Haywood needs a voice that listens to the majority
The obstruction politics practiced by Rep. Michele Presnell, who represents a portion of Haywood, has derailed an initative that is significant and has broad implications for all county residents.
In the matter of the Lake Junaluska/Waynesville merger, Presnell, a Burnsville Republican, took it upon herself to become involved, despite the fact she doesn’t represent a soul in that district.
Earlier in the discussion, Presnell pledged to not oppose the annexation bill if the matter was put up for an election. That promise evaporated, however, once the provision was agreed to.
There is little question that after an open and exhaustive study of options, the majority of Lake Junaluskans favor annexation with Waynesville.
It is a pity Presnell chose to side with the minority. Let’s hope she will have a change of heart when the issue surfaces next May.
Both Sen. Jim Davis, a Republican, and Rep. Joe Sam Queen, a Democrat, both of whom do represent the district, have been working to get the annexation legislation passed. But as a member of the prevailing party in Raleigh, Presnell apparently has a voice, even if it’s used in a clueless way to represent her personal views.
A second issue where legislators failed to represent the majority in Haywood concerned the request to increase the county tourism development authority’s occupancy tax.
These funds would have generated a revenue to build ball parks, swimming pools or event destinations to give travelers a reason to come — and to stay -the night — in Haywood.
Presnell made it clear from the outset she was opposed to the idea, despite the widespread support it had from elected and business leaders.
Davis was prepared to move a bill forward until a minority of naysayers who had blinders on when it came to envisioning a better future for our county, became involved in the issue. The end result is that it went nowhere.
Those who supported the measure included not only the TDA, but the Haywood Councy Council on Government, which includes every elected county and municipal leader, and the organizations representing businesses in the county. If that is not enough support to convince our voices in Raleigh to lend a helping hand, there is obviously a problem.
The whole idea of “representative” government is to “represent.” That is a constitutional truth that was obviously lost on a portion of Haywood’s legislative delegation when it came to two burning issues in the county.