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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – As Election Day inches closer, 41NBC is introducing Macon-Bibb voters to their candidates for commissioners.
Decision 2020: Meet Erion Smith, Macon-Bibb Commission Candidate for District 5
Candidate name: Erion Smith
Running for: District 5
Campaign Facebook: Erion Smith for Macon, Inc
Q. What are some items that you are very passionate about that you hope get through commission and how will you get your fellow commissioners on board?
A. Some of the things that I’m very passionate about in the community, first off the community, I’m very passionate about the community as a whole, and also programs for kids, transportation for families in need, different programs and resources, making sure they’re coming to the community, making sure the community is educated on those resources coming into the community, and also the communication is transparent. Also as a commissioner, I know everyone on the commission board is not going to agree, but what we do have to do is yield to the process and work together, work with my colleagues in a civil manner, where if the outcome of our citizens is … If the outcome is detrimental to our citizens, we have to agree on that. We got to make sure we make the right choice for our citizens.
Q. If you are elected, the new group of commissioners are going to have a big cleanup, as commissioners are going to get ready for the fiscal year 21’s budget, and that includes pulling out of this economic hole that we’re in right now because of the pandemic, without Cherry Blossom and other organizations. And they’re saying the new commissioners are going to have to revisit the bill or the budget in January. What are your plans to help make sure that we can recover from this pandemic?
A. Just to stay on top of everything, like now during the pandemic, we got to make sure our numbers and our people are accounted for, and make sure all of our citizens are taken care of in the best way possible, but we are going to have to go back in and make sure our paperwork is right, make sure everything is in place for our citizens doing this pandemic. So our recovery efforts, just making sure everything is in place and needed for our citizens.
Q. With that being said, a big topic during commission right now is getting ready and trying to find room in the budget for pay raises for first responders and to county employees across the board. Is there room in the budget for that, especially now as we’re trying to recover?
A. I definitely think we got to look at that budget clearly and clarify what is all in the budget that we can have room for, for all of our people in government office and especially the sheriff’s. It’s largely an issue of competitive pay. That’s all I think it is. So we have to improve pay for the sheriff’s office, no matter what else we do. First, as a matter of public policy, I would want Sheriff Davis to document what are our shortages for that department to where we can compete to the cities that’s the same size as us, so we can know specific numbers so we can take care of our employee workers all across the board.
Q. How can you make sure you support, and commission supports as a body, Sheriff Davis’ efforts to combat crime and also address the citizens concerns of crime as well?
A. I would talk with the sheriff to try to take on community policing approach. For our sheriff to try to take on more of a community policing approach to where the police knows the community, and the community know the police pulling up to every call, just to give them a sense of comfortable being around the sheriff and not already scared. In 2000, we took on a policing approach and our numbers show that was a very good approach.
Q. Going hand in hand with crime is blight. District 5 has a lot of residential and commercial blight. How do you plan on combating blight in your district?
A. Our community is plagued with residential and industrial blight. I would advance the kinds of economic development needed to take place to fight and ultimately eliminate blight for our communities, eliminate that threat for our communities.
Q. Your district is home to the music legend, Little Richard, and we just lost him within the last week. How are you going to make sure that your district and commissioners help memorialize him and keep his legend alive in your district?
A. I’m going to just work with the resources. First off, RIP to Little Richard, and me being growing up in Pleasant Hill, it was very … I felt it. It was heartfelt knowing that somebody coming from where I came from, where I was born and raised, made it to be a legend in the eyes of everyone in the United States. So we definitely have to make sure our Macon Knights are memorialized and put up on a big pedestal, because of the rock star that he was, and the king of rock and roll, so we have to make sure all of our citizens are respected in that nature, and the sacrifices that he took to get to where he was. So just work with the right resources, like the Little Richard House, to be able to reach out to his family, to make sure that we show our honor in the right, respectful way to his family. So that’s what I would do, plug into the right resources in the community and just make sure all of our Macon Knights are respected as they should.
Q. Is there anything your constituency should know before heading to the polls in June?
A. When you head to the polls, I want you to not make it a popularity contest, or who’s more educated. I want you to make your decision on who’s going to make the right decision for the citizens living in our city, and for me, I’m not just a politician. I’m a true member of the community that knows the needs and wants of a certain demographic that I will be serving. So I just want you go in to make that vote, I want you to make sure that you’re locking in with somebody that’s going to keep the communication transparent, educate our community, and also just know the demographic that he’s serving.