By MARINA WATERS
Jason Greenlee was once just a Jonesborough kid running up and down Main Street. But now, he’s ready to take a step towards working for his hometown as a Jonesborough Alderman candidate.
“I’ve pretty much been raised here,” Greenlee said. “My first steps were running up and down Main Street with all the kids that ran downtown. Jonesborough is the center of the universe to me, always has been.”
Greenlee is a Jonesborough native who has worked for emergency medical services for 20 years, which he believes would help him understand those who work for the town.
“I think it will help me quite a bit with being able to talk to the people who are actually doing the job about what they need,” Greenlee said, “and how they can do their job better and more efficiently without some of the bureaucratic red tape.”
He also has deep roots in Jonesborough.
His grandmother is local business owner Joan Furches and his grandfather on the other side of his family is Alfred Greenlee, who retired as the Jonesborough Water Department Superintendent in 1989 and is still known as an integral part of Jonesborough’s integration history.
“My grandfather on the other side was Alfred Greenlee. The running joke was when they laid the first water line in Jonesborough, he was there laying it.”
“I didn’t get away with much in Jonesborough I guess I would say.”
For Greenlee, it’s been a lifelong goal to be an alderman. Now he’s ready to set an example for his kids on how to serve the community.
“I’ve tried to raise my kids to understand that if you love something, you have to participate in it,” Greenlee said. “You have to be part of its community and part of its growth. It’s kind of hard to preach that to my kids when I hadn’t stepped up and taken the time to do it myself. It was just time.”
Because of his experience as a first responder, Greenlee said one of his goals as an alderman is to bring public services “to the 21st century.”
“Just being around Jonesborough for so long, I do want to bring them up to 2020,” Greenlee said. “For example, they still write down their times when they work versus having a computer system. It’s just time to upgrade and bring everybody up to the 21st century with how the town’s run.”
He also said he wants to support the police, though he feels Jonesborough is a town that widely doesn’t see the issues the nation has regarding police brutality and rioters in many large cities.
“That’s one of the good things about Jonesborough,” Greenlee said. “We already (support the police.) The reason it’s not an issue to me — and I deal with Jonesborough’s police and fire all the time — is because I know the community. . . .Jonesborough’s Police Department is supported. We don’t have those issues. So to me I don’t see it as an issue here.”
He also feels that Jonesborough has it right when it comes to finding middle ground.
“I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat,” Greenlee said, “We can sit down and have a conversation. We don’t have to agree on it, but that’s the good thing about being human and American. We can still sit there and laugh and joke and put our ideas out there and see if we can come to a middle ground.
“We don’t have that issue in Jonesborough. That’s the good thing about Jonesborough. We seem to be able to sit down and talk about stuff versus trying to burn down a building.”
Greenlee says he isn’t a politician and wants to serve and represent the people above his own wants.
“I talk to everyone in town, especially when I’m out in a rescue truck,” Greenlee said.
“I’m just one of those people who would talk to a fencepost. I believe you should be doing what the community wants you to do versus my opinions and what I want to do.”
At the end of the day, Greenlee said his name will appear on the Nov. 3 election because he loves the town and he wants to represent and work for the place that he considers the best in the world.
“There is nowhere better than this little swatch of land in the world to me,” Greenlee said. “I will give 110% to make sure that it stays the best little swatch of land in the entire world. I believe in the town. I believe in the people and I believe we can remain the oldest town in Tennessee and still grow a little bit.”