Amos Stevens to work hard for county's youth

By Julie Fann
star staff

Amos Stevens, candidate for Carter County commissioner in the 2nd District, is concerned about the young people who live in the county's rural areas. If elected, he said he will build an environment that provides better educational resources and job opportunities that mold youth into adults who can compete in a complex society.
   "We've got to give the children of my district a chance to compete. If we don't have good quality schools, then good quality industries, they aren't coming in here. Having worked all these years with children, children are my number one concern," Stevens said.
   Stevens, a 1961 graduate of Hampton High School and an ETSU graduate, has worked for the Department of Children's Services for 37 years, a job that taught him that compromise is the best way to solve problems.
   "I've had to work with parents, and I think I would be good at working out solutions to problems the county has. I'm willing to listen to other points of view," he said.
   Hampton and Cloudland High Schools need to be rebuilt so that students living in the 2nd District receive the same benefits as those who live within the city limits, according to Stevens. "We need to deal with these two old high schools in some way," he said.
   As examples, Stevens mentioned the Unaka High School boys' basketball team and the Cloudland Lady Highlanders, who won their substate championships yet were forced to play their most important game at another gym because their own wasn't large enough.
   "I don't think we ought to let that happen again. These kids work hard and earn this and then don't even get to play the game at home," Stevens said.
   Stevens said the county has poorly recruited jobs that allow families to prosper and be healthy. In his office, he sees the results of poverty and believes Elizabethton needs an industrial recruiter. "We've got to hire a really well-qualified, enthusiastic, motivated recruiting agent, somebody who is really willing to work hard," Stevens said.
   A big concern for Stevens is the fact that many residents in his district don't have access to utility water, which he said is an abomination. "Here we are in the year 2002, and we can't get water. I've talked to all three commissioners in my district; I've talked to state legislators; I've talked to the county executive, and nothing's been done about it," Stevens said.
   Stevens illustrated his frustration by explaining how, during Christmas 2000, he had to haul water from the creek to his own home.