Why do you think you would be the best candidate to fill that role?
I believe my most positive asset is my business acumen which speaks for itself. I have been running multiple successful small businesses in Jackson County for many years and I have been making executive decisions since I was 18 years old. Second, I also am very excited about this opportunity. I am the only contestant for this office that has attended every commissioners meeting since April. This is because I want to be ready to go to work immediately if elected. Finally, I believe that we can always improve our economic development and there is no better individual for this task than a sole proprietor. I know firsthand what businesses want and are looking for and would actively seek to bring in new business and industry for Jackson County.
There are several issues confronting county officials at this time, including jail overcrowding, the need for a permanent location for Jackson Superior Court II in Brownstown and the need for a shelter for stray dogs. How would you address those issues if elected?
I believe jail overcrowding to be the largest major issue facing this county. I am in favor of remodeling one of the recreation areas to serve as more holding cells to stem the tide temporarily. However, it is very well known that 70 percent of all inmates are incarcerated on drug-related charges. This tells me that we should be looking at alternative ways to combat drugs in this county. As far as the superior court is concerned, I strongly believe that we are in need of a permanent courthouse for Superior Court 2. I do however believe that, considering we will have two new commissioners in a matter of months, this should have been delayed slightly so that the incoming commissioners could oversee this large project from start to finish. In reference to an animal shelter, I believe it to be abhorrent that we subsidize Red Sky animal shelter with a measly $29,700 per year and Red Sky’s expenses for 2015 totaled $67,051.07. It is indisputable that animal control is a local government responsibility. Until we begin to find solutions, it will remain a problem.
Are there any county services that need to be improved, added or eliminated?
I have spent a considerable amount of time touring many of our government facilities. I believe we should try to find a solution to streamlining court proceedings. Many incarcerated people at the jail are awaiting for, or have only attended, an arraignment hearing. I believe we need to speed up the process a little bit in order to try to reduce jail population. I also feel that our emergency medical service has substantial room for improvement on many fronts. Our EMS staff is not only still very much underpaid compared to equivalent services in neighboring counties, but they are also expected to furnish the stations themselves. I also do not see even a fraction of the in-house education performed that I would expect. It is unbelievable to me that the drivers of the ambulances will more often use their smartphones for directions. When minutes matter, we need user friendly technology that allows us to go straight to the scene. I also believe all ambulances need Think Map, which is a program that allows dispatch to see them at all times.
Why did you decide to run for office?
There is no one simple reason, rather many which came together. My grandpa passed away three years ago and he always wanted me to run for this office. After running, I have realized that I should be able to make a substantial difference and offer new perspective for some of the issues our county faces. I believe we need more youth in government. Younger candidates have the ability to create positive results by giving new ideas about how to solve the problems we face as a county. I also believe that we need more successful business owners. Business owners know how to get things done with a budget, meet a payroll, and they have experience making tough executive decisions.
What do you think it will take to win the support of voters?
The only thing I can do is give my best effort on every front, and leave the rest to the Lord’s will. I talk to as many people as I can, trying to get my message out. I have many good ideas for the county that I would love to have the opportunity to implement, I just hope that the voters allow me the opportunity.
Name: Brad Smith
Occupation: Sole proprietor
Education: Brownstown Central High School honors diploma
Previous political experience if any: None