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Well, it is general election day 2019 and I hope everyone who can got out to vote.  Voting is not only a right granted to us by forefathers with great vision who wanted a process and form of government that offset human weaknesses, but one that has been fertilized by sacrifice and blood for over 243 years.  With that right comes responsibility; responsibility to be informed and take the time to ensure our true desires are made known.  Candidates aren’t perfect and we often have to accept imperfections as we wrestle our way to picking the candidates that most closely reflect our beliefs. 

 It’s not supposed to be easy but is it really that difficult to vote when looking at the world and history.  The first voters were called traitors to the Crown of England’s King George and risked life and land when going to the polls.  In some countries today, proof of voting could result in being beaten or having limbs cut off.  Just something to think about when you are asked to stand and be counted in the United States today.

This is a natural transition into my next topic, the 2020 Census.  Things are moving along smoothly as we prepare for this Spring’s official count of those living here in Lee County.  There’s no need to travel to where you were born, no chance of having no room at the Inn.  It is easier now to be counted then any time in history.  You can wait for the form that comes in the mail, fill it out and send it back, or you can call the Census people and answer questions on the phone.  You can go online and fill it out, or you can wait until they stop by your house unannounced and ask you questions.  I would go with one of the first three.  It will take about 10 minutes to fill it out. 

Why participate in the Census? These numbers are used to tell politicians who we are, program administrators at the state and federal levels what we need, and business leaders who the workers and customers are.   By not ensuring each of us is counted, we are costing Lee County money in state and federal aid, and opportunities that businesses to the area could provide.  Don’t wait to be counted, demand to be counted. It helps us all.

Visiting the Recreation Center issue again, the Lee County Public Service Corporation has been duly reincorporated and will be addressing the agreement with the Lee County Recreation Center again.

  For those who have not been part of the discussion. There is a debate on whether or not the Kentucky Mountain Mission of Eastern Kentucky should pay rent for use of the Lee County Recreation Center or not and whether all procedures were correctly followed by Lee County to ensure the Recreation Center was and is properly listed with the state and IRS as a nonprofit that received government funding.  

Though the Lee County Public Service Corporation is made up of the members of the Fiscal Court, Judge Chuck Caudill, and Magistrates Ronnie Paul Begley, Dean Noe, Harvey Pelfrey, and Dennis Pelfrey, they are not acting as members of the Fiscal Court and we will have to schedule a meeting at a different time from the actual Fiscal Court Meeting.  I will keep the community advised on the issue.  

For planning, the next Fiscal Court meeting is Thursday, November 14 at 6 p.m. in the Lee County Courthouse on the second floor.  Hope to see you there.  

Regarding the Red River Economic Development Board, I received an open records request from attorney Mark Wohlander asking for all information regarding Lee County’s participation in the project.  Like many of you, I knew nothing about this board until after I took office. I am complying with the few emails I have shared with the board.  

I don’t know where this board and the studies will lead, but from what I have seen so far, the Red River Economic Development Board is showing great respect for the potential of the region while bringing in experts to help formulate the best course for the region in the future.  It is made up of a group of successful businessmen and officials who have deep roots in these mountains and truly want to do what is best for the region and communities.  

As you read this, the election is over.  Your vote was either a winner or a loser, but the sun still rose, the birds are still singing, and the challenges that faced you yesterday are still waiting to be addressed.   But don’t forget, so are the blessings.  

In this time where we are able to challenge each other’s ideas like no time in history, thanks to social media, it’s important to remember, we all have a right to feel the way we do and see the world and candidates and issues  through our own experiences. It’s not always easy to avoid attacking others, but we should try and we should remember, our relationships are about far more than just politics.  

A new day is dawning Lee County; whatever the votes were, let’s take what we are given and make the most of it.

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