Tuesday’s elections are about our future

Published 3:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2016

Voters in Troy and Brundidge will head to the polls on Tuesday to select the men and women who will lead the municipal governments for the next four years.

It’s a decision not to be made lightly.

We’ve heard a lot in recent weeks from the candidates about wanting to improve the quality of life in their communities, about wanting to grow jobs and the economy, about wanting to make their communities safer or more business-friendly. And we’ve heard candidates talk about how they plan to be accessible and accountable to the public.

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All of those a good campaign talking points,

But voters need to consider more than just personalities and talking points when they head to the polls on Tuesday.

Both Troy and Brundidge are at critical junctures.

In Brundidge, city officials are faced with the challenges of declining population and poverty. They dream big – recreation centers and splash pads, downtown revitalization and industrial growth – and have managed to stretch resources significantly to increase services; recruit industry; and help brand the community. But more will be needed in the next four years, and leadership and vision will be critical to making that happen. They new mayor will need to see that vision for the community and to build a consensus of people willing to work to bring about growth and change in Brundidge. It’s not an easy task, and voters need to consider who has the skills, vision, experience and ability to successfully lead the community forward.

Troy, on the other hand, is in a period of phenomenal growth. Tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure and retail development are taking place in the community; the housing market is strong; retail growth is increasing at a rapid clip; and jobs are being added, from technical industry opportunities at CGI to manufacturing at HB&G. A focused effort to revitalize and reposition downtown for the next 20 years in drawing support across the community, and growth at Troy University continues to spur growth in the town. But there are challenges as well: crime and safety issues continue in some areas of the community, the school system’s growth isn’t keeping pace with the city’s growth, despite an impressive recreation program a large segment of the city’s youth are underserved and capitalizing on the opportunities that go hand-in-hand with being home to a major university is never easy. A vested interest in the future is a must. And leading Troy in the next four years will require vision and ability to both see and to seize opportunities, to capitalize on the “what we could be” of Troy’s future and to work tirelessly to make that happen. Troy is on the cusp of staggering opportunities and growth, and managing that process requires leaders with a strong understanding of Troy’s history and the ability to anticipate its needs in the future.

So consider this carefully as you head to the polls on Tuesday: Who are the men and women to whom you will trust your future and our communities’ futures?