"I want to make sure our programs for our senior citizens are adequately funded," Richards said. With a growing population of senior citizens, he said the county's transportation system should be expanded, and the cost of rides reduced to serve them.
"We need reasoned economic growth. We have enough warehouses, we need better paying, family supporting jobs," Richards stated in his announcement. "It is a pity that they are building all of these fantastic homes that our own children can't afford to buy."
The board of commissioners is limited in what it can do to directly influence the economy, but by working with economic development groups, "they can set the tone," Richards said. Tax incentive packages and other means can be used to attract businesses and industries that pay higher wages and retain the ones already in the county, he said.
Better access to health care and more support for volunteer fire companies and ambulance squads also were goals listed in Richards' announcement.
At the same time, Richards said, "We need to hold the line on taxes" by making county government more efficient."
"I will be very hands on and, frankly, I will have my nose in every office and department to see what we can do to cut costs without cutting services," Richards stated in his announcement. One measure was to not give elected officials yearly raises during their term in office, he said.
Richards, a manufacturing engineer with Jerr-Dan Corp., said he also would consider an incentive program to pay bonuses to county employees who find ways to cut costs.
This year's primary race is the most crowded in memory, with seven Republican and five Democratic candidates. The top two from each party will advance to the general election.