Letter to the Editor – Prince Edward is at a crossroads
Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022
I have known Cannon Watson and his family all my life. He is an outstanding example of a leader from a family steeped in community and service. I say this with knowledge of community service with my own Farmville family. My paternal grandfather was Farmville’s Chief of Police for many years, my father was a local businessman and Farmville’s longest serving mayor, and I served a broader community with over 20 years in the U.S. Army. I have insight into and understanding of this community, what community service means, and how we all benefit from the best leadership we can elect.
Cannon Watson has the knowledge, experience, desire, and the right outlook to help Prince Edward County (PEC) move forward. Cannon understands that PEC is at a crossroads. We have not had significant growth for decades and if we don’t move forward, we will be stuck in economic limbo for decades to come.
He understands to attract industry it takes commitment from government to attract businesses and motivate them to commit to this community. A few years ago, PEC abruptly withdrew from a small business partnership with Longwood University, stating that Longwood had enough money and did not need any help from the county. While I cannot speak about the financial aspect, withdrawing from an activity that is supposed to help small businesses get started seems counterproductive to what local government should be doing.
As a local businessman, Cannon understands that small businesses are the heart of any community. He will help with initiatives to promote their establishment and growth. Likewise, Cannon understands that attracting industry to broaden our tax base and provide jobs is essential. He understands that while improving our schools is a vital and necessary component of attracting industry, it is not the only one. The Board can do little more than provide funding for the school system. Most of the work in this area must comes from the school board. Cannon is committed to increasing funding and working with the school board to help wherever he can. Also, Cannon understands that there are other components of attracting industry, such as childcare.
Increasingly, both parents must work, sometimes at multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Single parents have a tougher time. Reliable, affordable childcare as well as before/after school care coupled with well-funded schools are all critical components of a healthy community. Cannon understands this. He and his family work extensively with the local YMCA to raise funds and help provide assistance not just so we can have a place to go work out, but to provide before and after childcare for the community. Cannon would strengthen the county’s working relationship with the YMCA and other childcare providers.
I support Cannon Watson as a candidate for the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors, and I urge you to do the same. He has a heart for our community and will do his best to ensure a good future for all of us.