Q&A with Ronny Lott
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 1:00 PM
1-Biographical information and work experience:
I am married to Dana Lott. We have four children and attend St. Matthew's Methodist Church. I graduated from Murrah High School and the University of Mississippi with a degree in business administration. I spent over 40 years successfully creating jobs as the owner and manager of multiple businesses. Currently I serve as the senior operations manager for Elite Water and Coffee of Mississippi and represent District Two on the Madison County Board of Supervisors. I am a lifelong Republican and proud member of the Madison County Republican Party. I strongly believe in community service and am the incoming President of the Rotary Club of Jackson with a record-setting 33 years of perfect attendance.
2-Years lived in Madison County:
I have lived in Madison County for 16 years. Madison County has been a wonderful choice for my family, and I hope to give back and help it remain a place families choose for years to come
3-Why are you running for office?
Responsible for a $65 million dollar budget in one of the state's fastest growing counties, the Chancery Clerk is one of Madison County's most important elected offices. The Chancery Clerk serves as the county's treasurer, auditor, and clerk to the Board of Supervisors. The Chancery Clerk is also custodian of all land records and serves as clerk to the Chancery Court. Madison County deserves someone with a strong record of fiscal responsibility, financial management, bookkeeping experience and integrity in both their personal and professional lives to safeguard the taxpayers' finances and records.
4-How does your background prepare you for office?
Madison County is a wonderful place to work and raise a family, which is why we are one of the fastest growing counties in Mississippi. However, this rapid growth presents challenges that make it important for our county leadership to remain vigilant and constantly plan for more efficient and transparent means of managing taxpayer dollars and services. My 40-year experience as a successful businessman taught me how to think on my feet and stretch a dollar while making tough decisions. I also learned to always plan for the future. Those are all skills that will serve taxpayers well. My experience representing District Two on the Board of Supervisors gives me the knowledge of how county government runs along with its current problems. I've also enjoyed a close working relationship with the previous Chancery Clerk that will allow me to hit the ground running if I'm elected.
5-How would you rate the current Office of Chancery Clerk?
Arthur Johnston and his team did a great job as Chancery Clerk, which is why his services were in demand elsewhere. I plan to build upon this success.
6-Identify three areas of improvement within the Office of Chancery Clerk.
We will work hard to increase transparency for taxpayers and educate the public on the services available through the office. Technology is constantly and rapidly evolving, so we will make it our highest priority to stay informed of changes that will help us improve the efficiency of the office and public access while reducing the financial burden to taxpayers.
7-What will you do to create a system in which lawyers can file all legal briefs online?
This system is currently in the works, and I will make it a top priority to support new technology that streamlines work in the Chancery Clerk's office while saving money for taxpayers. I will evaluate the recently installed Rankin County system while continuing to work with the judges and attorneys to see that all of their needs are met to make the judicial system run more smoothly and efficiently.
8-Identify areas in the Chancery Clerk budget where money could be cut and others where more funding is needed.
I earned a reputation as a watchdog for taxpayers on the Board of Supervisors by asking hard questions and demanding accountability for how taxpayer money is spent. I have not seen a government office or program that could not be run more efficiently and be less of a burden on taxpayers, but it is difficult to be more specific about the Chancery Clerk's office until getting into the office and thoroughly analyzing everything just as I would one of my businesses. I definitely plan to be a taxpayer watchdog as Chancery Clerk just as I have been on the Board of Supervisors.
9-How many terms would you like to serve as Chancery Clerk and why?
Strong leadership, stability, and long-term planning for efficiency and savings to the taxpayer are important, so I would like to serve two full terms to ensure the job gets done.
10-Identify a principled stand you have taken or would be willing to take if elected, even if you suspect it might cost you popularity with voters.
I stood up for taxpayers against the controversial 2012 tax hike recommended by my opponent David Overby before the county fired him. It was the largest tax hike in recent Madison County history. Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler criticized it as "Voodoo bookkeeping," and I agree. I also opposed the controversial decision by my other opponent's office to waste over $2 million county tax dollars on new "Taj Mahal" office space. Standing up for taxpayers on the Board of Supervisors has earned me political opponents who are vested in the status quo. As the media has reported, they have used government resources to unsuccessfully dig for dirt on me because of these strong stands I've made for fiscal responsibility. I make no apologies for doing the right thing, and the public can expect me to continue working to safeguard our tax dollars as Chancery Clerk.
11-Why should Madison County residents vote for you instead of your opponents?
I am the only candidate who has not declared personal bankruptcy. I have a 40-year record as a successful businessman creating jobs, responsibly managing money, and making difficult decisions. I am a proven conservative with a record of demanding that government live within its means. Madison County deserves a Chancery Clerk with a strong record of fiscal responsibility, financial management, bookkeeping experience and integrity in both their personal and professional lives to safeguard the taxpayers' finances and records and the county's reputation.
12-Campaign information: (Where can people go to find out more about your campaign?)
To learn more about our campaign of personal responsibility, proven conservatism, and strong financial accountability, go to our website at www.ronnylott.com, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ronny_Lott, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RonnyLottMadison.