Archived Story

Commission candidates respond to Bulletin questions

Published 9:53am Friday, October 26, 2012

What is your overall vision for Polk County and please list your top three priorities and how you will accomplish these priorities?
EMILY BARTLETT:

My vision for Polk County is to see a thriving local economy that provides jobs, adds local revenue to relieve some of the pressure on our residents by spreading the tax burden, makes money for our local business owners, attracts young people back home and has a soft impact on the look and feel of our community.

One of the pillars of a strong economy is the continuing education piece. We need an institution, perhaps an increased presence from Isothermal Community College, in a single location, that combines the best of what our ag center, our Chamber of Commerce and our economic and tourism development offices have to provide to the entrepreneur and the existing businesses in our area, a place where business owners can get a loan, a grant, help with marketing, a place to manufacture and add value to raw materials, a one-stop-shop as it were.

In Polk County we are broken up into multiple entities, so perhaps it is just a matter of changing how we go about business and creating partnerships that eliminate duplication of services and work towards a single county-side goal, not to eliminate the great jobs these departments are doing, but to build and enhance those services.

A combined “job-shop” could serve not only those folks who are transitioning into another area of work, but our high school seniors coming into the workplace. It would require some creativity in combining multiple funding sources and perhaps multiple governmental agencies.

I would like to see Polk County actively seek out an additional institution of higher learning, one that fits with our agricultural and equine needs, our art and non profit needs that promotes our quality of life and the assets we already have in place. I would like to see our county, which in many ways is an isolated bedroom community to Greenville, Asheville/Hendersonville and Spartanburg, work towards creating a local economy that is self-sufficient.

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