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right and wrong[1] I attended the DeSoto County Republican Club’s 2013 “Reagan Day Dinner” tonight in Olive Branch. We were honored to have Congressman Alan Nunnelee and Congressman Gregg Harper speak to us. These two men have been in the war zone, aka..Washington DC, fighting hard for so many of the issues impacting all of us today. It is easy for us to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor, ignoring what is going on and letting the many elected officials “handle it” for us. What goes on Nationally impacts ALL of us and that includes DeSoto County. DeSoto County politics have been a point of contention for a long while now. While I have never considered myself a political person, I find that in order to right the wrongs or achieve actual reform, you have to be involved in the politics of it all. You, at the very least, have to understand how things really work. I have found that most people have no idea what the responsibility is of the people we elect for many different positions. I was one of those people. When someone turns on that light for me, there is no going back. I can’t ignore what I have seen or forget what I know. What are bureaucratic, political agendas or potential financial gains for one person is real life to me. It’s my life it affects. It is the lives of all of us in this County. We have so much to be proud of, but if we don’t stand up and say no more to the ones holding us down, we will never reach our fullest potential.
Our School Board Members have the power of a paralyzed man in a wheel chair, only able to say Yes or No to what “the caretaker” asks, but no power to do anything about it if that “caretaker” disregards their decision, goes behind their backs, pushes through something before bringing it before them, breaks the law or prevents an issue from going before the Board at all. The Superintendent can NOT be stopped if elected because they are elected. The School Board has no power. They make a mere $100/ meeting. What kind of power can any person, that makes a mere $2000/yr, possibly have!? Issues pertaining to planning and development are controlled by a couple of different Boards. These Boards are made up of people, in most cases, that have NO real estate experience, no degrees in engineering, no experience in development, do not know real estate law, no architectural experience, no degrees in logistics and transportation, BUT we do have the guy that one of the Aldermen goes to church with, the long time resident, neighbor or friend of the Alderman that appointed them to that position. Yes, the Aldermen appoint the Planning Commissioners. The Board of Supervisors appoint the Board of Adjustments Members. The City Engineer and Head of Planning and Development, who do have the degrees, makes recommendations to the Planning Commission or Board of Adjustments. Those Boards make decisions based on that information or they disregard it all together because they have some personal interest in the business it pertains to. They vote to decide the outcome and then recommend that action plan to the Aldermen. The Aldermen, with whatever experience or background they have, then make a decision. The Mayor presents the motions or business matters to the Board of Aldermen for vote. He has no vote, BUT he can veto a decision they make. Keep in mind the Board of Aldermen are NOT making but around $384 Gross/week, and the greatest thing of all is that most people that elected these representatives did it simply because they are a really good person, go to church with them or because they see their name around a lot. None of those reasons make sense when electing an individual to represent your personal interests. I equate it to hiring your FedEx Delivery Man to do your financial planning, investments and perform CPA work for you. Does that make sense? It does NOT make sense to me. And why do the School Board Members have such a limited role in the schools operations? You are basically paying them $2000/year to be the checks and balances of the Superintendent, but the joke is on us because they can’t do ANYTHING if we have one doing wrong.
I spend countless hours on knowing everyone who is anyone, their business, who they know, support, work with, contribute money to, etc. WHY some have asked me….. because those are the real issues that affect the decisions that are made and who gets into office. Some people question why I work so hard doing this, making absolutely nothing, sacrificing my time and financial well being to do it. The answer is simple…..because someone has to care. Someone has to watch out for my family’s best interest and the best of interest of those around us. If noone else will, I accept that job. Our state is last in education, near the bottom in transparency, rated as one of the unhealthiest places to live, rated as one of the worst places for women’s health and one of the worst places for allergies. One or more may be out of our control, but the others we can fix. People just have to want to, and I do. I don’t want or expect anything in return with the exception of a better DeSoto County. I chose DeSoto County to be the place I call home, the place I would raise my kids and the place to build strong roots in for the long haul. One of the systems here failed my family terribly. It is failing a lot of others whether they realize it or not. It is not the only system failing us. I am not an angry person. I am a motivated and driven person. At the end of the day, I love the children. Children are so important to me. I want a better place for these kids to live in, go to school in and grow into adults in. I want my children to believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it. One person can make a difference. Two people can make an even bigger difference. Imagine what a county full of people can do. I love God, my family friends and neighbors. I believe God wants me to help those that cannot help themselves. My heart is ALWAYS in the right place. I may have lost some friends in this process, but I guess they were never friends to begin with.
I wanted to take the time to write this tonight so that people would know exactly what I think and what I am about….maybe even to remind myself why because sometimes it feels like doing the right thing is the hardest thing on the planet to do and very lonely. I feel blessed to have such a strong alliance with many teachers throughout our county, county leaders, administrators, local business owners, neighbors and friends. I thank you for your love and support. I thank you for helping me to get to the truth and for showing me what it is that prevents us from moving forward. Knowledge is power, and I hope to use the knowledge I have to finally correct the wrongs in our community.

Heather Fox

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