Last updated on April 3, 2023
Just over a year ago, I left Macon County to pursue a job out of state. This decision was one that I thought long and hard about, Macon County is my home, and the community is one that I love so deeply. The opportunity was just too good to pass up, and I knew that taking the job would ultimately help to develop my skills and knowledge, all of which I could bring back home. Much like my own parents did, I want to raise my future family in Macon County. I credit the place I grew up with many things, including the skills, opportunities for growth, and sense of belonging that I now hold; and these are values that I hope to foster in the next generation. However, looking from the outside in over the last year, I have been anxious that leadership in Macon County is more concerned with fighting nonsense culture war issues than taking care of our community; and that makes it difficult to maintain my desire to return home.
Before I left Macon County, I was working a full-time county job. I made good money, but it was nearly impossible to find somewhere affordable to live. Like many Maconians, I found myself making too much money to qualify for government assistance and not enough money to buy a house, or even pay rent. Too many rental property owners would rather provide short-term, vacation rentals than to rent their property long-term to residents. Even if someone is eligible for government assistance, the housing that qualifies can take months to get into as there are more people in need than there are available units. How can we attract young professionals and help our businesses grow, when there is nowhere for them to live? And what are the Commissioners doing to attract developers, property owners, and businesses to work together on this issue?
Additionally, as someone who wants to have a family, I must factor in the loss of Angel Medical’s Women and Children’s unit into my decision to move back home. As anyone who has ever driven over Cowee Mountain in the winter knows, the road to the nearest delivery room can be dangerous at best and fatal at worst. With dwindling options for healthcare and childcare, what are Commissioners doing to hold healthcare leaders accountable? How are they working to improve a family’s options to receive care?
As a proud graduate of Macon County Schools, why are our county leaders not outspoken in support for the next generation of students, community members, and future leaders by making investments in those resources now? Instead, we have Commissioners who are opposed to new, well-resourced schools, and are even considering leaving the Fontana Regional Library system because of content that they personally do not like.
We need community leaders who are willing to be stewards of our community for the next generation and that does not include leaving the Fontana Regional Library system. The future vitality and growth of our community is put in jeopardy with leaders who are too afraid of words written on paper and not of the growing problems that community members face. It’s high-time that these complaints be put to bed, so that the Commissioners get to the work they were elected to do: serving the people, not politics.