Covington says woman's perspective is important
By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Aug. 18, 2003
Sidney Covington, 51, of Meridian, hopes to win the District 1 position on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors and defeat fellow Republican Eddie Harper in the Aug. 26 runoff.
Covington is the wife of Jimmy Covington. The couple has four children and they attend Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church.
Her work experience includes being a Lauderdale County school counselor; part-time instructor at Meridian Community College; a therapist at Wesley House Community Center; a partner in Covington Development, retail and commercial development; a business owner; and commissioner of the Dalewood Sewer District.
She discussed her campaign and her plans with The Meridian Star editorial board.
The Meridian Star: You have said that your opponent's charges that you would encounter many conflicts of interest if you are elected supervisor is a non-issue. Please explain.
Sidney Covington: We own two lots outside of the city limits. One we have a house on in Dalewood, the other we hope to build on in Eagle Pointe.
Since being with my husband for 27 years, he has been before the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors on two occasions. One was to appeal on his taxes. The other was to get approval on a subdivision plat that had already been approved by the planning commission.
Other than that, we've never had any business before the board of supervisors nor do we foresee there being a conflict of interest.
The Star: Do you see a potential conflict of interest with your opponent being on the board of supervisors?
Covington: I think he has an equal potential as I do. He's a small business owner. Everybody who sits on the supervisor's board has an equal opportunity for a conflict of interest, so that, for me, is a non-issue.
The Star: Would a woman bring a different perspective to the board of supervisors?
Covington: Absolutely. We just think differently. We were made to think differently. I think we tend to be quicker at solving problems, at avoiding conflict. I'm speaking for myself my background and educational experience is counseling, which means I do help solve problems. Also, men react differently when there is a woman in the room.
The Star: Is it important to have a woman's perspective on the board of supervisors or on any and all boards?
Covington: I think so. There's diversity on the board, but not full diversity. The white man is there. The black man is there. There is nobody to be a voice for the women. We have more women in the work place now and in the work force, and we have a lot of them who have businesses. I can relate to them more easily probably than guys can. Women are now in the work force and deserve representation in that area.
The Star: If you are elected, what's the first thing you are going to do with the board of supervisors?
Covington: I'm going to heavily rely on Hank Florey and have him continue to show me the things that need looking at. So many things have already started. As a citizen, I'm already trying to help Eagle Pointe with its drainage problem. I've already started that process. I'll look at that further. I want to get to know the men and the women who work in the county offices and acquaint myself with the office further in ways I was not able to by not being on the board.
As far as specific plans go, I can't say A, B, C and D. But certainly I want to continue working with the drainage issues. I want to continue to see what we can do to get infrastructure out to the industrial areas. We cannot lose anymore potential development. We've already lost considerable (development) because we had nowhere to put them. We had ground, but no services, and I want to hit the ground running on that.
The Star: You have said economic development is your top priority. How will you make an impact on that as District 1 supervisor?
Covington: This particular supervisor will have a lot of impact, and I already have had some as evidenced by our development company in the North Hills area. That project cost, at the high end, approximately $600,000. To do the road bid and paving was $400,000. That project now produces over that amount per year in ad valorem taxes, not to even mention sales tax.
I already know about development. I've already been involved in it. I already have been instrumental in it. I've already met with heads of industries who now want to come to our area because of our strategic location but we have nowhere to put them because of a lack of infrastructure services, utilities and all. I already know how to do it because we've done it successfully.
The Star: What have we not asked you that you want to comment on?
Covington: I come with clean hands and a clean history seeking this office. Because of living in the city limits and working in the many areas I have worked in, I can communicate with the city council and the mayor and the other people and can even serve as a good buffer between them. I think that's what's needed. So often there is an imaginary dividing line between us and them.
We can consolidate in our plans of growth. We can consolidate in our vision. But you can't consolidate if you can't communicate. We've got to get rid of our "us-and-them" attitude.