The Covington News - - Front page - Last week a friend and I were in Athens on busi­ness and de­cided to stay for din­ner. We in­vited her nephew and friends to join us. We had no ex­pec­ta­tions other than a few students en­joy­ing a free meal. We were im­pressed with a di­verse group of young adults

can be, pre­par­ing them for the chal­lenges life has to of­fer. My daugh­ters now rais­ing their chil­dren have ad­mit­ted they un­der­stand my ex­pec­ta­tions helped them de­velop into com­pe­tent and re­spon­si­ble adults with the skills to nav­i­gate life through the prom­ises and chal­lenges it brings.

The fields of study for these ded­i­cated students are as di­verse as the in­di­vid­u­als them­selves; how­ever, all had ex­pec­ta­tions to meet or ex­ceed the qual­ity of life they ex­pe­ri­enced in their par­ents’ homes. Their fu­ture is full of po­ten­tial and op­por­tu­nity. All want ca­reers that pro­vide an out­let for their in­ter­ests; for ex­am­ple, one wants to travel and will ob­tain Teach­ing English in For­eign Lands Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion be­fore leav­ing school to fa­cil­i­tate this de­sire. These ex­pec­ta­tions were no longer those of their par­ents, but rather the ex­pec­ta­tions they are be­gin­ning to form for them­selves. These in­clude a qual­ity of life with time for fam­ily and friends as well as a ca­reer. Their chal­lenge is to find a way to marry their ex­pe­ri­ences with their ex­pec­ta­tions.

This evening started me think­ing about your ex­pec­ta­tions and how they align with those of your elected of­fi­cials. New­ton County is chang­ing. Al­though grow­ing at a slower pace, this growth brings a di­verse pop­u­la­tion to our county. We have white, black, In­dian, Asian, Latino and multi-ra­cial res­i­dents. We have so­cio-eco­nomic lev­els from af­flu­ent to poverty. Our land parcels range from agri­cul­tural-ru­ral to ur­ban den­si­ties. Our com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial busi­nesses con­sist of en­tre­pre­neur­ial in­cu­ba­tors and ma­jor in­dus­tries. The jobs pro­vided vary in ed­u­ca­tion re­quire­ments from a high school diploma to a Ph.D. Older gen­er­a­tions value pri­vately owned land; younger gen­er­a­tions ex­pect more pub­lic greenspace.

My ex­pe­ri­ence as Chair­man in­di­cates ex­pec­ta­tions are as var­ied as our pop­u­la­tion is di­verse. Some­times the in­di­vid­u­als with the great­est ex­pec­ta­tions live in the most ru­ral or re­mote parts of our county. The af­flu­ent are di­vided equally be­tween those will­ing to pay for bet­ter ser­vices and those with ex­pec­ta­tions of more for less. Some ex­pect en­ti­tle­ments while oth­ers are will­ing to pay for stronger pub­lic safety and qual­ity of life ser­vices, such as li­braries or parks. In ru­ral ar­eas, some want less gov­ern­ment and fewer ser­vices, while the more densely pop­u­lated ar­eas have higher ex­pec­ta­tions for more ur­ban ser­vices. My lead­er­ship chose a proac­tive path pro­tect­ing our as­sets while pre­par­ing for a sus­tain­able fu­ture; oth­ers choose a re­ac­tive pos­ture. There is no right or wrong an­swer here.

But like my young friends, we must find a way to marry our ex­pec­ta­tions with our ex­pe­ri­ences. You have at your dis­posal the power of lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Your elected of­fi­cials are sup­posed to rep­re­sent you, who­ever you are, what­ever your ex­pec­ta­tions. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the key to un­der­stand the process and de­velop re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions for all. Dur­ing this elec­tion sea­son, contact the can­di­dates to dis­cuss ex­pec­ta­tions. Not ev­ery­one will have his or her ex­pec­ta­tions met but it is im­por­tant to let your voice be heard.

Kathy Mor­gan is chair­man of the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.


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