Henson, Ragsdale Make Their Case for Votes
Jim Henson and Brian Ragsdale, the two men vying for the only Dallas City Council seat being contested this year, addressed voters during Tuesday's candidate forum at the Dallas Theater.
Both candidates for Dallas’ sole contested council seat were in attendance to address voters Tuesday during a candidate forum at the Dallas Theater put on by the Paulding Chamber of Commerce.
Jim Henson and Brian Ragsdale are seeking the Ward 4 seat currently held by longtime Councilman Frank “Bingo” McTyre, who is not seeking another term.
The questions posed to candidates throughout the night were slanted toward business and the economy. The first of two questions posed to the Ward 4 candidates was, “What role does the downtown area play in the community as a whole?”
A common theme to answers from both Henson and Ragsdale was their desire to offer benefits to those who would bring new business to Dallas.
“I think the downtown area of Dallas is the heart of Dallas,” Ragsdale said. “We have to get more businesses in the middle of city, whether it’s by offering tax rebates for the first three or four years … or by offering service rebates. I think you have to have a thriving downtown in order for the city to survive.”
“We have this beautiful theater—we need to utilize it as much as possible and bring in crowds,” said Henson, referring to the forum’s location, the Dallas Theater. “For those of you here when Travis Tritt was in town, this city was electric that night. We need to have businesses also in town that have services that people want to take advantage of and come and visit, purchase and be here.
“If we have to give tax advantages, we need to do that.”
Henson again referred to tax advantages, as well as other incentives, when he and Ragsdale were asked for their plans for economic development. He also stressed the importance of working with the Chamber of Commerce and the Paulding Board of Commissioners.
“You’ve heard the phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ It takes a village to bring in industry, businesses and jobs to Dallas,” he said.
Ragsdale said service rebates and tax incentives were key in keeping residents in Dallas.
“The median age of a person in Dallas is 31 years old. These are people are in the prime of their working life. If things keep going the way they are where there’s $3.50 gas and they have to drive 30 or 40 miles to their job in Cobb or Fulton County, they’re eventually going to leave here once they’re able to break even on their house,” Ragsdale said. “We have to do something to bring these jobs in.”
See more comments from Henson and Ragsdale, as well as their opening statements, in the attached videos.
Two other Dallas council seats are on the ballot, but the men currently holding those seats—incumbents Mike Cason (Ward 2) and James Kelly (At Large)—face no opposition.
The only other contested race in Dallas is that for the top elected position. Marvin Tingler is challenging Boyd Austin Jr., who has served for mayor for 16 years.