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Wolfe, Countermine look to another term

An early morning meeting is nothing new for Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe or Vice Mayor Terry Countermine. But as the duo gathered recently for a pre-breakfast get-together at Town Hall to discuss their upcoming re-elections, the mood was decidedly light-hearted.
Re-election, it seems, at least in this town and onto this board, suits Wolfe and Countermine to a T.
“It’s a blessing, in a sense,” said Wolfe, who like Countermine, is running unopposed in November’s election. “But it’s definitely something we do not want to take for granted.”
This will be Wolfe’s third term as mayor. Countermine, on the board since 2000, is looking at his fourth term.
Both admit that serving the town in their current capacities involves a great deal of work and occasional bouts of worry. The vice mayor was, in fact, thinking of retiring from the board this year.
But one look at the upcoming board ­— as well as the legions of town personnel standing behind it — was enough to make Countermine change his mind, and Wolfe to throw his hat into the ring once more.
“Part of my decision, honestly, was hearing that Kelly was going to run again,” Countermine said. “I think we have a really good team and good things are happening in Jonesborough. It sounds like a cliché, but I honestly look forward to coming to meetings and working to make this a better town.”
Wolfe agrees.
“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “We have a wonderful team that brings such a collection of differing talents and energies to the town And we have been consistently getting things done.”
Completed projects — something less commonly seen in Jonesborough’s past — are a key part of the energy that keeps Countermine and Wolfe enthusiastic.
“I want to see us continue to complete projects,” Wolfe said. “Poor follow-through, often with the best intentions, has dogged our past.”
Neither man wants it to be part of their future.
Upcoming projects include the beginning and completion of a new Jonesborough senior center; completion of the McKinney Center for the Arts and the implementation of all its upcoming events and classes; and completion of the downtown construction project, which, though almost nightmarish at times during its implementation, now offers a new dawn for downtown businesses.
And don’t forget maintenance and improvements to the town’s infrastructure, a responsibility that may lack glamour but often has the greatest impact on the health and well-being of a town, according to Countermine.
“Keeping the infrastructure intact — water, sewer — is crucial,” he said. “People don’t realize the importance of that.”
The town’s new wastewater treatment plant, now under way, will go a long way in continuing to protect Jonesborough’s quality of life, Countermine added.
While the strong team and ongoing projects are pleasing to the two incumbents, they are not the primary reasons for sticking with the political offices they hold.
For both men, it continues to be the people of the town that drive them forward.
“This really is a community, in the best sense of the word,” Countermine said.
Volunteers have always been a strong part of Jonesborough’s ability to make things work. And input from town residents provides a vital component for town direction and decision making, Countermine noted.
Because of that fact, Wolfe and Countermine strongly encourage Jonesborough residents to get involved with town government.
“I encourage them to come to the meetings,” Countermine said. “Learn about the big projects and needs as well as the little ones.”
And continue to voice your support, as well as concerns and questions, as Jonesborough’s BMA strives to keep the town one of the best in the nation, Wolfe added.
“We want continued buy-in and widespread support for our many projects, like we have seen in the past. We need that input to operate at our best,” he said. “If you place value on any of the attributes of Jonesborough, you will continue to let your voices be heard.”
Finally, Wolfe and Countermine urge town residents to get out and vote in the Nov. 6 election.
“It’s a democracy,” Countermine said. “We should vote every chance we can.”
And while these two candidates may be running unopposed, they still wouldn’t mind receiving at least a few votes.
“Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to just get three votes?” Countermine asked, turning to his running mate.
“I’ll vote for you and you can vote for me,” Wolfe promised.
— Lisa Whaley is a free-lance writer contracted by the Town of Jonesborough to write “Talk of the Town.” Have a suggestion for a topic for the column? Call Town Hall at 753-1031 or e-mail [email protected]