Treadway: Education plays a big part in county's future

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   Education and experience are two of Jeff Treadway's strong suits in his bid for 7th District commissioner. Treadway holds a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's in management, owns a small business, and has worked at Vesuvius U.S.A. in Unicoi County for the last nine years.
   Eight of those years Treadway has also been a member of the Carter County Commission, serving on most of the committees. "I feel like I'm pretty familiar with the issues and the ways to address them," he said.
   Treadway believes schools are the No. 1 issue for Carter County. "I'm not happy with the fact that we have the lowest average salary in Northeast Tennessee. I'd like to see our test scores higher. We lose the teachers, we lose the experience. Like everybody, I want industry. We need jobs. But if we don't educate our people, they can't even leave here and get a job," he said.
   For Treadway, countywide zoning is a no-brainer. "Most of the people in the county would be in agricultural districts and there would be very minimal impacts on them. There are some things that don't make us look attractive to industry. When we're squabbling in the paper and in public settings about zoning, that doesn't make us look very progressive," he said. "I personally don't see any negatives for zoning. It's a positive all the way around," he said.
   Though Treadway said he doesn't have a crystal ball, he believes hiring a county finance director is a positive move. Currently, the courthouse has its own bookkeeping, the highway department has its own accounting and purchasing, and the schools have their own, he said. "If you centralize that, you should have economy of scale," he said, such as what is happening in private industry. "If private industry is doing it, I think our government should take a look at it also."
   Treadway believes that having a regional water authority will help with industrial recruitment. "Water plays an important part in the process. We're also blessed with relatively inexpensive electricity," another thing in our favor, he said.
   "Transportation, too, ties with industry. You've got to have access to the major transportation arteries," he said. "Our county also needs to be progressive with providing land that could be developed for industrial use."
   Another tie-in is education, he said. "Most companies, these days, are looking for people that are able to hold those technical jobs, the higher-paying jobs. For the most part, we've got good work ethics. Companies are in business to make money. They've got to have people that are productive, and we've got to make sure we don't lose that," he said.
   Treadway believes the county needs people "that have the interest of the county at heart, who can manage an enterprise the size of county government." Their qualifications, ability to understand the issues and to think long term is something voters should look at, he said, not just their personality.