As a newcomer to East Ridge politics, I began my run for East Ridge City Council by researching the history of East Ridge. I discovered that the founders of East Ridge signed the City Charter in 1921 so that they could bring electric lights to its residents, ushering East Ridge into the 20th century. Located on the East Ridge City flag is the phrase “Pioneers of Progress,” an homage to that spirit of progress at the city’s founding.
But who are the New “Pioneers of Progress” that reside in East Ridge, and what are they doing to bring East Ridge into the 21st Century?
Perhaps Mayor Brian Williams, who seems to have made good on his promise to help bring new businesses to East Ridge, will be considered a New Pioneer. Economic progress will surely need to be a part of the New Pioneer spirit but is Exit 1 the last bastion of economic progress for the city, or is there a chance the Multimodal Grant given to East Ridge back in 2015 can help breathe life into the west side of town? Maybe the New Pioneers will be the ones who will work with Mayor Williams to resolve these questions and save the degrading west side of town.
Since the campaign began, I have been getting more involved in the community and I have had the pleasure of meeting many people who care deeply about this city. However, there is a distinct lack of young people involved civically. Will the New Pioneers be an example for the younger generations and show them that caring for your fellow citizen is going to be the hallmark in the 21st century East Ridge? I sure hope it is because we have an uncertain future on the horizon, and the New Pioneers will need to be ready to help guide the city through the rough times we face as a nation.
With the 2020 election less than a hundred days away, I will be channeling my own pioneering spirit, and I will go door to door and meet with the citizens of East Ridge. While it isn’t clear who the New Pioneers of Progress are, I think the citizens of East Ridge will know it when they see it.
_ David Tyler