By LISA WHALEY
The word “quit” may not be a part of Jonesborough alderman candidate Charlie Moore’s vocabulary.
“My wife recently said to me, ‘You told me being married to you was going to be an adventure. You weren’t kidding, were you?” Moore said with a grin.
Moore, who is known for providing an ongoing stream of jokes and funny stories, has already served the town as alderman — both in from 1994 to 1996 and then from 2000 to 2002 — and was defeated in the 2016 Jonesborough mayor’s race where he competed against then-incumbent Kelly Wolfe.
But as this election approached, he know it was time to run again — this time for one of the two aldermen seats now open. Moore will be competing against Virginia Causey and Stephen Callahan.
“I wanted to get back on the board,” he explained his decision. “I loved, absolutely loved, being part of the decision-making process for the town.
“The town has grown so much. We’ve got so many new people in town. But they came to Jonesborough, from what they told me, because of its hometown feel.”
That, Moore said, is what he is convinced he can bring to the table.
Born in Johnson City and having spent much of his childhood in Jonesborough, Moore believes his commitment to the town is as deep as his roots.
“The fact that I live in my great-grandma’s house (on Woodrow Avenue) I think that says a lot,” Moore said. “I’ve had my chances to sell and to move but I don’t want to.”
His memories of town are, in fact, what drives Moore today. One particular story the candidate likes to tell is of a Jonesborough Days festival when he was about 9 or 10 years old.
“I’m pretty sure Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins were there,” he recalled. “Behind the Courthouse was greased pole with a $50 bill on top and anybody that could climb it could get the $50.
“I did not get to the top.”
But he also remembers great music, a vibrant town atmospher and a collection of old-time politicians from Bill Brock and Howard Baker to Jimmy Quillen.
“Since then there has never been, in my opinion, another Jonesborough Days like it,” Moore said. “It was a good celebration. I miss it. I want it to come back.”
And he has plans to make that happen.
“I have a good, good gut feeling people would love to see it back to what it was,” Moore said. “I think it would bring people into Jonesborough. If they come into town, they are going to spend money. (We need) to be good to the vendors. Bring them in with open arms. Let them set up for free (during festivals.)”
Moore said he understands that things cost money, but he also believes the town has ignored the importance of festivals like Jonesborough Days for too long.
The core of the problem, he said, is the lack of communication between the town and the vendors, and even its citizens.
“There are people in town who think the only place they need to put money is the two blocks of Main Street,” he said. “Jonesborough is bigger than two blocks of Main Street. It goes out farther.”
The town needs more sidewalks, he stresses. The walking trail is a great start, but there needs to be more.
“People want to get out,” Moore said. “And not everybody wants to go out on the walking trail.”
As for shop owners throughout Jonesborough, Moore is counting on more teamwork between Town Hall and retailers to make the difference.
“I have been told there is very little communication between town hall and store owners,” he said. “And there doesn’t seem to be a lot of positive communication between the store owners and town hall.”
He also doesn’t believe the current Jonesborough Area Merchants and Service Association is helping the situation.
“I’ve been told, for want of a better word, that it’s a joke,” Moore said, adding that such comments are just part of the negative feedback he has heard from merchants. By making sure to include these merchants in decisions — even taking the time to ask their ideas and suggestions — Moore in confident he and the others on the town’s BMA can help Jonesborough continue to grow.
And it is destined to grow, he added.
“There is 10 to one people moving into Jonesborough as are to Johnson City. But they are asking for more things in Jonesborough,” Moore said. “There are asking for a nice restaurant. They’re asking for longer hours in the stores downtown. These are what the people are telling me.”
They want that hometown feel, he said. And he is committed to achieving it.