Tommy Abbott, Ward 1 candidate
Abbott has been a Blytheville resident since 1966, and is a 1975 graduate of Blytheville High School. He holds a bachelor's degree from Central Bible College. He has been an employee of Delta Auto Parts since 1972 - managed the business since 1981, and purchased it in 1992. His business has recently expanded to a second store in Leachville, and relocated its Blytheville location. He is a board member and a servant-leader at Blytheville First Assembly of God, where he has attended since 1966,a board member of the Blytheville Lion's Club,and a business member of the Chamber of Commerce.
On Blytheville's financial situation:
Although we still have a couple of major situations with the IRS and Mississippi County, we also have had several bond issues that have expired. With the relief given by the sales tax, our situation should be improving. The key to any entity's financial situation; whether home, business, or municipality; is always its ability to budget properly. I believe it is vital that we establish and monitor a realistic annual budget that includes all current liabilities, annual expenses based on realistic expectations, as well as forecasting for future needs.
On population loss in Blytheville:
This is certainly a problem that must be closely considered. There are some initiatives already in place to examine and deal with this extremely complex issue. I will support and encourage community participation with those organizations reaching out to help provide change in this area. We must give people a reason to stay by focusing on safety, quality of life, economic opportunities, and education. So often the focus is on the negative things, but I believe it is just as easy to be mindful of all the positive things that our community has to offer, which are many!
On crime reduction and law enforcement:
Crime is one of the most important issues we will deal with. If we are serious about the growth of Blytheville, we must take control of this by supporting in any way possible our law enforcement community . As a municipality, we need to work in coordination with fellow law enforcement agencies and courts to get criminals off the street and keep them off. Education-based, faith-based, and activity-based programs are all vital to keeping our young people involved and off the streets. We have many of those already working that must receive the support of community leaders. This is another complex issue, but we must re-establish who is in charge of our streets!
On the responsibilities of a city council representative:
Job one for a City Council member is to help in the creation and maintenance of the best possible environment in the city of Blytheville. There are many facets to this task, which will include budget oversight as well as the creation, maintenance, and enforcement of guidelines in the form of ordinances and regulations that enhance the quality of life for all the citizens of Blytheville. A City Council member is to be both a representative of the citizens to their city government and a representative of the city government to those citizens.
My philosophy is that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. I want to serve this community which has given so much to my family. My desire is to contribute in any way possible to the success and prosperity of this community as well as helping to re-establish public trust. I feel I have much to offer in the way of leadership and business skills that would enable me to do that as a member of this council. Leadership must set the example in thinking differently about who we are as well as who we are to become.