
   "We've not done anything in the last eight years to help the recruiter. We need to get out and look for some land to put industry on, and I'll work to do that," he said.
   "I'd like people's support. I'll work. I did before," he said. During his term on the commission, "We built Hampton Elementary, we bought the ball field at Happy Valley, we bought industrial land on Stoney Creek, we rebuilt the courthouse and reworked the courtrooms. And I've not seen nothing much accomplished in the last eight years," he said.