Who: Shonna Bailey
Office Sought: Floyd County Commission Post 3
Political Party: Democrat
Occupation: Clinical social worker & real estate agent
What sets you apart as the best candidate for this seat? Why do you want the job?
I believe my breadth of experience within the community and my educational background prepared me well for this position. I have been interacting with the residents of Floyd County all my life and have been in relationships within it. I have seen our residents at their best when helping them buy or sell a home. I have also seen them at their lowest in my role as a social worker. I understand and empathize with my neighbors. A county commissioner is elected to work for the people they represent so they must understand their constituents. I do.
What would be your top three goals if you are elected to office?
My three main priorities will be improving public transportation, including working to bring it out into the county. Too many of our citizens are unable to take advantage of it right now. Expanding transit would also provide additional economic benefits. Secondly, I would work to help those who struggle with keeping a roof over their heads. No one should have to worry about where they will be sleeping. Finally, I would work to improve mental health services and services for seniors and those with disabilities. All three of these go hand in hand.
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?
By addressing the issues of mental illness on the front end, we can avoid having to send many people to jail in the beginning. Mental illness is not something to take lightly. Mental illness is multilayered and brings about other comorbidities which cannot be addressed until a person has been prescribed the right regimen, which takes time and careful monitoring. Therefore, the county should meet people where they are in their crisis and work their way up. Basically, start with the crisis at hand by offering better mental health options and fund them. This can be beneficial for all.
Describe the type of relationship the county should have with the cities of Rome and Cave Spring.
The county and cities should have a respectful collaborative approach. The economic futures are intertwined. If the cities are thriving and have things to offer, businesses will want to relocate to Floyd County. Likewise, if the county is thriving, people are more likely to go to downtown Rome or Cave Spring. We are all one Floyd County. The recent TAD issue is one where the county dropped the ball, but thanks to Rome’s foresightedness, the county will reap the benefits anyway.
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?
In a word — masks. The evidence that wearing a mask is the easiest way to reduce the spread of the virus is undeniable. Make masks mandatory out in public. Follow the science and listen to the experts. We can beat this virus and reopen our economy to the betterment of everyone. The county should also work with the amazing healthcare facilities here in Floyd County to increase testing and tracing. There is an abundance of medical resources here. Make good use of them.
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?
They are extremely important. They are the kind of intangibles that businesses, youths, and retirees look for when deciding to relocate. They are extremely popular among the younger generations and can help to keep our younger residents from moving away after college. Floyd County has so much to offer. We need to promote our natural beauty and recreation opportunities. We are blessed with our rivers. They can be an economic draw, while preserving their beauty.