By MARINA WATERS
For Chuck Vest, the newly elected Jonesborough mayor and Washington County native, election day was a dream come true.
Vest has been the mayor for the past nine months after being appointed to the position in March of 2018 following Kelly Wolfe’s resignation from the position. But for Vest, being elected the mayor of the town in which he grew up is a huge honor.
“Being someone who grew up in Jonesborough, it’s a privilege to represent the Town of Jonesborough and represent people that I grew up knowing,” Vest said. “We’ve got some important things happening in the next two years. For myself, a local product of Jonesborough, to be able to get some of these things completed that will impact the town for the next 25, 30 years or longer, that’s just a good feeling.”
Now that Vest’s been officially elected as mayor, he’s looking to the future, especially where experienced town employees are concerned. Vest said his top goal as mayor is to create a succession plan for the town of Jonesborough.
“One of the things I want to make sure we do within the next six months is develop some type of succession plan for the leadership of our town staff,” Vest said. “We have a lot of great staff members there in Jonesborough, but many of them are nearing retirement. We just want to make sure that when we do have retirements, we have people in line ready to step up and take their place and for the town to continue on just as it is today.”
When it comes to the future of the town, Vest said he’s most excited to see the Jackson Theatre project completed. The mayor also said he felt that downtown will be adding more than just a theatre in the years to come and that he expects to see new businesses moving into downtown Jonesborough, ready to call Tennessee’s oldest town home.
“I would say the Jackson Theatre, once that’s completed in the next year or more, that’s something that could impact the town for the next many, many, many years,” Vest said. “I’m excited about that. There’s a lot of focus on getting the Jackson done. That will solidify that environment downtown.”
Apart from overseeing town progress, working with the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen is another focus for Vest. The board will see returning member Virginia Causey and newly elected member Stephen Callahan added to the BMA. Vest said he feels confident in the group and the decisions they will make up ahead.
“We’ve got four good aldermen that have some great ideas. I want to make sure we continue to hear them voice their opinions and help move the town forward. It’s good group,” Vest said. “They’re definitely capable. We all get along really well.”
Above all, the Jonesborough mayor said he wants to make sure to focus on working towards two goals throughout the years to come: being a good steward of taxpayer dollars and taking good care of town employees.
“There’s nothing more important than making sure we’re good stewards of the taxpayers money because none of this can be accomplished unless we’re really prudent on how we spend the tax dollars,” Vest said. “We’ve gotta make sure we take care of the town staff because a lot of these things we talk about doing take our staff getting these results. We just need to manage our money well and take care of our staff so they can accomplish these projects. That’s going to be our goal.”