Three contentious issues have been on the front burners here recently: The 1st Congressional District election between Sen. Alan Nunnelee and Congressman Travis Childers; the certification hearing of Robert Hall; and the annexation suit involving Tupelo and Lee County, Saltillo and Plantersville. Two of these three issues are now behind us.
The election is over. I am sure all of us thank Congressman Childers for his service, and we congratulate Sen. Nunnelee. I look forward to working with him in his new role.
Likewise, I thank former Deputy Chief Hall for his service. This episode is now over. I am firmly committed to moving on to help our chief and our Police Department provide our citizens the safest city in America.
The third issue, the annexation suit, remains on the table, still before the judge. Whichever way the judge decides, we all need to move forward in a spirit of determination to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens, remembering that citizens of Baldwyn and Guntown and Mooreville and Nettleton and Plantersville and Saltillo and Shannon and Sherman and Verona and Tupelo are also citizens of Lee County.
I am keeping my eyes clearly on the road ahead, not on the rearview mirror.
Where does that road lead? What really can government do – what should it do – for us? I believe government’s role is to provide the initiatives and infrastructure for our citizens to be able to enjoy a good quality of life.
The initiatives and infrastructure would include strong public schools; safe places to live and work; safe and decent roads to get there; a good climate for businesses to locate and thrive in; a good place for good health care to be provided; thoughtful development planning that provides for quality growth; and adequate places for public recreation and relaxation; a clean environment; fair and efficient courts; opportunities for connecting to the rest of the world by roads, air, rail and the Internet; affordable electricity and water and sewer. You may think of something I have left out. None of these is a Republican nor Democratic issue or idea.
When a Tupelo Water amp& Light lineman goes out at 2 a.m. to repair a downed electric line during a bad thunderstorm, he’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat; he’s a City of Tupelo employee who is doing a dangerous job to provide the rest of us with electricity.
After a year or so in office, I am so appreciative of men and women who volunteer their own time and energy for the good of this community. The members of our Mayor’s Task Forces have done miraculous work – making real improvements in all of their areas – and their motivations have not been partisan at all. They have been motivated by the higher calling of what it means to be a private citizen who is willing to give back to his or her community.
We need citizens who are willing to pitch in, not just to criticize and complain. We need citizens who, when they see need for improvement, communicate it clearly and who have the integrity not to hide behind anonymous letters, online comments or e-mails.
We need thoughtful adults who recognize that it takes more courage to admit that the other side has a good point than it does to simply denounce and be inflexible or spread or believe rumors.
To accomplish improvements, we need bridge-builders and good listeners.
We all want good jobs, a hopeful future for ourselves and our children, an economy we can depend on, the opportunity to worship and relax and contribute to causes that we believe are important. There is much more that unites us here than divides us.
Attending our city’s Veterans Day events this past week, I thought again about how much we owe them. In the great World War II movie “Saving Private Ryan,” the captain who gave his life to save Private Ryan whispers to him: “Deserve this.” We have all been given a great country and a great community. I intend to do all I can, we need to do all we can, to “deserve this.”
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. is a lifelong Tupeloan. He was elected in 2009 and remains active in a range of civic volunteer activities. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.tupeloms.gov.
JACK REED JR.