By John Peters
September 22, 2013
Too often in North Carolina, decisions are made in Raleigh with little regard for how they affect the people and communities across the state. That is particularly so for rural areas, such as Surry County, whose existence often seems to be an afterthought when state officials make policy decisions.
A perfect example of that came earlier this year when boundaries for the state economic development districts were redrawn with no input from the counties. Those redrawn districts lumped many localities, such as Surry, into alignments with other counties with little common interest between them.
That is why it is good to see the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners put together an economic development task force, aimed at giving counties a more unified voice when state officials are looking at policies which affect local governments.
It is even better to see one of our own, Surry County Commissioner Larry Phillips, tapped to not only serve on the association’s board of directors, but to chair the new task force.
Phillips’ involvement in the state agency came soon after he spoke with Ray Jeffers, the president of the county commissioners association and a member of the Person County Board of Commissioners. The two talked of their concern for rural economic development in the state, and that led to Jeffers asking Phillips to take on the new roles.
Hopefully this will give all rural communities in North Carolina, and even more so Surry County, a bigger voice as state officials work to continue growing the state’s job base.
It can also serve as a model of what politics should be. Phillips and Jeffers come from different points on the political spectrum, but both men realize that the jobless, or the under employed, don’t really care much for party politics. They simply want work, in decent-paying positions, so they can support themselves and their families.
State, and some local, leaders would do well to follow the example set by Phillips and Jeffers — set aside petty and sometimes mean-spirited party politics and exhibit true leadership, doing what’s best for their constituents without regard to what others might say.