City election will determine our future

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Our View

Unusual opportunities exist this fall for qualified and motivated individuals to seek and win seats on the Elizabethton City Council and Board of Education. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
While this epically long presidential primary season has felt like running a marathon in broken heels, Elizabethton voters need to shake off their summer slumber and keep an eye on the November finish line. The presidential contest is important, but the upcoming city election is as important. Voters will choose three council members and three school board members.
The qualifying deadline is here — tomorrow, August 18, at Noon. Five persons have qualified for the three school board seats, they being Todd Hallman, Jeanette Clark, Rita Booher, Phil Isaacs and Grover May. Booher, Isaacs and May are the incumbents.
Eight candidates are seeking the three council seats up for grabs in this election, they being incumbents Bob Cable, Curt Alexander and Jeff Treadway along with Kimmie Birchfield, Timothy Walker, Jeanette Morgan, Mike Simerly and Darrell Jones.
During the next few weeks it is important for voters to look closely at the candidates and make a responsible choice.
It’s crucial to learn as much as possible about the candidates — their vision for our city and schools, their character and integrity, and their reasons for seeking the office. Is it for community service or self-service?
Think for a moment about the things that could go right or wrong on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis that would truly affect your quality of life. Think about getting trash picked up on time, street repair handled efficiently, and a local business scene that covers all of your basic wants and needs.
Now think in terms of the big picture, the things that truly matter on a year-in, year-out basis. Are your local schools getting the job done? Municipal taxes at an acceptable rate and are those tax dollars being spent efficiently? How is the local economy doing?
Here is what you need to know: The people who have the biggest impact on those things are city council members and school boards.
Do we want to see our city grow or are we content with it being stagnant — no new jobs, no new businesses, streets that are in bad need of repaving, leaders without a vision, our young people moving away because there is no future here.
Who you elect to run your city is going to be something that’s going to impact you for years to come. At the end of the day, the decision local voters make about local candidates in local races are where we can truly have our voices heard and our votes count. It’s where the democratic process is most noticeable and most essential.
We need candidates and leaders who are informed and who are willing to address the problems in our town. We need leaders who are smart, who know the issues, have good ideas for solutions, and who are able to think outside the box.
This election will decide if we will continue as we have in the past or if we are going to move forward. When you see a candidate, ask him or her what their vision is for Elizabethton and what they plan to do to make that vision a reality. Tell them the changes you would like to see.
Bottom line — the consequences of this election can be far ranging, as the council oversees many aspects of our city and its 16,000 plus residents. If you care about how this council votes on important subjects, like infrastructure and development, recruitment of new businesses and jobs, this is your chance to have a direct influence. Do your homework before you vote Nov. 8. If it doesn’t happen, there is no one to blame but the voters.

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