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Elected officials make their New Year’s resolutions

By Rebecca Rider

For the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY — At midnight Monday, most people were making New Year’s resolutions, including elected officials. Their goals for 2019 include the usual personal ones as well as big-picture objectives for Rowan County at large.

Regardless, officials said they intend to see them through.

County Commissioner Judy Klusman said her resolution is to work on improving job training in the county. For the past several years, the Board of Commissioners has worked hard to boost economic development, “and I think it needs to go to Phase 2,” Klusman said.

For her, that means partnering more with the school system to help children explore careers and learn skills earlier. But it also means working to help fix problems in children’s home life.

According to Klusman, many children in Rowan County live with daily trauma that severely affects their behavior, learning ability and future outcomes.

“I’m really hoping that we can get together in the next four years and discuss this issue of our children — because we need to go upstream,” she said.

Commissioner Craig Pierce said he doesn’t have any specific resolutions because he tries not to put things off.

“I really don’t wait till the new year to get a direction to follow or something to change,” Pierce said.

Especially not as a county commissioner.

“It’s constant; it never stops,” he said.

Pierce’s tentative goal for the new year is to help Rowan County further develop and improve its economy.

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education members had some strong resolutions — both personal and professional.

Vice Chairwoman Susan Cox said her goals for 2019 are to continue to develop the district’s renewal plan, which gives the system charter-like flexibility. She would also like to see the board solidify a plan to tackle capital needs. Currently, the board is weighing a proposal that could shutter nearly a dozen local schools.

Board member Jean Kennedy’s resolution is simple: “To make decisions that are strictly in the best interest of our students,” she said.

Dean Hunter said he’d like to work toward increasing community involvement in the schools.

“More specifically, parental involvement in what their children are doing in schools,” Hunter said.

He also has a few personal resolutions.

“My desire is to study scripture a lot more and to read a lot more in the new year,” he said.

Board Chairman Josh Wagner said his goals for 2019 are to read more and run more.

“I don’t read enough, and I’ve gotten out of the habit of running,” he said.

Salisbury City Councilman Brian Miller said he’s got a few small personal resolutions, including reading more and “practicing gratitude as a daily habit.”

Karen Alexander said she would like to continue to work on workforce and economic development in 2019.

“I really think that’s important,” she said.

Councilwoman Tamara Sheffield said she has a single resolution that she tries to renew every year.

“I have a sticky note in my office, and it just has two words on it. It just says, ‘Do better.’ … I just want to do better. I think we could all do better,” Sheffield said.

The elected officials quoted are those who returned calls by deadline.

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