When Rhonda Paine couldn’t find anyone to run for the Jasper County Supervisor’s Board she did the next best thing; she decided she’d run herself. On Saturday at the Jasper County Republicans annual trap shooting fundraiser Paine announced her candidacy to the crowd, telling residents that it was time for some “new blood” on the board.
Paine said she decided to run in the election next year after becoming fed up with the conditions of the roads in Jasper County. Living in the northeast corner of the county, she said that road conditions need to improve drastically.
“I’m really tired of our roads not getting fixed, they haven’t been repaved in 12 years, and we only see a grader once a year,” Paine said.
Living on an acreage, Paine said she’s heard from farmers in the county that the road repairs are sorely needed. Often, conditions on Paine’s road are so bad visitors think they’re driving on a B road, with limited service, but that’s not the case. Jasper County Republicans chair Thad Nearmyer said he’s convinced that if elected, Paine will be a passionate advocate for rural residents in the county.
“She’s gone door to door talking to residents because the gravel road situation is so terrible,” Nearmyer said. “This isn’t a localized problem, it’s countywide, and she’s fired up about this.”
Improving the rural road network in the county isn’t the only issue that Paine’s concerned about, she’s also looking at ways to trim the fat from the county’s budget. As she drives through Jasper County. Paine said she sees too many vacant buildings, and she wants to see if there’s a way existing buildings can be repurposed to meet the needs of the county before new construction is considered.
“I think we need to be a little more tight with our money, we need to get a good value for what we’re spending,” Paine said.
In filling vacant buildings across the county, Paine is also hoping it will help create jobs, especially for younger residents. After growing up in Jasper County, Paine moved away before coming back 12 years ago, and she’s said creating jobs will give kids a reason to come to Jasper County and stay.
“There’s no jobs for the kids here, it’s very, very sad,” Paine said.
Supporting local farmers is also a big part of Paine’s agenda. She feels like farmers in the county don’t receive enough support from lawmakers, even though Paine says they’re paying the “lion’s share” of taxes within the county. She wants to see the level of services that are available to rural residents increase to support local farmers.
“Farmers are a serious group of entrepreneurs in Jasper County and they’re upset, we’ve gotten some help, but we still don’t get any services out there,” Paine said.
While insisting that she’s a mom, not a politician, Paine said she thinks that she can make a difference in Jasper County, which is why she’s decided to run for office.
“I don’t know if I can improve things on my own, but we need to see some new ideas,” Paine said.
Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or firstname.lastname@example.org