Siegelman visit shows emphasis on key issue

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, May 15, 2002

By Staff
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We were excited to see the Gov. Don Siegelman paid a visit to Escambia County last week to analyze the business climate of a neighbor as close as Brewton. Certainly, people who live in Atmore work in Brewton and vice versa. The point, as far as jobs go, is that we are a mobile society and 30-mile commutes are part of the world we live in.
Still, despite the Governor giving the county some positive attention, we were a little disappointed that he didn't visit Atmore. With a higher jobless rate on this end of the county and with four-lane access to Interstate 65 and our proximity to coastal markets, we believe Atmore has a lot going for in when it comes to industrial recruitment. And if there is a need to look at the differences between this east and west ends of Escambia County, we simply have more people.
All of these make sense as potential factors in making our market strong and properly positioned for growth. Consider other communities nearby in Escambia, Monroe and Conecuh counties. Other than Evergreen with its location on the interstate, no other community has the infrastructure in place we have here. No other community has the available labor force.
Despite his feet not landing in Atmore, we are still pleased the Governor sees the importance of recruitment of jobs to South Alabama. Despite any of his weaknesses, we think he has properly recognized the needs we have in this area and he has seen through the recruitment of car manufacturers to Alabama the enormous potential we have here. In essence, getting Hyundai and Honda has proven, if nothing else, that anything is possible.
In order to tap into the potential, though, we have to keep working and moving forward.
As we look to the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan and the ongoing race among Democratic and Republican candidates, we can help put a renewed emphasis on our situation here. Atmore is not alone in South Alabama in needing jobs and industry. Monroeville has experienced problems and Greenville is coming off the loss of hundreds of garment jobs a few short years back.
Getting our Governor and these candidates to realize our plight and to commit to doing something about it will be one part of the ongoing local effort to improve industrial conditions here and to put more people back to work.
There is no single issue as important as this to our community.
Our local leaders continue to work toward the development of a "strategic plan" and this plan will make all the difference in our collective future. This will be the guide which we will turn to as we put together our game plan. This our film footage that tells us what our strengths and weaknesses are, that tells us where we need to focus our work and what parts of our game are likely to work for us.
Get involved in this plan. Vote in the upcoming election for the leader who will represent us on a national level and who can make the difference here. Write the governor and encourage him to come visit. Any of these things could bring jobs to our community.
Anything is possible and one person's time and hard work can make all the difference between future prosperity and stagnation.

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