Bowers wants to stop migration from county

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   Tom "Yogi" Bowers has never held public office -- something he sees as a plus as he seeks a seat on the county commission in the 4th District because he has "no close ties to anyone serving on the county court at this time.
   "I believe that the people of the 4th District don't want to vote for someone who has just been going along with the crowd and been a part of the 'Good Old Boy' system for years," Bowers said.
   "I also don't necessarily believe that 'I know what is best for Carter County,' as some promote themselves. I have my own ideas but I will listen to the people of the 4th District and my vote will reflect their will, not just my own," he said.
   Bowers, code enforcement officer for the City of Elizabethton, said he feels the question of zoning is a "hot potato," however, he can understand both sides of the issue.
   "Zoning cuts with a double edge. 'This is America and people have rights!' I hear this every day, and it's true. You have to be willing to protect people's rights to do what they want to with their own property, and at the same time protect their neighbor's rights not to be harmed by the actions of others.
   "It may be better to have county ordinances to regulate junk, trash, pollution and health hazards, and have the teeth to enforce them, than to have blanket zoning throughout the county," he said, promising that his vote will go with the majority opinion of citizens in his district.
   Bowers said hiring a financial director seems like a good move, however, he believes a 'Finance/Purchasing Director' combination would be more economical and would centralize the function. "Handling the money for every county office is a great responsibility and would relieve the county executive of this burden. The county executive would then be free to actively 'court' industrial representatives. This is an activity which is not currently being aggressively pursued," he said.
   Bowers believes the county should aggressively pursue not only nationally based industry, but also internationally based industry in order to create jobs. "Our young people grow up here, they go to school here, they have families here. Why in the wide world of sports can they not get a job and work here? I say it is our own fault.
   "Let's stop the migration from Carter County and work to give people a reason to stay in Carter County," he said.