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Running as independent presents challenges
I would like to express my gratitude to the Macon County community for their support and encouragement throughout my campaign for county commissioner. I knew from the beginning that running as an independent candidate would present significant challenges for victory. I was even encouraged by many to run as a Republican to have a better chance to win. As I digested the political landscape on a statewide and national basis, I truly believed we had arrived at a time when an independent candidate could enter the arena and make a difference. Of course after the election results are in, I now realize how naïve I was to think we may ever vote outside of a two party system. Even though we have almost 10,000 unaffiliated registered voters out of 27,000 registered voters in Macon County, we are clearly a Republican county and the voters chose accordingly.
Another element of the campaign that surprised me was the constant effort to bring national party politics into our local election. Potential voters were less concerned about where I stood on the issues affecting Macon County, it was more about who I voted for in 2020 and who I may vote for in 2024. I repeatedly told my detractors the voting booth was designed by our forefathers to be private for good reason. As a nation, we never want to be oppressed for who we may or may not have voted for in an election. It is important to remember, a certain political party may not always be in power, but we will always want the protections afforded by our constitution.
As I walk away from my effort to get elected, I better understand the challenges affecting Macon County and I hope our elected commissioners are ready to face these challenges. The effort to vote down the ¼ cent sales tax increase was successful, but this will leave a significant gap in funding for education infrastructure. It will be interesting to see how a new high school and other important projects will be built without a significant increase in property taxes, considering we walked away from approximately $2,000,000 in annual revenue, of which 45% would have been paid by non-residents. The most talked about issue on the campaign trail for me was access to high speed Internet. Making headway into this issue will require significant collaboration from our elected leaders and community leaders, and it will need to be accomplished if we do not want our children and community left behind. Other issues that will continue to have a significant impact on the day to day lives of Macon County residents include affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, access to healthcare and economic development. There is much work to be done.
I would encourage the people of Macon County to stay involved in the policy making process by reading the newspapers and attending or watching online the county commission meetings. We all need to be held accountable for our actions and this new board will need input from you to keep Macon County a great place to live and raise our families. I am grateful I had a chance to be a part of the election process and I look forward to staying involved as a citizen.
Jerry Moore – Highlands, N.C.