Candidates’ reactions: Porter, Edwards grateful for support

Published 9:55 am Friday, November 6, 2015

On Tuesday, incumbents Barry Porter of the Frankin-Hunterdale District and Dr. Alan Edwards of the Jerusalem District defeated challengers Earva Jones Sumblin and Yvonne Rose, respectively, to retain their positions on the Southampton County Board of Supervisors. Candidate Randolph Cooke, meanwhile, outran Glenn Updike for the Newsoms seat.

“I’m grateful for the support and the confidence that my constituents indicated in me,” Porter said of his reelection. “I hope to move the county in the right direction so that we can have a sound financial basis that better provides services for the county.”

Edwards echoed that sentiment by saying, “I have a lot of friends that did a lot of work. Numerous people went out of the way to run my campaign. It’s very heartening for me to see people do it. I have to give credit to the community who stood behind me and went out to vote.”

Rose, the lone runner-up available for comment, believes things could have been different had more people voted.

“The turnout could have been better, but all in all, it’s a democratic process,” she said. “I’m now going to step back and take a break, follow the issues and intervene when I think I need to.”

As expected, the victorious parties talked about how to increase the county’s revenue while maintaining a balance between agriculture and industry.

“We have to continue to monitor how we spend the money and find ways that we can generate revenue,” Porter said. “My priorities are based on the school system, having a safer environment, less crime, better jobs for residents and keeping the taxes low.

We have to keep our standard of living as rural agricultural, but also bring in businesses to accomplish those goals. We can’t provide these services in our current tax base. Farming alone can’t pay the bills.”

He continued, “I’m of the strong belief that we have to bring in businesses that are compatible [Agriculture and industry] have to coexist. Without one, we lose them both. The issue is that we have to create the environment that will attract businesses, and with the way the board is currently set up — or will be set up — we’re going to do that moving forward.”

Edwards agreed, explaining that land use is his top priority.

“When we have our retreat in January — which is open to the public — we’ll work hard on forestry and agricultural districts,” he said, noting that creating these districts would protect farmers’ land use rights. “We’ve been moving forward, but it takes a long time to learn the rules of the road. It doesn’t happen overnight.

The planning commission and the comprehensive plan have set aside room for economic growth. Growth in the right place is key.”