The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 10, 2012

Election 2012: County Commission District 4 candidate Ben Harrison


The News Courier

— Prior to 2008 elections, I took only passing notice of how things were run in my county and country.

I would note things that seemed absurd and beyond the scope of government, but I didn't know what to do other than vote at election time. After that, I began to occasionally attend County Commission meetings, and I started to learn how decisions were made. I began to voice opposition to things that I thought were ill advised, wasteful, or in violation of private property rights.

I discovered that many times decisions were made based on whims or pressures from outside forces. These decisions were often based on politically motivated agendas instead of on a principled view of the proper role of government.

I would like to see that changed. I feel that we need honesty and integrity at all levels of government.

One of the objectives I have is to bring the experience I gained in manufacturing to local government. As a technical services manager, my job was to find practices that would improve operations and reduce costs. While there are areas that the county does well, there are others that could stand improvement.

I am dedicated to never raising taxes, and that is why I feel it is so important to improve operations and reduce costs whenever possible.

Another area that I see for improvement is the amount of transparency in fiscal matters. I believe that the more eyes that are able to see what the county is doing with taxpayer money, the better. For example, Baldwin County has a checkbook feature on its website where every transaction can be seen. I would like to see something similar to that implemented here. Everyone should have the right to know how government is spending his or her money.

We are entering into a time when state and federal governments are reducing funding and grants. To address this, we must improve performance.

As your commissioner, I am committed to improving the operations of the commission and all its related activities, rather than just maintaining the status quo.