Residents grill Simpson over bill

Residents grill Simpson over bill
Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 10:48pm

GILMER — The state representative for Gregg and Upshur counties was grilled Saturday in Gilmer about the effects a bill he introduced could have on Upshur County.

In a town hall meeting, Rep. David Simpson was asked about the effects of House Joint Resolution 103, which could lead to the elimination of as many as four elected positions across Upshur County.

“The purpose of this bill is simply to remove a mandate that was attached at the last minute when the constitution was changed back in 1999,” the Longview Republican said. “This is not a mandate ... This is the removal of a mandate that would allow the commissioners to propose and make a change. I do not have an opinion on the matter, I do not know enough about Upshur County to make the decision ... but I do know from what I studied there are some that need this language.”

Sherry Jewkes-Larsen, a court clerk for Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray, spoke against the measure.

“Since Upshur County is the only county that is affected by it in your district ... why were you the one that offered this bill and not one of those other counties you discussed that said they needed this?” she asked. “Well sir, you are elected to represent us, and I have a problem with this because it was never put out for the taxpayers to discuss, it was never put out to be put on the agenda by the commissioners court ... it sure looks like ‘old-boy’ politics.”

Jewkes-Larsen also echoed a concern raised by others of the 40 or so attendees that, while the bill wouldn’t require the elimination of precincts, statements from commissioners have made it appear the court would eliminate them.

Read more here.

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