Mayoral hopefuls appear separately at HHS government class


Hastings, Limes take part in HHS event

The Times-Gazette



Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings answers questions from Hillsboro High School government students.


Photo provided by Jarrod Weiss

Hillsboro mayoral candidate Pam Limes answers questions from Hillsboro High School government students.


Photo provided by Jarrod Weiss

The students of the Hillsboro High School Government classes welcomed both candidates for Hillsboro mayor in separate appearances at HHS for a student-led mayoral forum on Oct. 13.

Students approached government teachers Jarrod Weiss and Bruce Robson about their desire to host the candidates and ask them questions that related directly to what the youth of Hillsboro are interested in, according to Weiss. The students created the questions, asked the questions, and led the forum. Both candidates were given 30 minutes to answer questions directly from students in front of a crowd of more than 45 juniors and seniors.

Incumbent Republican Drew Hastings and Democratic challenger Pam Limes appeared separately and no media was permitted, according to the conditions requested by Limes, Weiss confirmed Tuesday.

In a statement sent with the student questions and candidate answers, Weiss said, “From the questions created by the students you can tell there are clear issues which are important to the youth of Hillsboro – quality of life for youth, the issue of drugs, and jobs and economic development.”

Following are the questions asked and answered unfiltered as reported by the students in the room and written by HHS students Lizzy Mahan and Emma Reno.

Mr. Hastings – Incumbent

What makes you capable of being mayor?

Mr. Hastings commented that a lot of people are capable of being mayor, but that he was capable of making things happen due to his actions. Anyone can “walk the walk,” he said, but he can “talk the talk.” Being able to take on the problems we face is what makes him capable of being mayor, according to him.

What is the purpose of the black “No Drug Sale” signs when you come into town? Why did they go up, come down, and go back up? Who paid for those signs?

The city paid for the signs and they were not expensive, according to Mr. Hastings. If “pot” was the problem the signs wouldn’t be there, but the issue isn’t pot – it’s heroin and meth, said Mr. Hastings. He mentioned how the drug problem is coming from “major cities” and the signs are meant to deter potential drug dealers from coming to Hillsboro. The signs were taken down during the Highland County Fair and returned following the fair.

What good qualities do you bring to the City of Hillsboro? What is your biggest contribution to the city?

Mr. Hastings mentioned the following qualities including energy, experience, being self-employed, treating the city as a business, and the desire to see success. He talked about how he has watched small towns thrive and fail and how he wants to make Hillsboro a city that young people want to stay or come back to and get involved with their city.

Highland County has very few foster homes, even less in Hillsboro. What actions do you plan to take to encourage more families to volunteer to be foster families?

This is an issue specific to Highland County, not Hillsboro, Mr. Hastings said. He did discuss how he thought it was bad for the children of Hillsboro to split up families and move them to other counties. He also mentioned working to end problems that result in families being forced to put children in foster care, including drugs. Mr. Hastings also mentioned the idea of working to repurpose blighted housing in a manner that could be used to deal with this issue.

What can you do to encourage and boost youth activity in the community?

Money was a major difficulty mentioned by Mr. Hastings. He discussed the idea of possibly building a skate park in town, but admitted that money was an issue. He specifically talked about ensuring that youth have things to do in Hillsboro.

How do you plan to create more jobs in Hillsboro?

Mr. Hastings said “a city cannot create a job,” but rather prepare and create a city that makes a company want to come here. He made the analogy of how creating jobs is like love – you have to make yourself attractive to the other person and give them a reason to fall in love with you. Once the city makes itself attractive to potential employers then we can start to bring jobs to Hillsboro.

What are you going to do to make Hillsboro a safer place for minors?

Law enforcement was an issue specifically mentioned by Mr. Hastings and ensuring law enforcement is prepared to deal with the issues of the city. He also mentioned providing youth with more activities as “idle time is the devil’s work.”

What specific improvements do you plan on making in Hillsboro?

One specific idea mentioned by Mr. Hastings was his desire to attract a hotel to Hillsboro. A hotel will not only provide a place for people to stay which attracts visitors, but will give the town a banquet center and meeting place for events.

What is your opinion on how our city works?

According to Mr. Hastings the city “works well.” He mentioned how the city workers are talented and that it was the good people working for the city that make the city work well.

What is your stance on community funding aimed toward the youth of Hillsboro such as Liberty or Shaffer Park?

Mr. Hastings mentioned how these are assets to our city and that more money is needed to make improvements and continue to build the parks into something for the youth of Hillsboro and the community.

Ms. Limes – Challenger

What makes you capable of being mayor?

Ms. Limes mentioned that she was a native of Hillsboro and a graduate of HHS and how that gives her the right perspective on what the city needs. She discussed her business experiences and how those experiences qualify her to be the next mayor of Hillsboro.

What was the purpose of the “No Drug Sale” signs when you come into town? Why did they go up, come down, and go back up? Who paid for those signs?

Ms. Limes could not answer the question as to why the signs were put up or why they were taken down, but she believes the signs won’t do any good and that the design was menacing. She discussed how we have many people working on the drug problem and that the signs gave a bad first impression to visitors to the city. She also mentioned that as mayor her first act would be to remove the signs.

What do you plan on changing in the City of Hillsboro? What are you going to do to contribute to the city?

The creation of biking and walking lanes was one specific idea mentioned by Ms. Limes. She also discussed working on eliminating the negative attitudes in the community, tackling the drug problem, and enhancing economic development opportunities.

Highland County has very few foster homes, even less in Hillsboro. What actions do you plan to take to encourage more families to volunteer to be foster families?

Ms. Limes discussed how this topic was recently talked about at a local meeting regarding the drug problem in Hillsboro. She said that working with others, hearing their ideas and listening to the experts was the best way to combat the issue.

What can you do to encourage and boost youth activity in the community?

The idea of getting together a group of youth to help organize activities was an idea mentioned by Ms. Limes. She talked about hearing directly from the youth and getting youth involved was the best way to create a city that youth can enjoy and thrive.

How do you plan to create more jobs in Hillsboro?

Ms. Limes mentioned that the city must look at every option. She discussed the idea of creating a regional alliance and working with other places in Highland County and the surrounding counties, like Wilmington and Washington Court House, to create jobs. Ms. Limes also mentioned the need for an industrial park and her desire to get people working together on this issue.

What are you going to do to make Hillsboro safer for minors?

Working with the Hillsboro Police Department and the Highland County Sheriff’s Office will be vital to ensuring a safe city for not only minors, but for all citizens.

What specific improvements do you plan on making in Hillsboro?

Ms. Limes discussed her desire to bring everyone together, to open the lines of communication with the citizens and stakeholders and to eliminate the negativity in the city.

What is your opinion on the way our city works?

It was mentioned by Ms. Limes that there are many rumors going through the city government and that rumors can be destructive to a community. She talked about eliminating the negativity in government and in the community and restoring the respect of the government.

What is your stance on community funding aimed toward the youth of Hillsboro, such as Liberty Park or Shaffer Park?

Ms. Limes talked about her support for our parks and mentioned that she believes city funding should be going towards our parks rather than something like the conceived uptown plaza. She discussed the fantastic activities which take place at Liberty and Shaffer Parks and wants to do more to support those parks and build a strong park system.

Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings answers questions from Hillsboro High School government students.
http://timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_class-Hastings.jpgHillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings answers questions from Hillsboro High School government students. Photo provided by Jarrod Weiss

Hillsboro mayoral candidate Pam Limes answers questions from Hillsboro High School government students.
http://timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_class-Limes.jpgHillsboro mayoral candidate Pam Limes answers questions from Hillsboro High School government students. Photo provided by Jarrod Weiss
Hastings, Limes take part in HHS event

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