Name: Shonna Bailey
Occupation: Business owner, social worker
What qualifications do you bring to this position?
As a life-long resident of Floyd County I have seen the changes it has gone through, both positive and negative. I feel my experience as both a Realtor and medical social worker has given me the opportunity to get to know the people of Floyd County and to develop an understanding of the issues that they confront every day. As a business owner, I understand the need for a growing economy. This is tempered by my experience as a social worker, which has given me insight into the hardships that social and economic changes can bring to a community.
In what ways should the county government adjust to the coronavirus, going forward?
The Commission should lead by example by wearing masks and practicing social distancing while out in public. It is imperative that the county health department has the resources it needs to keep people safe. Partnering with numerous medical facilities in Floyd County to guarantee the county has the best information and testing resources will be key. Additionally, the county should strongly encourage the Board of Elections to set up absentee ballot drop boxes to protect voters and poll workers alike. Continuing teleworking where possible could also have long-term benefits for the county and its employees.
How should the county commission respond to the opioid crisis?
The key to addressing addiction of any kind is treatment. There needs to be quality long-term treatment options available to people if we are going to be able to help people get their lives back on track. We have some, but not enough, right now. I deal with addiction and mental health issues every day and I see how they can ravage a family. Given the concentration of medical facilities in Floyd County, it can be a leader in treating addiction to opioids, as well as other drugs. We just need to make it a priority.
What new projects or initiatives do you consider priorities?
Two of my main priorities will be public transit and homelessness. I want to see the county open a dialog with Rome to expand public transit beyond the city limits. This will benefit the citizens as well as the economy. Reliable public transit improves the quality of life. Addressing homelessness will require building partnerships between the county, the cities, community organizations, churches, and mental health providers. We can no longer simply pretend the problem does not exist. There are people who need assistance and the county should do its part to connect people with the resources they need.
What is your long-range vision for Floyd County; things to change, things to keep the same?
I want a Floyd County that is thriving economically. We need to bring jobs to the county, but we need to bring the right jobs. We need jobs that will encourage the youth of Floyd County to stay and raise their families here. This will mean focusing on quality of life issues. We must do a better job of marketing the county and what it has to offer. However, we must be mindful of not building Floyd County’s future on the backs of those that have been here for decades. We must revitalize neighborhoods without displacing their long-time residents.