Catoosa County Commissioner Bobby Winters is serving his fourth term representing citizens of District 2 and will be running for re-election this year.
"Back before I ran for the first time," says Winters, "I was attending a lot of the commission meetings, and I didn’t like what was going on."
Among other things, says Winters, sixteen years ago the county was $9 million in debt and had no reserve funds. "County officials and employees were buying their groceries and going out to eat with county money. Their wives were getting their hair done with county money. The county just kept borrowing money."
Winters says the picture of the county now is completely different. "The county is no longer in debt. We have a good reserve fund. We have a beautiful administrative building and our employees are better taken care of."
Forty years of experience in the construction business, says Winters, has been a big advantage to him as a commissioner. "It helps a lot to know roads, equipment, building, things like that."
Winters says the most important thing the county needs to do to keep up its growth is pay attention to infrastructure so the area is prepared for new industry.
One of the big challenges for the county, says the commissioner, is keeping roads up to standard. "We still have a lot of roads that need to be repaved, especially in some of the subdivisions. We’ve been working to keep roads striped to make them safer at night and in the rain, and we’re working on improving turning lanes at intersections."
Winters says he’s pleased that he’s been able to help a lot of citizens over the years. "If someone calls me, I get back to them. I’ll go out and look at their problem anywhere in the county and do everything I can to help. I’m only one vote, but I’ll do what I can."
Winters likes helping people in his role as a citizen, too. "For 13 years, my wife Judy and I have provided Thanksgiving dinner for the seniors at the senior center. We love being involved in the community – we’re people persons." Winters says there are usually about 90 people who attend the dinner, and he and his wife have the meal catered for the guests.
On the side, Winters likes hunting, fishing, and traveling with his wife.
For citizens who wish to get involved with county government or share thoughts or opinions, Winters says a good way is to attend and speak at commission meetings. "We want to help citizens and we welcome criticism."
Citizens are allowed five minutes each to speak at commission meetings. Commission meetings are the first and third Tuesday of every month (with occasional cancellations) at 800 Lafayette St. in Ringgold. To learn more, visit catoosa.com/commissioners.