By ALLEN RAU
When Stephen Callahan was waiting for the results to return for the race for one of Jonesborough’s Alderman seats, he found the feeling quite unique.
“I was down at town hall waiting for them to post results on the door down there, and it was a cool experience, nerve-wracking. I’ve never done anything like this,” Callahan said, who competed with Virginia Causey and Charlie Moore for one of two open alderman positions.
Callahan won 1,344 votes at the Nov. 6 election, with Causey coming in second with 1,254, and Moore at third with 840.
“I’ve put myself out there a lot, but as far as this election goes,” Callahan reflected. “I’m surprised that we won but I’m glad we did. This is my first go at any (public office). It’s a great feeling to know that the community trusts you with their votes. I’m very excited to work with the other board members, people I’ve admired for a while now.
“And now I get to sit beside them and help push the town that I love so much hopefully to a prosperous future, and that’s the most special part about it.”
Speaking prior to the Monday night Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting, Callahan, proprietor of the downtown Tennessee Hills Distillery, shared some of his experiences so far and some hopes he had for the future.
“First and foremost, I want to get settled in and learn the lingo, so they say. One of the biggest things I want to do early on is try to get some type of initiative regarding an economic development board down here to hopefully, basically help people understand where we are now and where we can go as long as we make the right decisions.
“We can look at some of the other towns that are flourishing right now, because there are some towns that are around us right now that are doing very well … we also need to take note on how they’re doing things and try to figure out where we can do it better. And I think Jonesborough is in a great position right now, with the board they have and I’m excited because Jonesborough chose me to lead the community.”
Callahan added that he hoped his youth would draw other young voices forward.
“A lot of people coin this town as an old town, being stuck in our old ways. For me to be able to come in and kind of capture not only the young audience, but I captured some of the elderly audience as well, there’s something to be said for that.
“And to be able to be the sounding board for the younger generation, you know, I’ve been out and I’ve experienced some other communities and some other cities and I’ve got great ideas. It’s kind of cool to be the spokesman for my generation here in Jonesborough, which still surprises me.”
While Callahan won’t be sworn in until December 12, he said some current board members have been in contact.
“Nobody’s really tried to pull me one way or another. Everyone knows I’m kind of my own man in that regard. But a lot of them have reached out to congratulate me and I think a lot of them are excited to see that I was the winner of the election and I think they have actually seen me in this room, with some of the things I’ve done with my business and I think they see how it’s impacted the community. Which is a great feeling.”
Callahan has yet to make an impact on the new BMA, but urged anyone who wished to get in touch with him.
“I’ve always got an open door policy. It’s not very hard to find me, pretty much seven days a week. If people want to call me, they can leave a message and we’ll schedule an appointment, and I’ll be glad to sit down with anybody.”