LOCALS SUPPORT HOLMES – Hubbard to County: ‘Allow each person who wants to speak the opportunity to speak’
There was only standing room at the regularly scheduled Covington County Commission meeting on Tuesday morning, and two spoke in favor of commissioner Tony Holmes, who was accused of making racist comments on his Facebook, but only one spoke in opposition after waiting three weeks to speak.
At the beginning of the meeting, chairman Greg White said there were more people that requested to speak on the agenda than allowed, but a suspension in the rules could be made to allow all speakers the opportunity to do so. None of the commissioners made a motion, so only two people on each side were allowed to talk on the issue.
“To allow more to speak, we call for a suspension of the rules,” White said. “There was no motion, so we will only allow two on each side to speak.”
First on the podium was Andalusia local Harriet Hubbard.
“First of all, I want to say that I don’t think there is anybody in this room that would say the person in this room that we have come to discuss is a bad person,” Hubbard said. “Everybody says very nice things about the person in question. He is a very nice person and does good things for lots of people. We don’t get stars in our crown for doing nice things. This is something that the good Lord expects us to do.”
Hubbard said that after the meeting three weeks ago, nine people had asked to be on the agenda to speak.
“Last Friday, July 3, around lunchtime, Greg White called and informed me that only two people would be allowed to speak for three minutes each,” Hubbard said. “This was a complete surprise and contrary to what we were told or led to believe that day. For this reason, our group will attempt to speak at the next meeting where all concerned citizens will have an opportunity to speak. Much like they were allowed to speak when citizens were questioning the site of the new mental health center. Eight people were allowed to speak for as long as they wanted to. You cannot continue to allow this practice of not allowing your constituents time to speak. Obviously, from the looks of this room, there are some things that need to be addressed. We petition the council, again, to allow each person who wants to speak the opportunity to speak.”
WAAO owner Blaine Wilson was the first to speak in support of Holmes.
“The purpose of the county commission meeting is to conduct the business of the county,” Wilson said. “Its finances, its policies and to ensure the business and day to day activities of Covington County as required by law. This commission meeting is not the place for personal attacks or political attacks from one side of the aisle, whose sole intention is to disrupt and destroy a person’s good name and character. I want to remind everyone in this room today, republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, that in America we have the right to run for office and to be heard. The U.S. Constitution ensures every law-abiding citizen the right to run for office in an attempt to be elected to that office. If your mission here today is to tongue-lash our duly elected commissioner Tony Holmes because you feel like you have been wronged, I encourage you to find out when the district commission election is, qualify to run in this commission district if you reside in the district, pay your qualifying fee, fill out the necessary paperwork, assemble your team of supporters, subject yourself and your family to everything public, scrutiny, and to everything you have ever said and done in life. I’ll then see you at the Courthouse on election night to see how your political movement is accepted. This is how the process in America works, it’s not using local dying print media news allies, who have comprised their journalistic integrity and who joined your cause for obvious political party preference, or using pitchforks or attempting to hijack a commission meeting to defame a man who has devoted his life to serving his fellow man.”
Wilson went on to say that Holmes is a man who loves God, his country, freedom and will lay down his life to defend it.
“To Mr. Holmes, the majority is with you,” Wilson said. “Stand tall, sir.”
Andalusia local Michael Jackson was the next person to speak in support of Holmes, said that he has never seen America as divided as it is today.
“That division has spread unto our small part of the world,” Jackson said. “It is truly a shame that we have allowed this to happen. It is almost unbelievable to me. As I mentioned, I have lived here my entire life. I have always been proud of where I live, because regardless of age, economic status, race, religion or politics, we were all able to get along. Now, here we are. We stand here today falling into the same traps that face communities all across America. We are divided. I stand before you today calling for unity. I am calling for us to remember who we are and where we came from. I’m calling for us to stop trying to destroy people when they say things we disagree with and understand that it is not imperative that we all agree about every statement made by our neighbor. The attacks on Tony Holmes and his family are unfair. They have also been politically motivated. Maybe, more importantly, these attacks have divided this community. I am asking for this to stop for this community to heal. I know who we have always been. I have always been proud of it. I am not proud today. I am ashamed.”
After Jackson spoke, White gave the commission an opportunity for another person on the “Hubbard side,” as he referred to them, to speak. There was not a motion.
The county commission meets again on July 28.