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District 1 magistrate candidate: Bobby Hardin Jr.

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By Stephen Lega

Bobby Hardin Jr., 49, lives on Garrett Lane. He has two songs. His is a graduate of Marion County High School, and he’s worked for the Marion County Road Department for 20 years.

1. Why are you running for magistrate?

BH: Trying to improve. I want to bring more business to the county. I've been working for 'em going on 20 years [with the road department], and I'm still there. They've asked me to run for office because I've been on hand with 'em. And I'd like to see how good a job I could do on fiscal court. Plus, I would like to help anybody in my community that needed help, get more higher paying jobs, jobs coming in for county workers, helping out schools and fire departments and what-not like that.

2. What experiences and education have prepared you to serve as magistrate?

BH: Working hands on hand with the public. Picking up garbage, blacktop, running a [unclear] mower, cleaning out ditches, stuff like that. Basically, I've been there 20 years and had no complaints. And I know how to talk with the people and how to work with the people, you know, where they'll be satisfied. And I'm willing to do more than that if win getting office. [I'll] do the best job I can possible do, allowed by law. I don't want to do nothing illegal and won't do nothing illegal. 

3. In the last few years, how have you kept up with the activities of county government?

BH: I've been to court meetings. I am watching how the magistrates work, well satisfied. I think we got a great group of people trying to run the county and stuff, and that's why I want to be part of it.

4. If elected, on which committees would you be willing to serve?

BH: I'd like to be on the Marion County Road Department.

5. County Judge John G. Mattingly has proposed a cost-sharing agreement with the City of Lebanon to cover the costs of providing E911 with the funds that will be coming to the county from cell phone fees. What steps should the county take to maintain and improve E911 once it is in place?

BH: Got to do whatever's got to be done to get the calls out and get the people waited on if they call in and need help. 

6. Not long ago, the Marion County Detention Center was self-sufficient. After changes in state law, jails throughout the state have been housing fewer state prisoners. As a result, the county spent $80,000 on the detention center in 2012-13, so far it has spent $325,000 on 2013-14. If this becomes the new normal, what steps should the county take to remain financially stable?

BH: I've been told the more inmates they got, the more it makes. So, you know, I would say - not bring people here that's murderers and stuff - but if they could house more inmates, then the county makes more money. That's what I've been told and understood. 

7. Do you believe magistrates should have discretionary funds? Why or why not?

BH: Do I believe they should have 'em? Yeah because it could help people. Say like a school fund for a school project to help the education or if a family here in Marion County that was in need of help, yeah, I'd recommend that. I stand for that very strong. And I'm thinking as a magistrate, it's not what you get from the magistrate's job, it's what you put into it. You know, the money's not the issue. I'm not worried about the money. It's the people I'm in it for. That's what I'm after.

8. At this time, Marion County does not have planning and zoning. Is this something the county should have? Why or why not?

BH: I don't think, no, Marion County should have zoning. I mean, if you get on up out of City of Lebanon, as long as you keep your property and stuff up like that, it's well done the way it is right now. I'm saying that as far as my part.

9. In general, what if any changes would you like to see in county government?

BH: Better wages. More job opportunities. If people are more qualified, pay the ones, you like, if they can operate equipment and stuff, give them more money. Better equipment for garbage trucks and dump trucks. Those guys, including myself, we got a lot on our hands, you know. Of course, we got good equipment now, but if the county could better theirself, you know, and making more equipment better and keep up and stuff, I think that would be a great thing for the county, too. Ambulances, keep the ambulance services up and stuff, and especially that 911. I think that 911 is very important. I'm saying you got to help a person or somebody's down and needing help, I think we ought to have good enough people to get to 'em and get 'em hand-on-hand with people, doctors, and get 'em treated.

10. The soil conservation district recently asked the fiscal court about becoming its own taxing district. Are you in favor of, opposed to or undecided about whether the district should be a separate taxing body?

BH: Undecided.

Why do you feel the way or how would you make your decision?

BH: I think it's fine the way. There's enough tax that's been going out anyway. 'Cause a whole lot of people are paying a whole lot more for taxes than what they are getting, as far as being a standard of living, the cost of living. Everything keeps going up but your check. That's my personal opinion. I'm not saying that's right or wrong. That's just the way I feel about it.

11. What else would you like voters to know about you or about issue you would make a priority if elected?

BH: That they can run a background check on me. My name will come up clean. I'm a hard-working citizen. I worked 11 years at Lebanon Oak Flooring. Wal-mart - worked their maybe 10 or 11 years, and then I come to the county and been there ever since. I'd just like to have the opportunity to see if I can do as great a job as Mr. Wicker is doing. But I think, you know, I might be able to do it better. He's a good guy and gonna be hard to beat. 

Hardin later added that as far as he knows no one has complained about him in his time working for the county.

“I’m younger. It’s time for a change. I’m a voice, not an echo. When I get in, I want to fight for the people.”