Wood to run of mayor in Opp
Published 3:10 am Thursday, June 16, 2016
Wayne Wood has announced he will pursue the office of mayor in the August municipal elections.
Born and raised in Opp, Wood is a graduate of Opp High School, class of 1980. During his school years, he worked in the cotton mill and TG&Y. He owns and operates the Opp Skating Rink and has worked in the oil and gas industry for over 30 years.
“I think my experience in the industry will help me as mayor of Opp,” he said. “I started at the bottom and worked my way up, so I can relate to a lot of people, from the bottom to the top.”
Wood said his knowledge of the industry would also help the city in construction and other similar projects.
“When we’re doing construction or any other type of project, I have lots to offer.”
Wood said his first priority as mayor will be to bring in new jobs.
“The past 20 years we’ve done nothing,” he said. “If we don’t get jobs here, the rest of it won’t matter. We have got to build relationships with industry and do what we need to do to get them here.”
After creating and bringing in new jobs, Wood said another priority is a total reevaluation of the municipality and communication between members of the municipality.
“We need to make sure we have the right people in the right places across the city,” he said.
According to Wood, it comes down to a belief in people – that they will perform their roles to the best of their ability.
“It’s about trust,” he said. “We have to trust people and put them in the positions to do the right things.”
Working with the municipality and putting people in the right places, Wood said, should free up time for the mayor to pursue new industry and bring in new jobs.
“I believe a mayor should spend 80 percent of his time looking for new jobs,” he said. “I am fully prepared to do that. I have no doubt we have untapped potential.”
Wood said that another priority is to unite the city.
“I see it everyday,” he said. “We still have a divided community. We’ve got to find ways to become one again, to re-instill unity. We have lost the vision of where we came from and how we arrived.”
Wood said that Mizell Memorial Hospital is an important part of the city and working with the hospital can have a positive impact for the future growth of Opp.
“Without a good medical facility it’s a distraction to industry,” he said. “We have to work with the board of directors of our local hospital to better utilize our medical facilities.”
Wood called the hospital a necessity, not a luxury, and said that the same attitude must be taken around the city.
“We must put our necessities ahead of our luxuries,” he said.
Wood also said that he knew there would be challenges in holding the office of mayor. The first of these challenges, he said, would be preparing the workforce to work the new jobs.
“Knowing we have the right people,” he said. “How well talented they are to fill the jobs. How well would we do as far as knowledge and skills? Today, most industry jobs have become computerized and involve engineering and computer science. We’ve got to make sure that we are looking at ways to get the locals trained. If you get a new industry here and all outsiders are coming in taking the jobs, we still haven’t accomplished anything at the end of the day.”
Wood emphasized the importance of LBW and said that LBW could be aligned with any industry so that people – especially our young people – could be properly trained to take on new jobs and have more opportunities.
Wood said the most important thing is to change the way the city has been moving for the last two decades.
“This a must-have,” he said. “We’ve got to become innovative and creative and start thinking outside of the box.”
Wood said the city is “living off the utility department, which will cause rates to go up.”
“If we don’t get business in here the utility rates will continue to climb because it’s the only thing we have supporting the system now.”
Wood said that working together with other city officials and with the people of Opp is the key to moving Opp forward.
“People need to know this cause is about ‘we’, not ‘me.’”
Wood again cited his industry experience, and said that a city should run differently than an industry.
“In industry, everything is driven from the top down,” he said. “In a municipality, it is the opposite of that, or it should be.”
Wood said that he if is elected he will be dedicated to the office.
“To ensure that each day is productive and we are keeping the community and the industry in our forefront,” Wood said. “If I’m given the opportunity, we can put Opp back on top.”