By MARINA WATERS
For mayoral candidate Mark Ferguson, it’s simple; When it comes to hard decisions, there are times you have to “just do what’s right.”
And for Ferguson, that means keeping tax rates in mind while representing the citizens of Washington County.
“When I see the highest taxes in the history of Washington County,” Ferguson said, “and the runaway spending we’ve had, I just think it’s time the rural people have somebody to stand up for them.”
Ferguson, who was a county commissioner from 2006 to 2010, said when it comes to taxes, he also believes the county mayor should constantly consider the people in which he or she represents — and how taxpayer dollars are being utilized.
“When you’re spending another person’s money, you should spend it better than your own.,” Ferguson said. “So when you’re handling the taxpayers’ money, that is someone else’s money. I’m not for speculation with the taxpayer money. I am for economic development. I served 11 years on the economic development board, but I’m not for speculating the county’s money.”
But Ferguson isn’t just focused on taxes; he told the Herald & Tribune that if elected, part of what he wants to focus on is making sure the needs of the county are met — from public safety to citizens’ basic needs.
“We have needs in the county that aren’t even being met. We have people in this county who do not have clean drinking water,” Ferguson said. “We have fire departments that are in need, but yet, we’re giving away millions of dollars to multi-billion dollar companies with no accountability.
“We need to stop the giveaways and start taking care of the citizens of the county.”
In focusing on the needs of the county, Ferguson said he mostly wants to “do what’s right” — especially when it comes to the needs of the students of Washington County.
“I have been in politics all my life, but there are just a few things in life that you sit politics aside and just do what’s right,” he said. “When you’re talking about our school children, let’s quit playing games and let’s just do what’s right. The statement was made not long ago by a county commissioner that we can’t be fair in the county. Yes, we can be fair. There are just a few things in life where you just do what’s right.”
To Ferguson, Washington County also had a chance to “do what was right” in 2016 when the county voted in support of same-sex marriage.
“We lost that by one vote,” he said. “It didn’t change nothing, but we had an opportunity to do what was right and we failed to do it.”
Above all, Ferguson said he hopes the people of Washington County see him as a county resident who recognizes the true value of a dollar.
“I hope they understand I’m a lifelong resident of the county. I’ve been a business man for just about my entire life and I’m a family man,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been married to my wife for 39 years and I’ve got two kids and six grandchildren. I’m a conservative and I’ve worked hard in my life to learn how to get the full value of a dollar. And I want to do that same type service as a county mayor.”
Early voting for the May 1 Republican Primary Election will begin on April 11.