By SERINA MARSHALL
Staff Writer [email protected]
James Reeves has been following politics longer than he has been an auto mechan- ic, which is 37 years.
“My dad walked into a commission meeting, read the law and basically beat city hall,” Reeves said. “And I was always intrigued by it. I’ve always been a numbers guy, so I started looking into the financing of how cities and counties work in real life. There’s a lot of things us regular people don’t know about.”
Reeves said that he has been going into county courthouses and meetings for years just to understand better what is happening behind the scenes.
“I’ve always been that guy that sits in the back of the room and watches, learns, understands people,” he said. “And I realize I’m not that young kid in the back of the room anymore. There’s a better way of doing things. I’ve always had the fore- thought that government is supposed to be controlled by the people. We’ve just done an awful job of doing that.
“I think 20,000 people voted in the election four years ago out of 60,000 voters. So, one-third of the voters, that are registered voters in the county, voted in the election. Their voices aren’t heard, but a lot of people have given up. I want people, a few years down the road to say they are proud they voted for me. You don’t have to hide in shame.”
Additionally, Reeves said he is a big proponent of something he feels should have been done a few years ago that’s hard to get done.
“It’s hard to get done be- cause the people in charge are the people that have got to do it. And that is term limits,” he said. “Public service is public service. Get in there and do what you think you’re going to do, what you think you should do, then go back to the public.”
Reeves said that he re- views budgets even now to find where the money goes within the district.
“Between being a real math whiz and the intrigue of where our money goes, and then being able to ask the questions, I’m not that guy in the back of the room anymore,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, I want to show that there’s a way that this is supposed to be done, but we don’t do it.” Leadership is one way Reeves feels he can con- tribute to Washington County.
“At the end of the day, true leadership is what I will offer. We haven’t had somebody currently through the Covid mess that was ahead of anything or even with anything. They waited for Sullivan County and then followed their lead,” he said. “They have to provide some leadership, true leadership. You’ve got to stay ahead of things, especially if you’re responsible, admitting that you make a mistake, that’s part of leadership.”
Reeves also added that a lack of leadership in the county is one reason why he wants to run for mayor.
“I see that we don’t, and I know that we don’t treat every citizen the same, and to try to do that is a huge responsibility,” he said.
“Then with taxes, I don’t run the sheriff’s department, I don’t (run) the clerk’s office; they come to me and they’ve got to have money for something, I’ve got to find it; that’s my job. And if I can’t I’ve got to raise taxes a little bit. I’ve seen where raising taxes has to happen sometimes.
In addition to leadership, Reeves feels that the compassion he has for his county and the people will also benefit the office of mayor.
“I’m compassionate and generally down to earth, but I’m not afraid to take on a challenge,” he said. “And I hope the people of Washington County see that I can be that leader they need.”