Editor’s note: The race to fill the remaining year of a Henderson Board of Commissioners seat offers both contrast and similarity. The candidates are Nick Whitt, 36, who is currently on the board, after being appointed to the position early in the year, and Dwight Williams, 66, a retired Army colonel. The board of commissioners (commonly called the Henderson City Commission) is a nonpartisan body, and the race is nonpartisan. Interesting, though, is that Whitt is the chair of the Henderson County Democratic Party while Williams is the chair of the Henderson County Republican Party. Both have said that this race isn’t about political affiliation and is more about what the successful candidate can do for the town. In that regard, both also agree that they want to see continued progress in Henderson. The main difference, they both said, may be how each pursues that progress. Finally, both are members of the Rotary Club.
See an article about Williams today. Look for an article about Whitt tomorrow.
Dwight Williams says his 30-plus years of military experience and his conservatism will guide him in decision-making as a member of the city of Henderson’s Board of Commissioners, if elected.
“I want to see (Henderson) grow,” said Williams, the chair of the local Republican party. “But at the same time, I want to see us take care of taxpayer dollars.”
For instance, in an interview with the Hendersonian, he pointed to the athletic complex currently being constructed on Airline Road. The current cost of the complex is at $18.5 million. The city has issued general obligation bonds to pay for the project.
“I’m all for building a new ballpark, but I don’t know if I’d be for building a $20-million one,” he said.
He said his military career taught him to look at projects in terms of second- and third-order effects. Regarding the athletic complex, he’s concerned about how it will pay for itself into the future.
“It’s a good idea, but how are you going to sustain it?” he said.
Williams, 66, is running against Nick Whitt in a special election to claim the second year of a Board of Commissioners seat that Whitt was appointed to after the 2022 election.
In that race, another candidate, Jay Randolph, garnered fourth place, which would have placed him on the city commission. But Randolph resigned before his term began after complaints were made that he wasn’t a city resident.
The board unanimously approved the appointment of Whitt, who finished six votes behind Randolph, to serve for a year until the winner of Nov. 7’s special election chooses who will serve the remaining year of the term.
Williams also ran in the 2022 race and finished 82 votes behind Whitt. Williams pulled in 2,190, compared to Whitt’s 2,272.
Williams, like Whitt, lists the impact of I-69 on businesses on the 41-strip as a concern that requires solutions. He said it’s not just about the businesses themselves, but also those services that work hand-in-hand, such as delivery drivers, that will be affected.
Williams wants Henderson to continue to grow. With that growth, he said more affordable housing will need to be in place. For instance, he said homes in the planned Jagoe subdivision to be built behind Walmart will go for $250,000. He said the city needs to pursue developments holding residences in the $125,000 to $175,000 range, as well.
He also said the city needs to address drugs and homelessness.
“How are we going to control that?” he said about homelessness. “I don’t know what the answer is.”
Williams also said he’d like to see a more diverse array of shops and businesses in the downtown area and is open to tax incentives to bring in more mom-and-pop shops.