SMYRNA – Two experienced town leaders – one past, one present – are facing each other for the third time in six years this election, both seeking the Smyrna Supervisor’s position.
Incumbent James Bays (D) ended Gerald Parry Sr.’s 14-year run as Supervisor in the 2005 election with a 247-168 victory.
Two years earlier, Parry (R) had fended off Bays – who also served as Supervisor from 1988 to 1992 – by a five vote tally: 200-195.
In the third round, both men acknowledge that natural gas drilling is at the forefront of economic and political discussions in Smyrna and much of the county. They agreed separately that the resource can be overseen and utilized in a way that’s responsible and lucrative.
“As public officials, we have to recognize, within our oath of office, that it’s our job to protect the health and safety of our citizens. There are risks associated with this,” said Bays, noting hazards associated with drilling that could affectc underground water supplies. “It is also a great economic development opportunity. Not only from the standpoint of landowners, many of them farmers, who have found a second income. Which is great. There are municipal possibilities, too.”
Parry advocates for responsible drilling, and believes gas companies and government have done well to strike a balance so far.