GOP County Commission Candidates: Benita Finney
Published 9:19 am Thursday, April 19, 2018
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Finney: I decided to seek public office because I love Davie County. I love the people of Davie County and I believe that it is time for me to step up to the plate and be willing to make a difference in the community that I have had the privilege to call home and raise my family. I truly work every day to use my God given abilities to make our county a better place to live and I feel that we still have room for a little heart and common sense in government. As blessed as we are in Davie County, there are still citizens who need an advocate and items that need attention. I want to be a voice for the hard working people of Davie County. It is time that we make sure that the decisions that are being made are the right direction for the all people across the county. Someone called me the “People’s Commissioner” and I would accept that title with pride, because that is what I truly want to be: a true voice for all the citizens.
Give approximate percentages – and reasons why – of where the county budget should be spent, including, but not limited to, law enforcement, schools, human services?
Finney: If you have read the budget, then you easily realize what a complex amount of work goes into putting it together. As I look at the budget for the present year, I cannot imagine how many hours of work must go into putting all of the information together. Our Finance Department and county department leaders, obviously spend many, many hours crunching the numbers. The budget model presented for the 2017-18 fiscal year shows 16.7% going to General Government, 28.99% going to Public Safety, 23.94% going to Education, and 16.13% going to Human Services, which leaves a little less than 15% to be divided between Environment Protection, Economic Development, Debt Service, and Culture and Recreation. If you study the line item breakdown, you will see that most departments received at or near what they requested and some departments did not receive what they felt that they needed to operate properly during the year. The main discovery that can be made by viewing the budget is that there are a lot of places that the money needs to go, which means that a number that looks very large in the beginning, disappears very quickly. It would be unwise for me to attempt to analyze every detail of the budget when I am not privy to every detail that was involved in assembling it, but most areas appear to be as fair as we can afford. There are a few areas that trouble me, such as the requested, but denied, amounts from our fire departments. We have to discover a way to assist our departments in getting the funds that they need to operate. We have amazing emergency service organizations in our county and it is easy to take them for granted until you need them, but when we make that call, we expect them to show up. We must take care of EMS, fire, rescue squad, and law enforcement, so that they can take care of us. I cannot pretend to have the answers on solving budget issues, I can only look forward to having the opportunity to learning more about the details and listening to department heads as they share what they need to make their operations successful. I know that there is much more information to absorb than is evident in the breakdown and always more work to be done. My main goal would be to seek decisions that ensure that all monies are distributed in a way that is most beneficial to our entire population.
Is Davie County growing too quickly, too slowly, or about right?
Finney: Some areas of the county have experienced a significant amount of growth in the last few years and other areas have grown slowly, or not at all. The concern that I have with the fast growing areas is making sure that we prepare for the changes. We need to look ahead and make sure that we are thinking about what the growth will bring and are we able to provide the additional services that growth requires. We lure citizens into the county with our schools, emergency services, and way of life, but are we expanding these same items to ensure that needs are being supplied? Can our roadways handle the extra traffic? Can our schools handle the additional students? Are our emergency service departments being supplied with the extra resources to protect and serve the citizens? Are we neglecting other areas of the county in order to accommodate the fast growing areas? Are we compromising our values and roots in an effort to grow? Do we even care? Well, I care and I think we need to look ahead and prepare for growth and change. We need to step back and look at the big picture, not just the possibility of numbers. We need to consider the entire county, not just a corner of the county. We cannot allow other areas of the county to be neglected or ignored and all of our resources directed into one area. Of course we desire increased revenue and jobs, but we must not let the desire for the dollar overrule common sense and values. If we do not maintain what makes Davie County great, then what have we accomplished? Some areas of our county are growing slower and some steadily. I think that we see all three speeds as we move to different areas. I believe that a steady growth is the better path. As I travel across the county, I see new buildings, homes, and businesses almost daily, I just want to make sure that we handle all growth wisely.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a volunteer, a friend, and a worker. My husband, Jeff, is a Captain at the Mocksville Police Department and also works for DC EMS and is Assistant Chief at Advance Fire Department. My son Bradon, is a student at Davie County Early College. I am already overwhelmed by the blessings that I have received just by entering this campaign. The Lord has placed people in my path to encourage me, lift me up, and lead me to believe that this is the direction that I should be going. God is so good! I believe in Davie County and the people of Davie County. I am thankful for the people who built this county and made it what it is today. I remember when most of our businesses were locally owned, small businesses that looked out for each other and their customers. Now, some of those businesses have been replaced by large corporations. But I am thankful for the furniture store who sets up payment plans for their customers, the drug store who allows their fixed income clients to pay once a month, the family farm who organizes events to provide family entertainment and recognize our hometown heroes, the father who leaves the birthday party to fight a fire, the hometown girl who returns home and shares her dreams of desiring to make her community great, the mom who spends her time volunteering at school, the woman who sees hunger and finds a way to feed people, the retired man who plants a garden only to share it with his neighbors, the pastor who spends time away from his family to comfort or counsel another, the teacher who secretly buys a pair of shoes for her student, the people who see abuse and seek to save the victims, the volunteers who train countless hours to be prepared to remove an injured driver from the wreckage, the law enforcement officer who misses Christmas morning to protect us, and the person who comes along and offers a kind word at just the right moment….these are some of the treasures of Davie County. I am blessed to know people who fit each of these descriptions and they are the reason that I am seeking election. I know that we must grow, but I believe that we can maintain our small town charm and still seek growth with proper planning. We must support our emergency service workers, who train tirelessly to protect us on limited resources. We must take care of the elderly and the voiceless. We must not be too busy to notice when our neighbor needs a helping hand or when a child needs a hug. We must be willing to volunteer our time and expect nothing in return. We must be slow to criticize those who do a job that we would never do. We must feed those who are hungry. I believe that all of these things can be brought to the office of County Commissioner. It does not have to be all about the numbers, it also should be about the heart. That is what I have to offer you….my love for Davie County and the people, and the desire to do my very best to make wise decisions to benefit our county. I do not know all of the answers, but I am not afraid to learn and work to do my best to represent every person in this county. I am not a politician, but I care, and I want to make a difference in any way I can. I cannot promise you that I will be able to accomplish all that you ask of me, but I promise to listen and to try, and I appreciate your support, your vote, and most of all, your prayers.