Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Henry DeWayne Fuller is a Democratic candidate for Hinds County District 5 Supervisor. The answers below are the candidates' verbatim responses, with no edits whatsoever. Find more state legislative candidate questionnaires here. Read more 2019 state political coverage here.
Part of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors' mission is as "a service organization fully committed to improving the overall quality of life." Explain how you will improve the overall quality of life in Hinds County if you are elected.
As a political scientist, urban and regional planner and public administrator I understand that we cannot effectively achieve quality of life without addressing the human condition and unmet needs. I will conduct a community needs assessment within the first 100 days of my administration. The results of this needs assessment will serve as a blue print for our office and help me shape policies that effectively address the needs of all of the constituency, including members of vulnerable populations.
What needs to happen with the Raymond detention center and other jail facilities in the country?
The Raymond Detention Center is in great need of rehabilitation or a new center must be constructed. However, the county has experienced some barriers in effectively addressing requirements of the U.S. Justice Department's consent decree and detention center needs. Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will review the structural engineer assessments of the center and be willing to consider approving funding for the rehabilitation of center, or consider funding options for the development of a new comprehensive detention center. I will explore all options available that may offset the final re-construction/construction costs. I will also conduct a needs assessment that will be developed based on fair share cost modeling for cities that house the most inmates to the least inmates. I will ensure that this center not only houses inmates, but rehabilitate them and build their life skills, and professional capacity to foster a smooth transition after reentering society. This will aid the county in cutting down on the number of repeat-offenders. Furthermore, I will ensure that the Hinds County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee is comprised of qualified professionals that will effectively address the needs of detainees and detainment/detention center(s). I will also regularly monitor the progress of the Compliance Coordinator to ensure we effectively comply with the federal monitor and the Department of Justice compliance measures.
How can the county best respond to the federal consent decree? What are priorities?
The county can best respond to the federal consent decree by ensuring that the Federal Monitor and the Compliance Coordinator have a great working relationship and to ensure that the Compliance Coordinator is proactive and not reactive in efforts. The county has struggled to comply with requirements of federal consent decree, citing staffing and financial concerns. My priorities would be to ensure that the Hinds County Detention Center is adequately funded and staffed, and to ensure that detainees' Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights are not violated by regularly monitoring administrators of the detention centers progress, by ensuring that I have a great working relationship with the Sheriff of Hinds County. I will request that the Compliance Officer and other relevant staff submit more frequent status reports detailing progress on complying with all federal compliance measures to board. As Special Projects Officer of the District 5 office I worked diligently to be responsive to the U.S. Department of Justice federal consent decree. I toured the Hinds County Detention Center and Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center after numerous complaints, investigations and riots to assess needs and to report back to board supervisor to seek solutions. I provided detailed summaries to the supervisor on ways we could ensure a quality, compliant facility that can ensure that inmates are housed in a manner in which their Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights are not violated. I plan to build upon these previous efforts. Within the first 100 days of my administration I will review the structural engineer assessments of the detention center and be willing to consider all funding options for the development of a new comprehensive detention center that not only houses inmates, but rehabilitate them and build their capacity to ensure a smooth transition when reentering society. I will also conduct a SWOT analysis to address staffing issues and other needs with the Sheriff of Hinds County. Furthermore, I will ensure that we are accountable to: increased supervision of prison staff and detainees; improved training for prison staff, particularly in regards to appropriate use of force; improved incident reporting and investigation; no longer detaining detainees without adequate legal justification, particularly in regards to detention for failing to pay legal fines; and notifying mental health professionals of the release of detainees with mental illness to facilitate their transitions back into society. Moreover, I will ensure that the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee is comprised of qualified professionals that effectively address the needs of inmates and detainment/detention center needs. I will also ensure that the Compliance Coordinator effectively comply with the federal monitor and the Department of Justice compliance measures.
How do you respond to those who want a new jail built?
For constituents that wants a new jail built, I would conduct a Community Meeting to highlight the pros and cons of developing a new jail or maintaining current facility. After briefing, if residents are not satisfied, I will have to ensure them that I will make the best decision based on the best, actionable knowledge. To ensure transparency, I will work to provide justification for decisions and act on actionable knowledge that best serves the constituency.
What are your plans to support economic development in Hinds County?
I have developed an economic development strategy that will address prioritizing more resources to ensure that we have a trainable work force, best educational resources and schools, quality infrastructure planning and management, address blight and home ownership rates, property value depreciation and other needs in all of District 5 to stabilize our tax base. I will work with state law makers to strengthen laws aimed at addressing property owner neglect of properties resulting in property values depreciating. I will work to ensure that budgets are accountable to infrastructure planning, development and management. Within the first 100 days of my administration, I will meet with all local elected officials to review their current land use and zoning plans to discuss where they and their constituency would like to see their community go. I would then like to work with each community and community stakeholders to develop effective comprehensive plans respective to each community within District 5. These steps will ensure the economic prosperity of District 5 and Hinds County. As a former City Planner for the Office of Housing and Community Development and as Environmental Review Officer for Federal Programs with the City of Jackson, I reviewed and certified funding for several programs such as: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Federal Economic Development Incentives, HOME, HOPWA and the Down Payment Assistance Programs. I will take the skills associated with my many years of public service with me to the District 5 office. Furthermore, District 5 has several resources that can aid us in achieving quality, sustainable economic development that have not been prioritized as tools such as: I-55 South, Highway 18 and the Pearl River. I will work diligently to identify and to incentivize developers with economic development tools like Tax Incremental Financing to sustain quality, economic development in the great County of Hinds. I would also work to incentivize individuals interested in making Hinds County home for families and businesses, through incentivizing new home owners, business owners, and public servants through various initiatives aimed to support economic growth and sustainability.
What do the unincorporated parts of Hinds County need?
The residents of the unincorporated parts of Hinds County often have several unique issues, however residents in these areas have shared with me that they would like to receive better servicing from first responders: Sheriff Department, Fire, and want to ensure that they will have functioning public infrastructure to ensure they can have accessibility to their homes at all times, especially during storms and emergencies. Residents also need better internet and phone coverage in these areas especially in times of storms and emergencies. I will work to hold a Community Listening session in rural parts of District 5 within the first 100 days of my administration to conduct an official Needs Assessment that will ensure that residents in these areas are not forgotten and to ensure they receive first class servicing, as well as all residents.
Why specifically are you running for supervisor?
I am running for supervisor because I know I can do the best job as Supervisor of the District 5 office. I served as the Special Projects Officer of the District 5 office and know first-hand the needs of the District 5 office and its constituency. I am uniquely qualified as the only candidate with the experience of running the District 5 office, as a former educator, urban and regional planner and public administrator to provide effective leadership that makes a positive difference for all. Most importantly, I am running because I am displeased with the leadership of the District 5 office. I know that we deserve safe communities we can live, shop, play, work and thrive in and that it is attainable. As a little boy growing up in Hinds County, I remember a time of community and civility. I want all Hinds County residents to be proud to call Hinds County home. I am committed to effecting positive, sustainable change and positive outcomes for all of residents of District 5. Moreover, I am running to inspire young professionals and families to stay and build in Hinds County, a home where we must have a seat at the table. We have lost too many professionals to neighboring states, because residents did not feel they could thrive here. I will inspire progressive change for all by ensuring that all reestablish a since of community pride for all welcoming all back home and all to stay.
What would be your first priority?
My first priority is to ensure transparency in Ensuring Accountability of Finances and Quality Servicing. As a member of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, I will use my vote to ensure that our county officials and employees are providing the best service possible. I will use this position to ensure there are real checks and balances at the county and use them appropriately to get effective results, especially in time of need. There are several other priorities I have such as: ensuring we have safe communities we can live, shop, work, play, thrive in; best educational resources and schools; quality local jobs that pay livable wages; quality work force development and training programs for all; affordable, quality housing that meet market needs, quality drinking water and treatment, equal representation for all; quality programming and servicing for all, effective infrastructure planning and management; sustainable economic development, quality, safe public parks, spaces and activities for all.
What needs to improve on the current board?
Currently, members of the board are not effectively using their power to effect positive and timely change. I will use this position to ensure there are real checks and balances at the county and use them appropriately to get results, especially in time of need.
Why are you the right person for the position?
I am the best person for this position because I am uniquely qualified to serve as the only candidate with the experience of effectively running the District 5 office. I am a life-long resident of Hinds County that was educated here and have worked here and understand the needs of residents of Hinds County and District 5. I will ensure that I effect positive, sustainable change to ensure that we and generations to come have a beautiful home county that is a safe place where we can live, grow, shop, work, play and thrive in.
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Read more 2019 state political coverage here. Find more candidate questionnaires at jacksonfreepress.com/2019msleg.
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