ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville Alderman Mark DeWitte likes to keep busy.
Aside from completing his second full term on the BMA, he is a two-term county commissioner, operates an active faith-based nonprofit organization and balances a full slate of work and church activities.
Currently, DeWitte and longtime friend Dr. Blaine Jones are organizing the Rogersville Fourth of July fireworks show, which was at risk of being canceled when the previous organizing committee disbanded earlier this year.
DeWitte is among nine alderman candidates seeking six seats in the June 5 city election. All nine candidates were asked the same five questions and each set of responses will be published in the coming days as they are submitted.
Here are DeWitte’s responses:
Why did you decide to run for alderman?
I want to see Rogersville continue to be a great place to raise a family, and a great place for those families to continue to be able to prosper. Since my family first moved to Rogersville over 50 years ago, I’ve seen positive progress and I’d like to be a part of continuing that trend.
Please list your educational and professional job background and describe what past experience, either employment, educational or life experience, will make you a better alderman.
I attended Rogersville City School, Rogersville High School, and graduated from the University of Tennessee. While just a sophomore in high school I began my first career in radio at WRGS, which gave me insight and love for this community. Working with Philip Beal taught me a lot, especially being involved in community activities and assisting any way possible.
I continued working for WRGS until two years after I graduated college, at which time I was fortunate enough to become executive director of Junior Achievement in Kingsport. That was another opportunity to be involved in the community and we eventually expanded some of JA’s economic education programs into Rogersville. JA took me all across the country, including Indiana, Missouri, Hawaii and Kentucky. I had the opportunity to get to know communities in those states and how they operated. What they did right and what they did not so well.
I brought that knowledge back to Rogersville with me when I married my wife Ann Russell in 2000 and moved back, and eventually took a position with MBM Packaging, marcomCORE and DivisionWon here. We support many community activities and the business knowledge I gained there and through owning my own business transfer well to the alderman position.
What would you like to accomplish as a member of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and what are your top goals?
Over the last few years, the Rogersville BMA has done a respectable job of staying fiscally responsible with citizens’ tax money. Taxes have remained level, with the services provided being increased all the time. I want to see that trend continue. I want to see the new expansion at the park, to include a new City Hall, through to completion. I firmly believe those facilities will increase the quality of life for all of us, and at the same time become a draw for visitors to our area.
The ability to host sports tournaments and at the same time show off our town’s beauty will bring increased sales tax dollars and new residents to our community. Among my top goals is to attract citizens to get our population to the point where we can attract new businesses and residents thereby increasing the flow of dollars into our community and continue to provide better and better services without raising taxes if at all possible.
Is there anything you’d like to see the city and/or BMA do differently?
We have a foundation for a great town, one that I’d like to see built upon by increasing economic awareness and development. The Rogersville Chamber of Commerce works alongside the BMA to do that currently, and if we could continue to grow tourism and being a retirement destination that would be perfect.
The growth in the downtown area with new restaurants and businesses is a good start to continue working with. We have a great school system also but focusing on those two areas would generate some additional tax revenue without putting a strain on the school enrollment and without raising the base tax rate.
Tell Rogersville voters why you should represent them on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
During my time on the BMA I have strived to make myself available to assist Rogersville citizens any way they need by pointing them to the right source, contacting those sources myself or handling the issue personally. I think I am a voice of reason and common sense, willing to take up a cause constituents want taken up without regard for personal feelings. I will continue doing so and am honored to have had the chance to represent the voters. If I don’t get a chance to ask you directly for your vote, please consider this my request for your vote. Thanks to all who get out and exercise your right, regardless of who you vote for.