Our Thoughts: Business leaders should be involved

Rather than going gracefully into retirement from political life, Covington City Councilman Chris Smith is bitter about the circumstances of his loss Tuesday to Susie Keck.

In response to a question from The News, Smith said a group of citizens conspired to support Keck — specifically the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s director, Ralph Staffins, denied this claim. The chamber officially takes no role in elections, especially those involving specific candidates.

But Smith had particular disdain for the chamber’s board chairman, Jeff Wagner, who acknowledged his personal support for Keck. Smith said Wagner “openly worked against me” during the campaign.

To which we say, so?

A city will only grow if the people who populate it decide to take an interest in good government. And if the leaders — elected and otherwise — don’t take charge in that interest, who will?

And being chairman of the chamber’s board doesn’t disqualify someone from having political interests. In fact, it makes it more important for the person to have a stake in the future of the city and county.

Smith raised another interesting point, charging that a “‘new’ Covington” is trying to change things and push an agenda. We can’t speak to a specific agenda, but the results of the race from Post 1 in the East Ward make it clear there is change afoot. And, more than one town has died because its leaders failed to adapt to the “new” way of doing things.

We appreciate Smith’s service over eight years on the City Council. He is rightly proud of work to lower taxes and improve public safety in Covington, and of running a successful business. But his threat to “remove these ‘outsiders’ that have, and are trying to take over my town” is ominous, unbecoming and frankly creepy.

A better course would be to consider lessons learned by Keck’s landslide victory and work with those who are leading the way to set the course for Covington’s future.

Our Thoughts is the view of The Covington News’ editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher David Clemons and Managing Editor Jackie Gutknecht.