On Nov. 6, Carroll County voters will go to the polls to vote for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, regional judicial seats, Carroll County school board seats, and the proposed Vaiden two percent tourism tax.
For everything but the Vaiden Tourism Tax, voters will cast their ballots at their regular county polling place. However, Vaiden voters have to also go to Vaiden Town Hall to vote for or against the tourism tax.
If approved by 60 percent of Vaiden’s voters, a two percent tourism tax will be added to every sale of prepared food and beverage sold in Vaiden. Two percent is equal to $.20 per every $10 meal. This does not apply to grocery items.
In the races for Carroll County School Board of Trustees, voters in Beats 3 and 4 will go to the polls to elect new school board members that will serve a three-year term until 2021. In Beat 3, incumbent Daniel Vest and Williams Downs both feel they are the right choice for the seat.
Vest has served on the board since 2013. A native of Coila and a graduate of Carroll County Schools, Vest and his wife Bridgette, have four children, and Vest also serves as a youth minister and back up pastor at Hillview Baptist Church.
During a 2014 interview with The Conservative, Vest said he was blown away as to how far Carroll County has come technology-wise and in board meetings he’s vocal about where he stands, how he feels and what’s best for the students of Carroll County.
Vest said he’s surrounded by board members that are some of the smartest people he knows, but that doesn’t mean he’s not afraid to challenge them.
But, like Vest, Downs is not a stranger to the school board seat. If the name, William Downs sounds familiar, it’s because Downs served on the Carroll County School Board in the early 1990s.
A former educator, he previously worked for the Greenwood Public School District and the former Winona Separate School District. At Greenwood High and Winona High, Downs taught auto mechanics and coached football and high school girl’s track. He said he also drove a bus.
Downs, 58 is a member of Centerville Baptist Church, and he and his wife Angie have one daughter, Lani Downs Mulvihill. He’s employed with Barrentine Trailers. When asked why he wanted to run for school board, Downs said he wants to “make sure the students of Carroll County Schools receive the best quality education.
He said the problems that he sees in the community is that he wants to ensure that money is being spent in the right places, teachers have the items that they need to give kids the best quality education they can and to ensure that students arrive at school and return home in the safest way possible.
In Beat 4, two new political newcomers are vying for the vacant seat currently held by Laura Davis. The candidates have several things in common: the two candidates are both from Coila, both former educators and both want to see what’s best for the students of Carroll County.
Martha Foreman Simpson, 58 of Coila is a political newcomer. Foreman Simpson and her husband Richard is a mother of seven and a member of New Revelation Missionary Baptist Church in McCarley. She holds a bachelor’s degree and is part owner of Little Saints Daycare Center and Dex’s Sports and Recreation Center in McCarley and is a former teacher in the LeFlore County School District.
When asked about the problems that she sees, she said she wants to see programs that will give students college credits before leaving J.Z. George High School, trade classes that can lead students straight to the workforce which creates a better workforce for Carroll County, to hire the best teachers for the classrooms that will help excel the students and for students to understand the importance of education more than athletics.
Foreman-Simpson said she would also like to see welding, brick masonry, and agriculture at the Career and Technical Center so that it can help create a workforce for Carroll County. “You know something that will help. There’s nothing here in Carroll County, and our students have to be able to compete with kids out of state so they can go on and do well, make a decent living when they leave out of state.” She said she also wants to see more than one Pre-Kindergarten class at Marshall Elementary. “Our children need that beginning, they need that take off point,” she said.
John L. Phillips, 65, isn’t a new name to those in the Carroll County School District. Known to most as Coach Phillips, he has 32 ½ years of experience in education and has worked as a head football coach, basketball coach, and athletic director. He’s also worked as a mentor and tutor at J.Z. George High School and Marshall Elementary School. He also has 30 years of military experience and held the position of 1st Sergeant in the Army National Guard.
Phillips and his wife, the former Deborah L. Owens have been married for 34 years and have two daughters, Mary L. Bishop and Jo’Niece L. Phillips, a son-in-law, Jeremy Bishop and a granddaughter Zoe A. Bishop. The couple has one goddaughter, Jennifer Tanner, and two great-godchildren, Kadon Ghee and Kalyn Tanner.
He said he wants to run because “I believe I can help our school with different issues to encourage parents and students how important education is personally to an individual, our community and county.
Phillips said the problems that he sees are a shortage of teachers and lack of parental involvement in the education of their children. “Those are the concerns that I will address first,” Phillips said. “I would encourage parents to get involved and encourage the community to support public education.”