Voters have tough choices to make for the two seats up for election on the Madison County Board of Commissioners.
In the District 2 race, longtime city councilman and well-known union and Democratic leader Ollie Dixon is pitted against Republican Party and farming community veteran Darlene Likens.
In the District 3 race, board of commissioners stalwart John Richwine, also a Republican farmer, is matched with rising Black community leader Lindsay Brown, a Democrat.
The best combination to work with the third commissioner, Republican Kelly Gaskill, would be Likens and Brown.
Losing Richwine’s leadership and experience — 16 years on the board, plus 8 on county council, 8 on the planning commission and 14 on the county drainage board — would be difficult to overcome.
But after a tough stretch of years for the commissioners marred by millions of dollars in unexpected costs for county building renovations, as well as acrimony pitting Richwine against Gaskill and the third commissioner, Mike Phipps, it’s time for a change.
(Phipps was defeated in May’s Republican primary by Likens.)
Brown’s message of inclusiveness and teamwork resonate in 2020. A former head of the local Urban League, Brown has stepped forward to challenge the traditional thinking of the Anderson school board and has drafted a police reform proposal under consideration by city council.
In short, Brown has the courage, energy and civic commitment to learn rapidly on the job and help the board of commissioners turn the page. A project manager with Duke Energy, Brown could bring expertise to the table as the board considers whether to build a new jail.
As the lone minority, lone man and lone Democrat on the board, Brown would also bring diversity.
In combination with Brown’s attributes, Likens’ experience would create a good mixture of perspectives. Likens would be a natural to be president of the board and would focus on work to be done rather than playing politics.
As a former county council member, county treasurer and county clerk, she knows what needs to be done and how to do it. When department heads come asking for money, Likens will know just the right questions to ask.