Look­ing back on a great year

The Covington News - - OPINION -

The hol­i­day sea­son is upon us al­ready. I would like to wish the City of Cov­ing­ton a Merry Christ­mas, as well as a Happy New Year, and I hope that ev­ery­one en­joys this spe­cial time of year. I know that I my­self am look­ing for­ward to this Christ­mas sea­son.

Since this is the first year that three out of my four chil­dren go to outof-state schools, it will be es­pe­cially nice to have them all back home. Our fam­ily has many tra­di­tions for this time of year, but my fa­vorite is one that my wife started 10 years ago. Each mem­ber of our fam­ily, in­stead of buy­ing gifts, makes gifts for each other by hand. This tra­di­tion is won­der­ful be­cause it is al­ways a joy to see what ev­ery­one cre­ates. The rea­son that we do this tra­di­tion is be­cause it rep­re­sents the true mean­ing of Christ­mas, which is giv­ing of your­self for oth­ers. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on the ma­te­ri­al­is­tic gifts we can buy at a store, we share parts of our­selves with those we love. Some mem­bers of our fam­ily are very artis­tic and make beau­ti­ful gifts that are full of heart and mean­ing. See­ing what ev­ery­one put to­gether is al­ways a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence and some­thing that we all look for­ward to year af­ter year.

Along with the hol­i­days, the end of my first year as mayor is swiftly ap­proach­ing and I am still in­cred­i­bly hon­ored to serve in this po­si­tion.

This has been a great year filled with new strides and ac­com­plish­ments for the city. Look­ing for­ward, I am just as ex­cited about the next year and all that it has in store. The day I be­came mayor, I said that both Cov­ing­ton and New­ton County are knock­ing on the doors of some in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties for new jobs, growth and qual­ity of life for their res­i­dents. I still be­lieve ev­ery word of that is true.

Through­out 2012, the city has brought both new busi­nesses and jobs to the area from com­pa­nies such as Bax­ter. Just the an­nounce­ment of Bax­ter is a great ac­com­plish­ment; the $1.1 bil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ment will pro­vide 1,500 new jobs to the area. Co­op­er­a­tion with the city truly made this deal pos­si­ble. There have also been other clear signs that Cov­ing­ton and New­ton County are on the radars of more com­pa­nies seek­ing to move their busi­nesses here as well. It is very ex­cit­ing to think that this area has the po­ten­tial to go from hav­ing one of the high­est un­em­ploy­ment rates in the state to an upand-coming com­mu­nity.

As well as good signs in the job mar­ket for the area, the com­mu­nity has come to­gether over the past year to hold sev­eral events that were suc­cess­ful be­yond what I could have imag­ined. Events such as the Walk of Stars, Chim­ney Park, Light­ing of the Court­house and the Christ­mas pa­rade were truly heart-warm­ing and num­bers of at­ten­dance were the high­est they have been in years. Life-time res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity have also said to me that they have never seen the square look as beau­ti­ful as it has this year. The City of Cov­ing­ton is to thank for all of th­ese ac­com­plish­ments.

With all of that be­ing said, it has been an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence to serve as the mayor of this town. I am so thank­ful that my fam­ily and I moved here when we did. This ti­tle is not some­thing that I take lightly and I con­tinue to work ev­ery­day to earn the re­spect of all the ci­ti­zens. When I took the oath into of­fice, I walked into an out­stand­ing city and I be­lieve that with the many great as­sets avail­able the fu­ture is even brighter for Cov­ing­ton.

Ron­nie John­ston is mayor of the City of Cov­ing­ton.


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