COLUMN: Don't let candidates off eco-devo hook

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By Ben Carlson

Don’t be surprised if sooner rather than later a candidate for fiscal court or judge-executive shows up at your door, begging for your vote in next May’s primary.

Each will probably offer the usual servings of political oatmeal about “saving money” and “taking a close look at the budget.”

Those are OK, but not one should leave your doorstep until he or she answers the following question: What specifically will you do to bring industry and jobs to Anderson County?

There’s no doubt that he or she will be ready with a fresh scoop of oatmeal to shove down your throat by insisting that he or she is “committed” to bringing jobs and “will work to get it done.”

With Anderson’s unemployment rate a Michigan-like 12.5 percent, they know those answers are no longer good enough, and hope you’re too vapid to figure it out.

That for years is apparently the premise by which those who run this county have operated, and fat and happy voters content to see their home values increase 3 to 5 percent a year have allowed them to get away with it.

Oh, we had a dandy party here in Anderson County, did we not? For 20 years or so developers turned cow and tobacco fields into subdivisions, lined their pockets with green and left the rest of us to pay the costs associated with more people demanding more services. You know, stuff like ambulances and fire engines and water plants and schools and police cars.

You get the picture.

At the same time, those same power merchants shunned economic development (Can’t have factories where houses could go!) first by hiding behind a now defunct private group whose mission it was to bring factories to Anderson County, and now behind the flagging coattails of the Bluegrass Area Development District.

Now that the party is officially pooped, we’re left mired in our own excrement of an unemployment rate that is in the bottom third of the entire state.

Although all of the blame cannot be placed on those currently in office, it’s time we demand they take specific, measurable action or kick them to the curb of one of the half-built subdivisions they helped create.

The upcoming elections could be and should be a bellwether moment in Anderson County’s history.

Voters will have a chance to elect people who understand the difference between talking a good game and playing one — or are at least are sick of standing on the sidelines.

We need and should demand our elected leaders believe the ages-old axiom that well done is better than well said.

So when these folks show up on your doorstep between now and the May primary, be ready with questions and demand answers before committing your vote — or room in your front yard for a sign — to anyone.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.