It All Runs Down (Capitol) Hill
Growing up, what was your greatest responsibility?
- Taking out the trash?
- Washing dishes?
- Feeding the family dog?
Presumably, it is safe to say the responsibilities were minimal. And, if you did not get around to it, someone else most likely would. Majority of folks had a solid safety net – when things got out of hand, our parents and/or adult figures were always there to help clean up the messes.
But, in our modern lives, who cleans up the messes?
With a presidential election approaching, we hear candidates going to great length to discuss the many things they can do for our country – the ways they can make our lives better through governmental power.
After spending time in Tallahassee during Seminar II, we heard very similar messages at the state level. Capitol Hill is filled with platforms, policies (and politics!) that help to shape Florida’s socio-economic and geo-political landscape.
But national and state figures are not the catch-all when it comes to resolution. Seminar II’s community and local commerce visits, which followed our Tallahassee tour, made something abundantly clear – the responsibility still runs down (capitol) hill.
Here are just some of the “messes” we encountered:
- a deflated economy in the town of Quincy
- a town’s tourism industry decimated by oil spill scare and hurricanes in Apalachicola
- an oyster industry essentially razed after overharvest following the BP oil spill
- the unincorporated town of Panacea taking a staggering blow by Hurricane Michael
- domestic and substance-related issues in the Wakulla County court system
Does it sound bleak? It very well could have been.
Had the “messes” been left to greater powers at be or, perhaps, just left alone to sort themselves out, this would be a morbid tale.
Instead, it is a story of empowerment and encouragement.
- In Quincy, we witnessed the economic growth and development brought to town by local nurserymen who joined forces and established Trulieve – a local cannabis operation.
- In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the Apalachicola community prepared their town for their local seafood festival. Defying the odds, it was held mere weeks after the storm and signaled the town was back open for business.
- We learned about the rebirth of an oyster industry that should be all but non-existent if not for local efforts to implement aquaculture and oyster farming practices.
- We heard heartwarming stories from business owners and citizens in Panacea about how, despite being an unincorporated town, the locals joined forces and worked to restore the community following Hurricane Michael.
- Our tours ended with a caring message from the Wakulla County Judge, who made it her personal mission to help the struggling members of her area as they found themselves in her court system.
And these are mere highlights. Each of our visits was riddled with proud community members and leaders, who shared stories and wisdom that reflected the fortitude of the “Forgotten Coast.”
It was both encouraging and inspiring.
And please allow me to clarify – this article, in no way, detracts from the roles of state and national officials. There is a true need for good, strong individuals serving in these capacities and our industry truly needs more representation at these levels. However, not all of us will find ourselves in the political arena.
But, while that may be true, each one of us has a role to play in our counties and communities.
So, spend a few moments reflecting on: your community, your business, your home.
What sort of messes do you see? Who will clean them up?
It might need to be you.