Retired Dr. Bernard Moses wants to do more to create jobs for young people and he wants to limit tax increases to help local residents, who are living on fixed incomes like he is.
Moses said these are the two major reasons why he is running for the job of mayor of Williamsburg. Moses will face off against incumbent Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison in the Nov. 6 General Election.
“There are no jobs for young people around here. We have Firestone. I think that is the only one (factory) we have in the city limits. I don’t think Jones Plastic is in the city limits. It didn’t used to be,” Moses said.
Moses said he wants to work to get some “decent jobs” for young people.
“This would sort of kill two birds with one stone. One is it would provide more tax income for the city. This way there wouldn’t be so few people having to support everything that the city requires to be done,” Moses noted.
“Also, it would give young people something they could work for and feel proud. I know there are a lot of hard working people in Williamsburg and Whitley County, who would do better if they could get a job where they could support their family.”
“You can’t support your family – wife and kids – on minimum wage at McDonalds. This is why those people that try to do that end up quitting and going back to drawing state assistance because you can’t live on that. You can’t pay your bills.”
Moses, who worked as a doctor for 33 years in Williamsburg, retired six years ago.
“After I retired I only had what I saved myself. I found out pretty quick that it is very difficult to live in Williamsburg and pay your taxes if you are not working,” Moses noted.
Moses, who is 67 years old, is now drawing his social security, but he says he couldn’t live in Williamsburg just on what he draws from social security.
Moses said that government cannot just keep raising taxes on people with fixed incomes.
“I found that out the hard way when I retired. Those are the main two things I decided to run for mayor on because I don’t think those are being addressed as well as they should be or could be,” he said.
Moses said that the third biggest issue in the race is controlling what is spent by the city.
Moses said that several years ago, he could remember reading an interview with Harrison in the News Journal about why the city council was increasing taxes.
“His quote was ‘we have to have the same amount of money this year as we did last year,’” Moses noted. “A lot of people don’t have the same amount of money every year that they had last year. You just can’t keep taking money from people that are barely getting by the way it is. I want to look very, very closely at some of the expenses the city has and see if there are ways of cutting back. If I don’t have money to do something I cut back.”
“I think the government a lot of times they don’t know what cutting back means. I think they should try to cut corners and look more closely at what they are spending instead of just saying, ‘oh well, if we run short of money we can just raise taxes.’ That is not what I am about.”
Qualifications for job
Moses said that while he is not a genius, he did well in school, which included Cumberland College where he got a full scholarship based upon his grades his senior year.
“It is my understanding that I was the first Cumberland College graduate that was taken into the University of Kentucky College of Medicine,” he said. “I feel I am intelligent enough to be mayor.”
Serving the community
So how can the city better serve the community?
Moses told a story about when he first got accepted to medical school in 1972, and two neighbors, Loyal Hill and Doyle Hill, gave him $500, which was a lot of money then.
Moses said he thinks that the people in Williamsburg, who are doing well, should be able to help people get started.
Moses said that if he is elected mayor, he wants to create a fund that would help young people get started in a profession or trade, if they don’t have the money themselves to get started.
“I want to make sure they have that opportunity to start a business if they need a little bit of help,” he added.
Creating more jobs
Moses admits that he is not real sure about what can be done to bring more jobs to this area until he gets into office when he thinks he will have more access.
“I know I got a paper the other day from the Kentucky League of Cities. They seem like they would be able to help cities that need businesses. I am going to work for that because I think we need businesses that make something that someone buys,” Moses said.
“The government jobs are good if you have that government job, but someone working has to pay that salary, your insurance, your vacation. Just having a government job, everyone cannot work for the government. You have to have people working at Firestone that makes something that somebody needs to buy that is what I am going to be working for is those kind of jobs.”
Moses said that as he has been walking around door to door asking people to vote for him, he has noticed that “downtown is a mess.”
“You would be surprised how many homes are empty and dilapidated and run down. Also businesses are empty. We have to get some jobs for downtown and businesses for downtown. This is a little bit difficult because you can’t compete with Walmart. You have to pretty much have a job or business that does something that is not in direct competition with Walmart,” Moses said adding that he had family members with a small grocery store on Meadow Creek that couldn’t compete with Walmart on prices.
“We have to look into that and try and get some empty businesses back to doing something,” Moses said.
He added another thing that concerns him is that one business is in the process of opening a “night club” in town, which he is opposed to.
Moses said his feeling is there are plenty of places to go buy liquor or beer without having night clubs in town.
“This has been a disappointment to me that they would consider that. I do not agree with that,” he said.
Time for change
Moses said that a lot of people he has spoken with feel that “it is time for a change” as the old adage goes.
“I really do feel we have to do something besides what we are doing,” Moses added.