Jackson believes new choices can take county in new, successful directions

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   A little common sense and a return to Christian values could do wonders for operation of the county and federal government, according to Ernest K. Jackson.
   "It is time for some younger Christian people to stand up and say 'I want to help this county,'" said Jackson, 35, of Elizabethton, who is running for a Carter County Commission seat in the 6th District.
   Jackson said a younger generation of Carter Countians would certainly bring new ideas to the county.
   "I've heard from so many people in my district and all across the county, that they just don't have a choice when they go to the polls," said Jackson. "Also, we are facing a lot of situations our county, state and nation have never faced before."
   Jackson was referring to the events of Sept. 11, but added that the county had faced many problems -- primarily economic -- before last year's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
   "You can't blame everything on Sept. 11," he said.
   In his campaign announcement, Jackson said "Our county is heading in a wrong direction. We need to take back our communities from the 'political bosses' and 'poli-tricksters' who only seek to serve themselves and not the people."
   Improving the county's infrastructure would be an important step to "sell industries on Carter County."
   "The (Watauga) Regional Water project is a good project that should've been done 20 years ago," he said. "Then, it would've been cheaper and we would've already had it in place before we waited until we were running short of water."
   The 6th District does not fall under the countywide zoning standards, primarily because residents of the district oppose it, said Jackson.
   "I am for flood zoning regulation, that is very important, but as far as countywide zoning, that goes to putting restrictions on use of private property," said Jackson. "I have a problem with restricting people's property use.
   "With junkyards, that really needs to be regulated. People don't want junkyards in their back doors," he added. "Sometimes, the planning stuff you see makes you wonder if it is right for the whole county."
   Jackson said the next county executive needed to exercise "common sense and prayer" in leading the county. He also said he supported the selection of a county financial director if the county could fund the position.
   A graduate of Hampton High School, Jackson attended East Tennessee State University and is married to Cathy Jackson. The couple have one son and are also foster parents.
   He is employed at WEMT-TV television station as a computer technician and programming assistant. He began his broadcasting career at WBEJ in Elizabethton as new director and spent 12 years at WJHL-TV as master control room operator.
   "I know people say often 'why doesn't the (commission) do that?"' said Jackson. "I say, go tell them that and if they won't do it tell them you're going to run against them and do it."