Name: Derrel Palmer
Family: Wife – Melinda (38 Years)
What makes you the best candidate in your particular race?
The role of a Supervisor essentially is to manage the assets and resources of the County. This includes a budget of about $150 million, over 1800 miles of roads, 220 bridges and over 460 employees. All income comes from the taxpayers of the county and that money needs to be managed wisely. With over 35 years business experience including retail store management, Insurance/Financial Services, including financial planning, estate planning, insurance planning, management, training and sales, I have the experience necessary to make sure the citizens of Rankin County are properly represented and their money is not wasted. A key to the role of Supervisor is the ability to work well with others. There are 5 Supervisors and it takes at least 3 Supervisors to get something approved or disapproved (such as the mini-warehouses off Spillway). This requires an ability to convince others to go along with your ideas and your constituents needs. It takes a true leader to encourage others to want to follow them. Leadership is a skill that is learned and earned through years of experience.
What is one thing voters should know about you before going to the polls?
The time it takes to properly represent the residents of District 2 is extensive. Being Self-Employed, I have the time needed to get the job done. The biggest majority of my work as a Sports Broadcaster/Announcer is done after normal business hours. This gives me essentially ALL day every day to be “On the Job” as a Supervisor making sure the needs of the County are met. This includes the time needed to meet and work with the various County department heads on a regular basis, travel the roads of the District and meet with residents to hear from them. Most people don’t realize the types of things handled by the Supervisors that take up time. I’ve been attending meetings for the last 4 years and it’s amazing how many Zoning/Rezoning Requests, Variances, Conditional Uses, and Nuisance Property situations the Board must handle through research, talking with people and conducting Public Hearings. Also things like trash pickup, ambulance service, mosquito control and other contracts that the Board is responsible for maintaining for the residents of the County. Completing these tasks takes a full time effort from your Supervisor each and every day and I’m committed to give the time needed to serve Rankin County.
In your opinion what is the single most crucial issue facing Rankin County?
The needs and concerns of the tax payers of Rankin County is the most crucial part of a Supervisors job. This more often than not revolves around the little things. The day to day activities of listening to and talking with the residents to take care of their needs is vital to the success of the County. Issues like the drainage ditch in their neighborhood needs cleaning out, their pot hole needs repairing, street needs paving, they have a neighbor who won’t mow his yard, there are cars parked on their street all the time, they have a noise problem, sign ordinances are not being adhered to, etc. Day in and day out maintenance of resident and business issues leads to enhancing property values thereby increasing county revenue and enabling more dollars for infrastructure, police/fire protection and other needs of the County. The old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This is how you meet the most crucial needs of the county. Take care of the people with the little things that mean the most to them.
Have you ever run for or held public office before? If so, what office?
While I have never held public office, I have been selected by my peers on more than one occasion to lead a group/organization. I was elected to serve as Chairman of the Deacon Council at Pinelake twice. I also was selected to serve 2 separate 3 year terms as an Elder at Pinelake. During my time in the Financial Services Industry, I was asked to “go through the Chairs”, as we called it, and ultimately served as President of the Jackson Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (JAIFA).
What jobs/experiences have you had that you feel qualify you for political office?
I feel my entire 57 years of life have been preparing me for this position. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe everything happens for a reason. My years of retail management experience, financial services, radio broadcasting and Church Leadership along with serving as a volunteer for numerous organizations including, Rankin, Flowood and Greater Jackson Chambers of Commerce, Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, Promise Keepers and the Sanderson Farms Championship (PGA Golf Tournament) have been giving me the life and business experiences to prepare me for the role of Supervisor in Rankin County.
What historical figure (dead or alive) inspires you most and why?
The obvious answer based on my Christian beliefs would be Jesus, or I could say my Grandfather, Pa Bill. He was a man of modest means who farmed a 40 acre plot of land in the MS Delta while driving a propane gas truck for over 40 years. My grandmother, Maw Maw Verbie sewed for the public, drove a school bus and was maybe the best cook I’ve ever known. Those 2 probably influence my life more than anyone else. They taught me what relationships are about. When you give of your whole self for someone else you will receive the love you desire. As far as a public, historical figure, I would have to say Ronald Reagan. Communication was his strength and that is what it takes to get anything done. Communication is essential between the residents and the Supervisor and then by clearly communicated and understood needs of District 2 with the other Supervisors to get things accomplished. That is my pledge to the voters, is that I will always keep the lines of communication open.