Who: Charles E. “Coach” Smith
Office Sought: Floyd County Commission Post 2
Website: Charles Smith for Floyd on Facebook
What sets you apart as the best candidate for this seat? Why do you want the job?
I have spent most of my entire life working to help the community I love so much. From coaching middle school football and preaching the values of discipline and character, to receiving statewide recognition for administering a program that teaches young men to accept the responsibilities of fatherhood, to working with Rome City Schools. I see first hand many of the challenges we face as a community and I will bring the much needed viewpoint of minorities and all people that do not have a seat at the table on the Floyd County Commission.
What would be your top three goals if you are elected to office?
My top three goals are simple: jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs. The county commissioners have had ample opportunity for many years to create change. Not counting the pandemic, Floyd County has less jobs and a shrinking workforce and stagnant population growth to show for a 12-year-period. Floyd County is clearly headed in the wrong direction under this board. We must stop the downward trend and begin to grow our community again or the consequences will be devastating. We will soon have our connection to I-75 with the widening of SR-140 nearing completion so jobs will be my No. 1 priority.
One of the biggest issues the county faces is the rising costs of inmate medical care and helping those with mental illness stay out of the jails. How do you think the county should go forward with these issues?
The majority of people in our county jail are there because of drug addiction or mental health issues. Losing Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital was a terrible blow to our community. I want to commend our Superior Court judges for creating the drug court which has been a huge step in getting people out of jail and into rehabilitation facilities. We must do more. I want to explore new solutions with Floyd Medical Center and the excellent residency program they operate.
Describe the type of relationship the county should have with the cities of Rome and Cave Spring.
Floyd County needs to build and maintain a cooperative relationship with both Rome and Cave Spring. Rome and Cave Spring needs to respect the different responsibilities and obligations that Floyd County has under the state constitution. Cities and counties are alike in many ways, but very different in many ways as well. The key is to respect each other’s differences while working together with a united effort to attract new industry and expand existing industries.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the county. In what ways do you think the county should push forward to flatten the curve?
We are in the midst of a terrible pandemic and now is not the time for politics. Floyd County has been hit harder than most counties in the state and we currently have one of the highest infection rates of any county. I pledge today that I will always follow the advice of and advocate for adoption of the guidelines from the scientists and medical community. This deadly virus has already done far too much damage to the businesses and citizens of our community.
How important are quality-of-life assets such as trails, parks and waterways, and what should be the county’s role in developing or expanding them?
Quality-of-life assets have a role to play in our community, but they need to be aimed at serving our citizens. Unfortunately, we continue to use our SPLOST funds to build projects that have lost millions of tax dollars over the years. The Forum and tennis center lose money every year and require taxpayer funds that could be going instead to recruit new industry, build infrastructure or even lower our taxes. We are not attractive to potential businesses because we are not measuring up when it comes to incentives. I will support the future use of SPLOST funds for roads, bridges, water & sewer, and other infrastructure projects.