We do well when we help ourselves

Published 2:23 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2003

By By BILL CRIST - Managing Editor
April 15, income tax due date, has come and gone for another year. For many of us, that single day creates panic and stress in our lives unlike what we face much of the rest of the year. It is also the most contact that many of us will have with our federal government on any level. Limited government involvement in our day-to-day lives; that's the role many people envision for those we elect.
United States Senator Richard Shelby is one of those people.
While visiting Escambia County on his annual tour of the state, Shelby commented about how happy he had been to assist the City of Atmore attain grant funding to help pay for access roads to and around its new industrial park.
For Shelby, and for many of us, government has a role to play in funding infrastructure improvements, providing for a national defense and foreign policy strategies, plus a few more important roles, but not necessarily in dictating how our local governments, businesses and individuals operate on a day-to-day basis. Some attach the limited government movement to the Republican Party. Regardless of party affiliation, though, it's becoming clear as our state grapples with its current problems, that some form of home rule is a good thing, on both a state and national level. There can be little doubt that local politicians and leaders have a better sense of what will and won't work in a community, and can best decide how to allocate the resources within that community.
Aside from economic and infrastructure development, Shelby went on to say that he works hard to help those who help themselves. Brewton has been the beneficiary of Shelby's policy, the result of our local leaders working hard to identify a problem and committing to resolve it. Some problems, like the flooding of downtown, are too large a project to take on alone, and that's where the federal government can play a role. By demonstrating a proactive, get-it-done attitude, we have received federal funds to help finance a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will propose how to keep the flood waters out of the downtown historic and industrial districts.
Although not tied directly to Shelby, Brewton's inclusion as one of eight pilot cities in the Alabama Communities of Excellence (ACE) program is another example of good things happening to those who help themselves. By being selected as part of the program, Brewton can expect to receive help developing a comprehensive strategic plan to help recruit business to the area and create jobs.
As Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings pointed out, our city was in the process of working on development plans on different levels, but not as a single, cohesive unit. The ACE program is supported by a variety of private-sector businesses, as well as several government-supported agencies. It is another example of the role government can play in local planning and growth.
When it comes to earning the rewards of hard work, and the privilege of dictating your own terms, Brewton and Atmore, as municipalities, have done well for themselves. On a personal level, many of us can look at people in our community and see the same type of results. Employees who give there all in the workplace and earn promotions and students who spend hours studying to earn scholarships at the college or university of their choice are just two examples of people helping themselves. They set an example that our communities and citizens would do well to follow.
be contacted via email at bill.crist@brewtonstandard.com

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