Tyrone Harris is challenging incumbent Harold Rozier Jr. for a seat on the Pierce County BOC

County Commissioner for District One, Harold Rozier Jr., is challenged by Democrat Tyrone Harris in the November general election. Harris, a longtime contractor, is the first Democrat to qualify for local office in Pierce County since 2010.

Rozier retired from International Paper Company in 2006, after working 35 years in the forestry industry. Originally from Liberty County, Rozier and his wife Mary Lewis Rozier, have lived in Pierce for the last 20 years. The Roziers have one daughter and son-in-law, Virginia and Trey Tison. Rozier is a member of Blackshear Rotary Club and attends First Baptist Church.

Harris is the owner and operator of Tyco Construction and Industrial Services, Inc.

He is a native of Pierce County and a 1983 graduate of Pierce County High School. He attended Georgia Southwestern University and graduated from Coastal Community College with certifications in manufacturing maintenance technology and machinist technology.

 He is an active leader in his community and church. He is a member of the Pierce County Development and Building Authority and the Pierce County Board of Equalization. For the past nine years, he has served as running backs coach and junior varsity offensive coordinator community coach for the PCHS football team. He has also served as a head football coach for the Pierce County Recreation Department.

He serves as a mentor for the youth in the community, President and Vice President of the Pierce County NAACP, Vice President of the Academic Booster Club, 100 Black Men of Southeast Georgia and the Consolidated Men’s Club. He was named the MLK Businessman of the Year in 2004 and Citizen of the Year this year. He is an active member of the Upper Room Outreach Ministries.

He is married to Dr. Anita Harris and they have three children, Tyrone Jr. (T.J.), Joshua and Tynisha.

The Times posed the following four questions to Rozier and Harris facing off for the general election.

Why should I vote for you? What is your goal for Pierce County?

TH: I have a passion and a heart for our community and our county. I will be accessible to and be a voice for the constituents in District 1. I have 20+ years of leadership and business experience. My goals are to improve roads, improve and revitalize the recreation department and continue economic growth.

HR: When I was first elected in 2012, I tried to learn how to do my job of being responsible to each of the constituents in our first district by using their input to make decisions to influence what our Pierce County Board of Commissioners addressed and how we used our departments and contractors to do the county’s business. I had a lot to learn, but I have learned more about what I can do and what I probably am not going to be able to do. We always need to do better job with keeping our roads in good safe condition. We are working toward developing a county-wide roads and drainage program that will make road and drainage work more effective and not just patching over our road problems. Our county manager and chairman are committed to seeing that this “county-wide roads and drainage program” will become a reality and result in better and more cost-effective road maintenance. I have learned to be effective in working with the county manager, the county commissioners and the chairman and our county staff.

What would you do to improve our county?

TH: I would assist in finding additional resources to address and fund the needs of our county, in order to avoid raising taxes. I want us to rebuild and revitalize our recreational program/department. I want to see us provide additional resources for senior citizens.

HR: Since I have served as commissioner in the first district, we have paved Guest Road and repaved Cason Road and Ware Street. We have others scheduled for repaving.

I think as a county board, we operate a highly effective county government for the taxpayers in Pierce County. We can do better, and we are constantly working to get the most value out of every tax dollar we spend.

What ideas do you have for promoting growth and economic development in Pierce County?

TH: Though we are making progress in bringing new industries into our county that will provide more jobs to our citizens, I would like to see more business that would provide consumers goods/products/services that will encourage citizens to spend their money in our county.

HR: We have added industry in our county with the relatively new Southern Ionics in Offerman. We have expanded Stewart Candy Company. We have other industry looking at our county as a possibility for moving here. We already have an exceptionally good school system. We have a technical school available in our county. We have favorable housing cost with favorable taxes. All of these are important when Industry looks to locate in Pierce County.

What, in your opinion, are the top two problems or issues in Pierce County right now? How will you address those?

TH: Recreation and roads are the two big issues. I would address our recreation department’s needs by paying and hiring experienced personnel and re-establishing the recreation board to help manage and govern the operations of the department, staff and athletic programs. As for roads, I want us to prioritize the scheduling of road repairs or paving and I want us to do preventive road maintenance.

HR: When I was elected in 2012, I understood very quickly that my constituents were genuinely concerned with getting good road work in a timely manner. This is also a continuing challenge for me to accomplish. The other issue that is on the minds of the first district’s constituents is code enforcement. We have recently reviewed and improved our codes for our county and we hope we have made the necessary adjustments to help with enforcement of them. This is still a real challenge too.

I enjoy working with the citizens of our first district as we continue to try to make our county a better place to work and live.