Hillsboro, Marion have council seats on the line Tuesday


Voters in Hillsboro and Marion will go to the polls Tuesday, April 1, to elect candidates for the city council of their respective city.

In Hillsboro, incumbent Byron McCarty faces challenger Martin Rhodes for an East Ward seat.

Shelby Dirks is running unopposed for the seat he currently holds in the West Ward.

In Marion, four candidates will be on the ballot and voters will be asked to select two for at-large positions on the Marion City Council.

Bill Holdeman is the only incumbent. A second incumbent, Jerry Kline, came in fifth in a Feb. 26 primary and was eliminated from the ballot. He has since declared himself a write-in candidate.

To help voters with their decision we went to each candidate on the ballot for each of the contested races and asked each one to respond to three basic questions.

You?ll find their responses below.

In Hillsboro, East Ward voters will cast their ballots at the United Methodist Church on D Street while West Ward Voters will vote at city hall on Grand Street.

In Marion, all voters will cast their ballots at the same location: Emmanuel Baptist Church, 229 Walnut.

All polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Katherine-F-cropped.jpg Gerry-Henderson-cropped.jpg Bill-Holdeman-Cropped.jpg


Steve-Smith-cropped.jpg ByronBarneyMcCartyP3246939.jpg MartinRhodesP3200003.jpg
Steve Smith Byron McCarty Martin Rhodes


Katherine DeFillipis, At-large, Marion

  • Why are you running for the Marion City Council?

    ?I am running for office with the intention of bringing new and fresh ideas to the table. Excitement and enthusiasm are needed as a base to accomplish the goals I have set for myself to expand the work force by gaining industry in Marion. Marion also needs as a community, a more united outlook on just what a community is.?

  • What life experiences prepare you for this role?

    ?I bring with me over 20 years management experience and a few years in the political arena. I have served as a city councilwoman in the past and very much enjoy the daily challenges.?

  • What three issues/projects are most important for the future of the city during the next two years?

    ?One?Jobs. Two?Building a secure community. Three?Working and playing in Marion. I am hoping within the next two years we can show that we are relying on ourselves for all things we need and want. This can be accomplished if we can work here for fair wages.?

Gerry Henderson, At-large, Marion

  • Why are you running for the Marion City Council?

    ?I was encouraged by friends to run for a seat on the Marion City Council because they believe I possess at least some of the attributes necessary to heal what is perceived to be a fractured community and a fractured council. Whether or not that belief is true, I do think that people of good can work together toward common goals, and that people can learn to disagree agreeably.?

  • What life experiences prepare you for this role?

    ?I spent most of my professional career working for a board of one sort or the other. I believe I understand how boards work or should work.

    ?As a high school principal and as a superintendent of schools my job was to facilitate organizational vision and develop consensus for the implementation of that vision.

    ?I would appreciate an opportunity to bring those skills to the body elected to govern my chosen community.?

  • What three issues/projects are most important for the future of the city during the next two years?

    ?Before the city of Marion or any entity can make progress, its citizens must collectively answer the question, ?What do we want??

    ?Marion is in need of a professionally facilitated strategic plan. Therefore, the development of a consensus driven plan is priority No. 1.

    ?In my judgment, key elements of such a plan must be the improvement of the city?s economic health (Economic Development if you will) and the systematic maintenance and upgrading of the city?s infrastructure.

    ?But again, before our city can expect to go anywhere, it (WE) must clearly state where we want to go. I hope to have the opportunity to participate in the creation of such a statement.?

Bill Holdeman, At-large, Marion

  • Why are you running for the Marion City Council?

    ?The past two years have gone by fast, and I would like to be a part of a new look on Main Street, in new bathrooms at the baseball complex, also continued growth in the Industrial Park, and most of all, the completion of the new swimming pool.?

  • What life experiences prepare you for this role?

    ?I was elected to a four-year term to the Newton City Commission and served as mayor in 1982. I moved to Marion in 2006 and I was elected to the Marion City Council. I have been in business 54 years and still working as a barber in Marion.?

  • What three issues/projects are most important for the future of the city during the next two years?

    ?Expand the tax base by getting new businesses on Main Street, new housing and apartments, help to get industry in the Industrial Park, which would increase employment. This World War II Marine just likes to keep busy?it beats retirement.?

Steve Smith, At-large, Marion

  • Why are you running for the Marion City Council?

    ?I decided to run for City Council to give back to the community. Marion has supported me and my family for many years. It would be an honor to represent the citizens of Marion and help to lead our community in growth and opportunities of the future.?

  • What life experiences prepare you for this role?

    ?Being in charge of the Marion County EMS the last six months has given me a good insight as to how personal issues can sometimes be turned into political issues. We need to be more careful about whom we are electing to our political positions. We tend to place people in office to solve some of our own personal issues instead of electing someone for the betterment of the community.

    I have always been a person who will give everything I have to do the best that I possibly can for that job or position. Setting up scheduling and policies for the school district and EMS has given me many insights to know whether we need to change the way we are doing things or to improve them little by little to make them work better for everyone.?

  • What three issues/projects are most important for the future of the city in the next two years?

    ?First and foremost is to improve our city by making it more presentable to the people visiting our community. We must find a way to encourage new businesses to begin in our community. With improvements in our school district and plans for our healthcare changing, now is a perfect time to reach out and show off our community?s strengths. Only by improving our economic future will our small community survive the coming changes. We do not appear to be a strong community with empty storefronts on our Main Street. We need to keep striving to make economic improvements to our community.

    ?Second, we need to provide new opportunities to our youth to stay and raise their families. We have a safe and respectable community that cares for each other in ways that other communities have lost. We now need to reach out for new employment opportunities for our young. New industry or helping our local industries to grow and expand will benefit all of us. This will not be a two-year project, but will have to be a continuing project to secure our community.

    ?Third, we need to establish a community fund that may be used to help those in our community achieve their goals in aiding our community. I was introduced to this by our neighbors in Hillsboro who have come together and organized themselves to raise money for projects that improve their community. They are contributing to those who are truly interested in the betterment of the community. Our own example of this is the Central Park Improvement project that should show us all what can be accomplished when people come together for a common project that greatly improves our community. Only by establishing common goals and objectives can we create a more secure and beautiful community to raise our children and grandchildren.?

Byron McCarty, East Ward, Hillsboro

  • Why are you running for the Hillsboro City Council?

    There are some city projects we?ve started and I would like to see them finished. Also, my fellow council members and some of the city employees asked me to run again.

    I also would like to be of help for some other projects that should be happening in the near future. The next couple of years should see some very positive things happening in Hillsboro. I feel the council and the mayor have accomplished a lot in the last few years. I would like to see it continue.

  • What life experiences prepare you for this role?

    I worked for the city of Hillsboro 26 years. I was a department head for half of that time and have worked in the other city departments.

    I have also been a council member for six years, and it does take some time to understand city government.

    A council member doesn?t do hands-on work with the city employees, but it is good to know what their work involves and then let the department heads do their job. I feel having good department heads and good employees is more important than being able to do carpeting, plumbing or electrical work myself.

    Hiring a professional city administrator is what the council is suppose to do, and I was involved in that; the previous administrator was already hired when I was elected the first time.

  • What three issues/projects are most important for the future of the city during the next two years?

    Councilor Shelby Dirks and I have been trying hard to get the street fixed. The city has hired a good street superintendent, and if he is left alone to do his job, I?m sure the streets in town will get repaired.

    I feel that for some time we really didn?t have a street department. They had to work on projects in the park and at the AMPI building and do other things that had nothing to do with street work.

    With the recent changes the council has made, streets are finally getting fixed. But it will still take some time to catch up with all the work they had to miss. I would hate to see this happen again.

    Second, the city needs a new emergency station. I would hope it would be one where the fire department and ambulance would be in the same building. This would include a training room, office space and other things as needed.

    I would suggest the public ask the firemen what they think about the situation. But it all comes down to tax dollars. I wish we could get what everyone wanted but it just doesn?t work that way.

    The police department also needs a full-time detective. The caseload at the present time is heavy and I don?t see things getting much better. I know our police chief does a lot more than a normal police chief should have to do. I kind of have a soft spot for this department for some reason. Then again,this is a matter of the budget and the department understands that.

    Third, the lack of population in Marion County is a problem for the county and all the cities. If the sales tax gets raised again, it will not help the city of Hillsboro. If not for the fact that we needed a new pool, I would not have been in favor of raising the sale tax when it was voted on.

    This is an issue that probably will come up again and, if passed, will hurt our businesses. I feel that as a council member I need to do what is right for the city of Hillsboro.

    The water in the Marion Reservoir is another issue to address, but I have reached my limit. As you can read, there are lots of things on the table.

Martin Rhodes, East Ward, Hillsboro

  • Why are you running for the Hillsboro City Council?

    Having worked for the city for five years, I feel I have some insight to some of the problems and challenges that face the city and I would like to serve the city of Hillsboro in any way I can.

    n What life experiences prepare you for this role?

    My professional career was working for a large company that supplied administrative services to more than 1,100 hospitals across the nation. My field of expertise was developing maintenance services for these hospitals. I was also responsible for establishing budgets for the maintenance departments in several large hospitals. My job took me all over the United States.

    I presently serve on the board of directors for the Hills?boro Community Medical Center. I have also served on the advisory boards of two Texas colleges.

    As previously stated I also worked for the city for five years.

  • What three issues/projects are most important for the future of the city during the next two years?

    A number of streets are beyond repair and need to be replaced. As a council member I would pursue any avenue possible to be able to fund a street-replacement program.

    I would be aggressive in pursuing any new business that might want to relocate to Hills?boro, as well as supporting our existing businesses and industry to ensure growth.

    I would continue to support the park and recreation beautification and improvements, as well as maintaining what has been put in place.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
BCCC spring honor roll lists Marion County students
Butler Community College in El Dorado announced the president?s and dean?s honor...
Read More