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Our Thoughts: The future begins now
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When Newton County residents open The Covington News 20 years from now what will they see?

It could be a story about the expansion of the area’s multi sports complex to include virtual sports. It could be the opening of the country’s first self-driving automobile factory in the county’s mega site. It could be about the state’s highest rated school system right here in Newton County. Hey, it could even be about the state’s first police department in which every officer has a hover board.

The future is unknown.

That future, though, begins this week.

While what will happen the week of May 23, 2026 is a complete mystery, the week of May 23, 2016 is almost guaranteed to be a big one in the history of Newton County.

The future starts this week with one of the most anticipated local elections in recent history beginning in Tuesday’s primary.

While all of the officials who will be in office in Newton County in 2017 won’t be decided until November, much of the action of the 2016 election takes place during the primary election on May 24.

Newton County’s board of commissioners, which has seen strife the last few years due to tax increases, budget overages, landfill lawsuits, attorney’s fees and more, will see a turnover. Three members of the five-person board who vote on the policies of Newton County are up for election, and two of those seats are guaranteed to have new people in them.

Those decisions will be made Tuesday.

When voters head to the polls this week, they will decide who takes actions on the county’s future for at least the next four years. Many of those actions, such as decisions with the landfill, Newton County’s water resources, planning and zoning and budget decisions, will have effects far into the future.

Many of the issues facing Newton County, and driving many candidates’ election platforms, were issues decided on with ballots cast many election cycles ago.

Let’s not wait for the next set of problems to decide to vote. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity before us now and head to the polls. Let’s vote for the candidates who can build the future we want to see for Newton County.

That future will also be shaped by those students who are walking across the stage at Springfield Baptist Church later this week on Thursday through Saturday. That is when the Newton County School System’s Class of 2016 will graduate.
Some of these new graduates will leave Newton County and head to the college that best suits them, and some of the new graduates will go straight to the work force. Their schooling here has prepared them for both.

Either way, it is a time for them to seize the opportunity.

We encourage the Class of 2016 to not wait until they graduate college, not wait for other significant moments or life events. We encourage them to act as if the future is now. If our graduates make the most of each day and make the big decisions now, then the rest will fall into place.

The students who shift their tassels Thursday, Friday and Saturday could one day be the policy makers, educators, and business leaders of Newton County.

Thus, we begin shaping Newton County’s future this week.

Here’s to hoping today’s graduates and today’s elected officials work in their own ways (and possibly together) with an eye on Newton County tomorrow.