Hales not seeking reelection in 2015

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 20, 2015

Long time public servant Anthony Hales will not be running for reelection this year.
He currently serves as the District I Supervisor for Pearl River County, but will step down after this election cycle picks his replacement.
Hales began his political career in 1985 when he was elected to the Poplarville Board of Aldermen, but had to make a tough choice; give up his well paying job as a cable repair technician with the phone company, or stay in Poplarville to assume his seat. The decision came about because his employer was conducting layoffs, but offered to move him to another market, meaning if he took the job he would have to give up his seat on the board.
After some prayer, Hales said he decided to stay in Poplarville and look for other work, eventually taking jobs with an industrial company in Purvis, the ammo plant at Stennis Space Center and the Poplarville School District.
When he initially took office, Hales thought it would be as far as he wanted to go in politics, until a new district was formed in the county in 1995.
He eventually decided to run for the position with a little coaxing, where he has been serving the county ever since.
Hales admits that during his tenure as a politician he’s made mistakes, but always made decisions under the advisement of the Holy Spirit.
During his tenure Hales has seen many things change in the county, and has seen the Board of Supervisors make strides in moving the county forward.
But there’s one thing he would rather not be remembered for.
“A lot of people want to make a big deal that I was the first African American to be elected to both positions, but I don’t want to be remembered for that fact,” Hales said.
What he does want to be remembered for is his conscientious approach to making decisions, how he considered how every vote he made would affect the citizens and the good things that were accomplished while he was part of the board.
He concedes there were times when he had to make compromises on some matters because the population or his party was not ready for the change.
Some things he would like to see change in the future concerns how the state and federal governments stifle local power. Hales would also like to see changes take place in the current tax structure to help create an environment that would attract industry, spur job growth and minimize the level of involvement the state’s capital has on tax abatements, which essentially decide where new industry will set up shop.
Hales also has some advice for the winner of the upcoming election; search for information, be mindful of a decision’s effects, attend conventions and develop a vision for the future.
“Never be closed minded and unwilling to have a conversation with anyone that has experience,” Hales said.
That new supervisor should also keep in mind the job of county supervisor is not as easy as it looks, and they will be judged by what is said and done in open meetings, even though there’s more to the job.
“You got to grow some tough skin because everybody’s not going to like you,” Hales said.
At times, especially when times are tough, the public has a tendency to point fingers at the elected officials. He used President Barack Obama taking office during a recession as an example. But, he said once elected to office, there’s a job to do.
“If you can’t stand behind the decisions you make, you don’t need to be making them,” Hales said.
In his soon to be abundant free time, Hales will work to inform the public on how to vote smarter and help them understand important issues so they can become more informed, especially when it comes to the legislature and higher offices.
“American voters have been taken advantage of by greedy politicians,” Hales said.

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