By Natalie Knudsen, Chamber of Commerce

Our first ‘Meet the Candidate’ Forum was a resounding success! A nice crowd was on hand in the Court House – and an even larger number of people listened in on WTNK – as many of our commissioners and local officials introduced themselves and shared their ideas for our county.

A big “thank you” to everyone who took the time to prepare comments and address the citizens of Trousdale County. As our moderator Jerry Richmond pointed out, public speaking is the No. 1 fear for most people but these candidates faced their fears and overcame them. WTNK made the live broadcast possible.

Natalie Knudsen

Change in our county was the No. 1 theme at the Candidate Forum – and probably the No. 2 fear for most people. Change is something new, something different and sometimes something confusing. Following the shutdown of the Hartsville Nuclear Facility, the city and county experienced hard economic times and most of the changes had a negative impact on everyone.

But Trousdale County has experienced a lot of positive changes in the past several years including a new fire hall, community center, justice center, water treatment facility upgrades, a new correctional facility, a highly rated school system, new roads and sidewalks, and a record number of new housing starts.

This is a big CHANGE for the citizens from the previous 30 years and many are worried about the cost of these improvements. Did you know that that Trousdale County has received more than $20 million in grants to help finance these improvements and many more? Each one of the expenditures for improvements in the county must be voted on and approved by your commissioners.

Another big benefactor for the county has been the property tax payments made by Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. Whether you approve of the facility or not, they are making a huge tax contribution to our bottom line and providing a large number of job opportunities.

Next week we’ll take a closer look at the projects funded through grants and the source of the grants behind the improvements in Trousdale County.

Don’t forget early voting begins July 13 and runs through July 28. To vote early you must vote at the Election Commission office, located at 214 Broadway. Election Day is Aug. 2 and you must vote at the polling place for your district. You must have registered to vote by July 3 to be able to vote in this election.