Viewpoint: Does voting really matter? An outline for elections, business parks and…food trucks?

And they’re off.

Early voting for the May primary is underway and the anticipation – already – is just killing me. Who will win? How much money will be spent? Will my predictions hold true?

Politics – especially and most particularly on the local level – has always been a favorite topic of mine, despite the fact that I’m probably the last person you’ll find in the deep throws of a heated diplomatic discussion. Having covered city and county government for years, I got to see my representatives working first hand. Sure, it was my job, something I was paid to do, but I also walked away much more knowledgeable. I knew how’d they vote. I knew what they’d say. Almost to the “T.” Scary. I could tell you the good ones from the bads.

But now? Now that I’m more engrossed with the business community’s 9-5…not so much. It’s like I’m an ordinary citizen. I have to vote more on stump speeches and campaign promises than actual meeting notes and first-hand experiences. As much as I’d love to make the rounds once more at the nightly city council and county commission meetings that used to consume my life, I’m just not ready. That’s what six years in the trenches will do, I guess.

So, I know that it’s probably hypocritical to point a finger and say, “Do your research!” “Meet the candidates!” or “Don’t just vote for so- and-so because their mom’s aunt’s sister went to church with you!” I could go on.

But, seriously, we spend more time Googling the best cell phones, dog food or ways to cook a chicken than we do getting to know the people in office meant to represent us. Short of getting all Susan B. Anthony-like, at least think about it. Do your homework.

Switching gears

I get asked a lot of questions when I make my rounds in the region, and one in particular that has surfaced more often than not in recent weeks is regarding the Highlands Business Park. More specifically, when is that gosh-darned thing going to be finished?

Well, keep asking. I’m assuming that after having so many deadlines come and gone, the city is a little gun-shy about giving another target completion date – but sewer is still seemingly the biggest culprit.

But that’s not to say the park’s at a stand still. Marketing has been ongoing, and more recently, Putnam County and the City of Cookeville were honored with a Rebuild Tennessee award from the Tennessee Development District Association.

So how about that. The park’s not even officially open and it’s already receiving an award – hopefully that’s a good sign for things to come

And lastly, onto lighter fare – pun intended…

I was excited to write about food trucks this month after having experienced their splendor in other cities. I am so used to the tried and true in the Cookeville restaurant scene that I’ll even admit, this is an option that I sometimes overlook.

I’ll also admit that I had some not- so-nice connotations about the quality of food, but I’ll be the first to admit (again) that I have been proven wrong. Try them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Liz Engel Clark is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at

Liz Engel is the editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal. She can be reached at

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