[caption id="attachment_32255" align="aligncenter" width="800"]<img class="size-full wp-image-32255" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2018\/04\/meet-the-candidates-forum.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="600" \/> (Photo by Sarah Richardson)<br \/>At Meet the Candidates forum: Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan (left), Moderator Mike Kidd, Greenbrier County Commission candidate Tammy Shifflett Tincher, and Greenbrier County Commissioner Woody Hanna.[\/caption]\r\n<h1>On Wednesday, Apr. 11, the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce hosted a Meet the Candidates Forum at Greenbrier Valley Theatre, for candidates running for the Greenbrier County Commission and Greenbrier County Sheriff.<\/h1>\r\nThe forum allows for the candidates to answer questions submitted by the public either online or right before the event. Moderator Mike Kidd says the forum, \u201chelps voters make an informed decision.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn attendance was Bruce Sloan, current sheriff of Greenbrier County, Tammy Shifflett Tincher, candidate running for Greenbrier County Commission, and Woody Hanna, current Greenbrier County Commissioner. Mark Robinson, a candidate running for Greenbrier County Sheriff, declined an invitation to participate in the event.\r\n\r\nParticipants were allotted three minutes for an introductory statement, 90 seconds to answer each question, and two minutes for a closing statement. Note: candidate answers are not the full and complete reply to each question, but a summary of their answer.\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna began opening statements by reviewing his past six years served as a county commissioner, as well as his history as a schoolteacher, which he was for 37 years. He said, \u201cI am very proud to serve Greenbrier County, Greenbrier County is very special to me. I\u2019ve never lived anywhere else and I don\u2019t want to live anywhere else.\u201d He believes, \u201cThe commission we have today is very supportive of each other. We don\u2019t always agree, but we disagree for the right reasons. We make decisions based on what we think is best for Greenbrier County and its citizens.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher followed with her opening statement, saying she has lived in Greenbrier County for 18 years now. She has previously served as director of the North House Museum and now resides in Rainelle. She is making it a priority to represent the west end, saying, \u201cI feel like it was time for me to try to help the western end of the county, and all of Greenbrier County. That is my purpose for running.\u201d\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan , a resident of Greenbrier County for 31 years, retired from the West Virginia State Police in 2010 and became the director of security at The Greenbrier before becoming Chief Deputy under Jan Cahill in 2013, where he was for four years. \u201cWe\u2019ve accomplished a lot in the sheriff\u2019s department,\u201d he said. In January 2016, the county commission appointment him interim sheriff. \u201cI have 30 years experience in law enforcement and I\u2019ve enjoyed it. I feel like it\u2019s my calling.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe first question presented to the candidates was: What challenges do you see facing our communities?\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan: \u201cChallenges that are probably no different than what a lot of communities face in America today, the drug epidemic is probably the biggest problem we are facing simply because it affects so many different areas of life and society.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cI agree with Sheriff Sloan. The drug situation in the county and across the state and country is a major issue, and has had a lot of effect on many issues related to our economy, our government, and our family lifestyle.\u201d \u201cAlso, of course, our economic situation and our livelihood. The western end of the county, along with much of the rest of the county, is affected by low employment and lack of business in the area. I think it\u2019s all intertwined.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cCertainly I agree with the sheriff and my opponent in regards to drugs being the number one problem, I\u2019ll drop down to number two, which is infrastructure, which is probably the second most important thing that\u2019s important to Greenbrier County. We are working on the Sam Black water project to bring water to Sam Black Church, and another project we want to get started on right away is connecting the water systems of White Sulphur Springs and Lewisburg.\u201d \u201cIf we have the supplies connected, we can flow water both ways, and have secure water for Ronceverte, Lewisburg, White Sulphur Springs, Frankford, and Renick.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion two was: If you were king for a day, what is the one thing you would change?\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cThe one thing I would probably try to do is make sure and try to have every opportunity available for an individual who doesn\u2019t have a job, to make sure they get a job.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cI don\u2019t know that I would change anything. I think we\u2019ve got a good working relationship, we\u2019ve got a lot of good projects going on, we got good working relationships within the courthouse.\u201d\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan: \u201cThe Greenbrier County Sheriff\u2019s Department is not the largest sheriff\u2019s department in the state, or the smallest. But it\u2019s my goal to make it the best sheriff\u2019s department in the state.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion three was: What would you do as County Commissioner to further support activities of arts and culture in Greenbrier County?\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cDuring the five years that we have set the amount of money to be spent out of the Arts and Rec. fund, we have maintained $450,000 in that fund each year.\u201d \u201cWe have continued to fund at the level that\u2019s been set in the past, which I think is the most that has ever been appropriated. We have also started a recreational facility called the Sportsplex. We\u2019ve bought 143 acres on Harper Road, and we\u2019re going to develop that into a place that you\u2019ll be proud of. A place that folks will want to come and play ball. It will also be a park that the citizens can use.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cHaving been director of the North House Museum and having been involved in fundraising and different activities that support the arts, I served on the Board of Directors at Carnegie Hall for many years, one of the greatest things that I think our county is made up of is all of our arts and culture organizations. Our history is one of the greatest things that makes up this county.\u201d \u201cOur continued funding and support of all of those entities, large entities down to small entities, over the time period that I\u2019ve been at the museum until now, so many organizations have been created that are assets to our community. Most definitely I would want to make sure that the continued support of those organizations is provided, so we don\u2019t lose that.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion four was: What is your vision for the future of Greenbrier County, and how can the Greenbrier County Commission help to bring this about?\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cAgain, I go back to the wide array of all of the things that our county has available. Whether it be arts and culture or agriculture, whether it be the scenic beauty and all of our outdoor activities that we have available to us, to me, that is the greatest thing that our area has. I want to make sure that each one of those items are provided and protected so we can continue to prosper and make our county something impressive throughout the state and the country.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cOf course, we want to complete the Sportsplex and have it available for both locals and visitors. This will be a tourism attraction for the county. We want to continue to develop water systems, continue the infrastructure, complete the system to Sam Black, we want to provide good jobs. We just sponsored a grant to secure funding to put an entrance to the West Virginia Great Barrel Company, which is going to provide over 100 jobs here in Greenbrier County. Their sister company in Monroe Company is already providing several jobs. We are going to assist these companies and of course, we want to bring companies in that provide good jobs and also maintain the atmosphere and cleanliness of this county.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion five: What is your opinion of the Sportsplex?\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cI agree that the opportunity to have a Sportsplex in the county is great, but I have quite a few concerns. I think that a lot of the county may be misled that this is going to be something that is able to be utilized 100 percent by the county 100 percent of the time, and I\u2019m not sure that\u2019s the case. Just for the fact it would be utilized by travel teams and different events. I\u2019m concerned about the location. Concerned about the proposal of the length of time that it will take. I don\u2019t disagree that we need to have something different to bring people into our county, and that\u2019s definitely something people all the time for, sports and athletic events.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna, responding to Candidate Tincher\u2019s concerns: \u201cFirst of all, the location came about because the Boone family had appropriated 40 acres and given it to the county. The county then purchased another 103 acres. So the location was dictated by this land gift to the county. I\u2019ve had concerned raised about the road down to that facility, all I have to say is if you have concerns about roads, come and go home with me and we\u2019ll drive around Friar\u2019s Hill and I\u2019ll show you concerns about roads. That road will be improved as needed, we\u2019ve already talked to the state and they\u2019ve done some improvements already, and as traffic increases they will improve it more. We do not plan to rob any of the other organizations, we intend to continue to fund all the organizations we have in the past, and simply put money toward the Sportsplex as it\u2019s available.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion six: What do you think is the most important skill about being sheriff?\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan: \u201cThe most important skill is probably the ability to relate to people, listen to their concerns, just the ability to improvise and come up with solutions to the problems that they have.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion seven: Will you continue to support budgeted financing for the Greenbrier Humane Society to operate the animal shelter?\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cYes. I was on the commission when we broke ground for the new animal shelter, I was the commissioner that went to the Board of Education and secured ground for that shelter, and have been fully committed to continuing the funding for the shelter ever since.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cYes. I do feel like it is a very important asset to our county. I understand that the biggest purpose is that we do provide that funding to make sure that organization can provide for the needs of the shelter.\u201d \u201cI am an animal person, I have a dog from the animal shelter, and I fully agree with what we need to do to provide management for that.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestions eight: Lewisburg has added LGBT protection to the Do Not Discriminate Ordinance, do you support this, and would you support this kind of ordinance county-wide?\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cI really do not have a position at this time for that question. It is something that I was not a resident of Lewisburg when that issue arose. In my opinion, each individual has their own individual rights, so for me, as far as any legalities or regulations, it is really not something that I\u2019ve thought that far ahead about.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cI have been a teacher for 37 years, and I have always made it my goal to treat everyone the same, equal, fair, and as commissioner I would do the same.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion nine: \u201cSheriff Sloan, if reelected, what would your priorities be for your upcoming term?\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan: \u201cMy priorities would be, again, to continue to improve on the sheriff\u2019s department and the advancement of personnel with training and qualifications. Concentrate on the opioid epidemic and the drug issues that we have in the county, and just try to improve the safety of the community and the county.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion ten: Do you feel like you have the tools that you need to continue progress?\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan: \u201cI really do. We are very fortunate in Greenbrier County that the county commission has funded the sheriff\u2019s department adequately. We have the finances to do the things that we need to.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion eleven: Would or should or can the Greenbrier County Commission impose some type of property tax on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline\u2019s equipment while it is here in Greenbrier County?\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cThat would be up to the Assessor\u2019s office. I do know that they have to secure a building permit, based on the amount of investment they are putting in the ground. But as far as equipment I think it depends on how long it\u2019s here, but that\u2019s a question for the Assessor.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cI really have no idea the timeframe for the construction that will occur, how long it will be, unfortunately, I\u2019m not that familiar with the tax laws and requirements for the county or the state. If it is something allowable, I believe it could be an income source for the county, but then again, we may be getting into an issue of if you\u2019re taxing equipment for MVP, you have to tax equipment for other businesses. So I\u2019m not certain that would be kosher.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion twelve: What is your opinion of the proposed (and now apparently imminent) Mountain Valley Pipeline that stretches across Greenbrier County and into other counties?\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cI personally am neither for nor against, I know that may be a little wishy-washy, but I feel like infrastructure is something that is needed. This may not be the most perfect infrastructure, but the opportunity for future taxes and income from this project may be beneficial to our county and state. In all respects, I certainly think that every opportunity needs to be taken in order to respect our nature and our county, our properties, and I hope that is a top priority for both the state and the entities that are involved in the construction.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cI\u2019m opposed to the pipeline. It\u2019s different than most people\u2019s opposition to pipelines. For years, we have shipped the pulp wood out of West Virginia to other places and they make paper and add value to our wood. We ship the coal out of our state, for years, and other folks make money and created jobs with that coal. We spend most of our tax dollars on education and what do we do? Our children have to leave the state to get a good paying job. We have exported all of our resources, including our children, and we\u2019re going to export our gas now. My idea is I\u2019m against pipelines. Make those companies come here, provide jobs, and increase the value of that product.\u201d\r\n\r\nQuestion thirteen: What effect, if any, do you see the Bayer-Monsanto merger having on area farms and, if negative, what can be done to mitigate those effects?\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna: \u201cAny time that these large companies combine, they have more control. They also make their products pricy, they are able to control the patents on them and so forth. That\u2019s probably more of a concern in crop production county like Indiana, Illinois, Ohio even, than in mostly pasture land like we have here in Greenbrier County.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher: \u201cUnfortunately, I am not familiar with this issue.\u201d\r\n\r\nAfter answering the submitted questions, each candidate had to opportunity to present a closing statement.\r\n\r\nSheriff Sloan ended the forum stating, \u201cI enjoy being sheriff of Greenbrier County, I enjoyed being Chief Deputy of the sheriff\u2019s department, and I enjoyed my career in the state police. It\u2019s something I have wanted to do since I was a youth, and I enjoy helping people and law enforcement was a way I saw to do that. I\u2019ve been very fortunate and very blessed, I think I\u2019ve done a good job throughout my career and want to continue to do that. I think it\u2019s important for a community, a county, to have confidence in their sheriff\u2019s department and law enforcement, and I want the citizens of Greenbrier County to have that confidence in their law enforcement.\u201d\r\n\r\nCandidate Tincher stated, \u201cIt\u2019s a pleasure to have the opportunity to run for county commission. I\u2019m not a politician, and I\u2019m really just wanting to represent the people and to be positive and make sure that the right direction and right decisions are made for our county and its residents.\u201d\r\n\r\nCommissioner Hanna ended the forum with his statement, \u201cI think my 37 years as a teacher has taught me how to work with people, how to be patient, and I think I\u2019m approachable. I think any member of the public that has contacted me about their concerns has found me very approachable, I try to be honest and fair, and I pledge to continue that if you decide to reelect me as your commissioner.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnother Meet the Candidates forum will be held at Greenbrier Valley Theatre on Wednesday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m. with candidates for both the State Senate and House of Delegates. The event is open to the public.