In an effort to help the public make informed decisions in the upcoming Consolidated Election April 4th, we at WROY/WRUL News asked candidates in the contested races for the City of Carmi to fill out a short questionnaire.
Mayor of Carmi
- Tell us a little about yourself.
I am married to Melanie Wicker Yearby who teaches 3rd grade at Jefferson School. I am the father of three children and one on the way due in April. I am a Christian and a conservative. I am also an Iraq veteran. I have had the pleasure to serve as your Alderman in Ward 4 for the last two years. I work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and maintain Corps facilities. I am also a Corps Diver where I perform underwater structural inspections and repairs to Corps facilities. During my time with the Corps, I have been involved in many large operations. I was heavily involved in the flood of 2011 in Metropolis, Illinois. During hurricane Sandy, I was a field supervisor and oversaw all field operations. I was able to keep the operation on track and under budget. This past year, I was in charge of Dive Safety Operations at the new Olmstead Lock and Dam. This is currently at $2 Billion dollar project. I am a member of many organizations including the Carmi Legion, VFW, Lions, the Masonic Lodge, Hadi Shrine, Hadi Shrine Funsters, Hadi Shrine Legion of Honor, and a member of the Ainad Shrine.
- Why do you want to serve?
I have always served my country and community since I graduated high school. I joined the Army to fight to protect our great country. I have joined many organizations that give back to our communities. I have also served as an Alderman for the last 2 years. I believe that God as put us on Earth to serve others. I have the knowledge and the ability which I believe should be used to serve the community. It truly is a privilege to give back to our community and especially our youth.
- What are the biggest issues you see facing your desired position? How do you plan to address these issues?
The biggest issues I see are the lack of jobs, the city population decreasing, and taxes and rates continuing to rise. The U. S. Census Bureau in 2000 stated that the population in Carmi was 5,422 residents. In 2010, it stated that the population decreased to 5,240. This means that 182 people chose to move from our city in a 10 year span. In 2015, the Census Bureau estimates that 5,119 people currently live in Carmi. This means that in the 5 year time span 121 more people have chosen to leave our city. As a result, other people must carry the burden by paying higher taxes and rates in order to keep the city functioning. Therefore, my solution is to think outside the box and promote our city as a place to live. We have a great school system, a very clean city with a small town feel that provides all the necessities for living. Mount Vernon, Indiana is currently booming. They are building a fertilizer plant which will create 2,500 construction jobs and once completed will create over 200 full time jobs. There are also many other projects in the works for Mount Vernon, Indiana. The Toyota plant in Princeton, Indiana plans on adding 400 more jobs to their assembly line. These are all higher paying jobs. I would like to use this boom to better our city. We can utilize our local bus transportation service to get people to work every day. This bus service will also help other Carmi residents employed in Indiana be able to get to work. I plan to work with our Chamber of Commerce to promote our city as a place to live. I also plan to work with the cities of Mount Vernon and Princeton in order to build bonds to better our community. The more our population grows, the more business we can build, the more houses we can sell, the more apartments we can rent, and the more money we can put in our local area. I will still continue to work to get industry in our city. The ultimate goal is for Carmi to thrive once again.
- What sets you apart from the other candidates? Why should voters choose you on April 4th?
There are many aspects that set me apart from my opponent. One aspect is that I grew up in Indiana, which I feel like will benefit our city because it has given me the opportunity to know Congressmen such as Larry Bucshon and Senator Todd Young along with many others. I feel my connections are tools that will benefit our city by building bonds across state lines. Indiana has the need for a workforce and we have the supply they need. Carmi can provide a family friendly place for them to live with more reasonable utilities and rates than Indiana. Another aspect is that I will know how to handle any disaster that our city may experience. I have the field knowledge and training and have been heavily involved in such circumstances. Ultimately, the citizens’ safety and security is my top concern.