May 14, 2014
Continuing the week-before-the-primary-election discussion of the priority planks in my platform, let’s look at the letter I: Image.
It’s easy to remember the five priority areas. Just think of the chorus to Old MacDonald. E I E I O. Those letters stand for economy, image, education, infrastructure and open government. We addressed the first E, Economy, yesterday.
I’ve been told that people from our county sometimes say after making a foolish mistake, “You have to understand, I’m from Ballard County,” The implication is that people outside the county should view Ballard County as a place that produces folks who lack good grammar skills, good social skills, good intellect. That’s not my image of our county and it’s not an image we should portray.
I’m proud to tell people I’m from Ballard County. Growing up here and hanging around our unique storytelling characters provided a background that helped me succeed as a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor, and as a director of public affairs at two national laboratories. The education provided at Wickliffe Elementary School and Ballard Memorial High School laid the foundation that allowed me to graduate from law school among some very intelligent classmates. The work ethic and down-to-earth approach to interacting with colleagues helped me attain managerial and leadership positions throughout my career. Yes, I’m proud to tell people that I’m from Ballard County.
I truly love Ballard County. Several candidates have told us they are life-long residents of Ballard County. That’s not a bad thing, but if you’ve never lived anywhere else you haven’t really chosen Ballard County. It was chosen for you by the fact of your birth. I left the county because I wanted professional opportunities that weren’t available here. I learned a tremendous amount about people and about myself by associating with folks from different states, different cultures. All the time I was gone, I knew I would move back home when I retired. There has never been another “home” as far as I’m concerned. I have chosen Ballard County over many other options. Many of us who moved away have gone through a similar process.
Here are a couple of statements that summarize my feelings:
"Ballard County offers the best qualities of country people and country living. It's a great place to call home."
“Ballard Countians are good neighbors, good friends and good employees.”
Those statements portray the image I want people to have, people who are residents and even people who are not fortunate enough to be residents.