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Heady: Mayors Conference About Education And Networking

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Heady: Mayors Conference About Education And Networking

Last week’s County Mayors Conference in Murfreesboro gave Upper Cumberland mayors updates on T-DOT’s increased road spending, reappraisal and how changes in the state education funding will impact county budgets.

Jackson County Mayor Randy Heady said sometimes constituents do not understand why the elected official is out of the office for several days. But Heady said the networking and education is invaluable.

“It helps you be a better representation for your county just because you’re collectively working together and networking,” Heady said. “I’ve called other county mayors, not just in Upper Cumberland. I’ve called east Tennessee county mayors and east County mayors and said, ‘hey, you said this at the conference, well, give me a little more information about that.’ That may be something I need to do here that helps my county. So I know that other county mayors have called me.”

Heady said that time with other mayors may open your eyes to similar problems and different solutions being used elsewhere.

“Sitting down and just talking about those issues, talking about how this county is handling compared to your county,” Heady said. “And when you’re doing that in a group setting and we get those opportunities throughout the conference to have those group settings and conversations, that’s where it’s really informative and it really helps build a bond and a trust, and it’s invaluable. I’ll just tell you, there’s no price you can put on that kind of information and networking.”

At least nine of the Upper Cumberland’s county mayors attended the event. Heady said that group already works well together, but conference events like this showcase that regionwide approach.

“We have more power if we’re together. And what I say with that more leverage. When it comes down to going down to the state and leveraging with our state partners, whether it be our house or our senate or even the governor’s office, the stronger we are. And the more we’re on the same page, we’ll have a little more leverage in going down and lobbying for things that we think that help the upper Cumberland area.

Heady said some of the discussion centered on the association’s legislative platform for the 2024 session which begins in January. Overall, Heady said the event did not showcase any major issues that need to be addressed.

The Association of Country Mayors annual meeting included two-plus days of meeting in Murfreesboro. The State Comptroller, the head of the State Economic and Community Development Organization, the head of T-DOT, and Governor Bill Lee all spoke. Heady called it “one of the most important conferences I go to” annually.


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