A New Position

editorial-logo3This is a big week for Jefferson County. By the week’s end, Jefferson County will begin a new fiscal year. I know that doesn’t mean much to some, and it is unlikely that anyone will ring in the new fiscal year with bells and whistles or fireworks, but some will certainly be glad to see it come with no property tax increase and a few, abet minor, additional frills (if you call vehicles, ambulances, and such frills). While the fanfare may be far less than ringing in a new calendar year, it is no less a reason to make a few resolutions.

This could be the year that Jefferson County moves from a County of bare means to one that is on the move, economically speaking. But, that will take a change in the way that we view our situation. I contend that if you act like you are poor, you will be poor. Economic depression is as much a state of mind as a state of being. The mindset of we can’t because we never could is holding us back like a sack of cement tied to a swimmer. The only place to go is down. Recently, I saw some state documents that now classify Jefferson County as a suburban area, not a rural area. If we are what we are, then let’s be what we can be. There is nothing wrong with being a suburb of Knoxville. Many places (see Farragut, Maryville, Oak Ridge) have not only prospered from it, they have thrived. I didn’t mind being rural when we were rural, but those of us that have lived here for most of our lives know that career farmers are few and far between. I never thought that I would see the day when Jefferson County has more million dollar homes than full-time, working farms, but that day has come. We can embrace it and reap the benefits of the refugees from the big city lights, or we can fight it and have the worst of both worlds. I, for one, am ready to embrace the change. To me, that means that the conversations that we should be having about the direction of Jefferson County, economically, may need to be a little different. What makes an area a successful suburb? Obviously proximity, but how do we cash in on our change in status?

Other communities have done it well. Look at Franklin, for instance. It was rural, and now it is a suburb of Nashville. All of the benefits of the big city and none, or very little, of the nasty aftertaste. It is possible to have it all, it just has to be planned carefully. Now is the time to make our move, and we cannot drag our feet. If we keep acting like we are poor, uneducated, and challenged, people are going to believe us, and then where will we be? What will we be?

A new fiscal year is starting, and it is time that we assess ourselves and make a plan. There is no better time than the present to put our best foot forward and take a big step. It should be our resolution to put the term “economically depressed” out of our dictionary and insert “upwardly mobile” into our vocabulary. Remember that self-impression has as much to do with success or failure as external forces. We don’t always have to take our cousin to the dance. We can go with the prom queen. Better yet, we can be the prom queen! It is past time that we embrace our potential in Jefferson County. The future is bright if we don’t cling to the past and, instead, become open to a new identity and prosperity.

Source: K. Depew, News Director

Jefferson Farmers Co-op 08112014