As a prelude to Nick's first guest column at NA Confidential (let's hope there are others), read about his non-profit venture.
A BRIGHTER FUTURE: BrightNA seeks to help break the poverty cycle, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)
NEW ALBANY — Community Montessori High School senior Nick Vaughn narrowly lost in the May New Albany City Council District 6 Republican Party primary. He had a plan to start a work program to benefit disadvantaged residents, and though it won't be implemented yet in a governmental platform, Vaughn has launched a nonprofit aimed at ushering low-income families out of poverty.
It's been a pleasure to get to know Nick these past few months. Here is his submission, and we thank him for it.
Vaughn: We all want New Albany to succeed.
Now that this election season is over and the dust has settled, it is time to analyze the outcomes and results, and also look to what should happen in these next four years.
I am not writing this to make a partisan stand against anyone, I am frankly tired of partisanship, locally, statewide, and nationally. Instead, I intend this to be an honest analysis of the issues facing New Albany and what needs to be done about them. I am not advocating for a Republican way to do things or a Democratic way to do things, neither left nor right. I am only advocating for the correct way to do things.
First, we must realize that there are only two options: up or down. We can continue down this path of spending, or our elected officials can take the morally correct action and begin to pay down our enormous debt, cut back on non-essential spending, and begin to make up for the crippling amount of job loss incurred with Sonoco and Pillsbury (among others) leaving New Albany and laying off hundreds.
Is the current budget balanced? Yes, but at the cost of the people. The budget has increased by 58% over the past four years mainly due to the gross amount of bonded debt our city is incurring.
Is our financial rating an A+? Yes, but that’s not our ceiling. An A+ financial rating would be a good thing in most cities, if it wasn’t a degradation. To explain, financial ratings are based on the creditworthiness of a business, city, etc. and its likelihood to default. Our rating has gone down because our creditworthiness has decreased due to the amount of bonded debt we have incurred.
Next, poverty. Never has there been a more pressing issue facing our city or our nation. Poverty is a terrible burden set on individuals, and unfortunately our current way of addressing this issue creates a cycle of poverty. Because our city officials have not even begun to address the issue of poverty, nearly 25% of our citizens go to sleep hungry at night with no hope of that changing anytime soon.
That being said, things can change. I am officially extending my helping hand, if wanted, to our Mayor. My non-profit BrightNA could be a big help to our city if given the proper amount of support.
Finally, being humble in defeat is one thing, being humble in victory is another. The results have been tallied and the victors announced. We are all in this together now so it is no time to be vindictive or hamper progress due to petty political issues.
We might be of different political parties, but we all want the same goal: we want New Albany to succeed. Now more than ever, we need New Albany to succeed. With all of the progress and business development in Jeffersonville, we need leaders who can unite a city and bring us forward.
We are at a crossroads, we can either capitalize on the unique aspects of our city, or we will be left behind by our ever expanding neighbor.