In Dec. 30 IssueBy John ThompsonTimes Journal Reporter
Terry Lawless said he decided to run for mayor of Jamestown to give back to a community that has done so well by him.
He is a lifelong resident of Jamestown and has gotten to know the inner workings of city government through a career working for the city. Beginning in 1978 he began working for Jamestown as a CETA Supervisor (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act - a 1970's government work program intended to deal with high unemployment at that time). "Since then I've worked for seven mayors, not including Mayor Bates who I worked about one year under," Lawless said. "Jamestown has been a part of my entire life as far as employment. The city's been good to me, the people I've worked with have been real good and I look forward to working with them again."
After working for CETA Lawless went to work for the water treatment plant, followed by working for the waste water treatment plant for a stint before moving back to the water treatment plant to take over for a retiring supervisor.
In 1988 he took the position of public works director for Jamestown, a position he would hold until his retirement in 2008.
"Having worked for the city for so long, I thought I might have something to give back to the city, knowing the lay of the city; being familiar with the inner workings and all the plants, I just thought I might be a benefit, or could help the city out."
It was not long after retirement that he began contemplating the decision to run. "I thought about it, and prayed about it, and thought the timing was right," Lawless said. "I hope to do the best job possible in that capacity."
This was the first office Lawless has made a run for. "During the 28 years I've worked with the city I've had many chances to work with people and different agencies. I believe I have a good rapport with the different agencies and that will help with my capacity as mayor."
We wanted to get an idea of his governing style and his vision for the future of Jamestown over the coming four years and beyond. "I don't feel like my governing style will be much different than the previous mayor," he said, "I think Mayor Bates did a lot of good things and should be commended for that." Lawless went on to make clear his love for Jamestown, a sentiment he said he shared with outgoing Mayor Brooks Bates.
Mayor Lawless says he wants to focus on maintaining a clean city, attractive to summer tourists. He expressed a desire to work with the Industrial Development Authority in attracting industry whenever possible to renew the wavering economy; "Hopefully things will improve over the next few years. If there's anything I can do to expedite that, I'll certainly do it," Lawless said.
The key to getting new shops or other types of retail business for Jamestown and the Jamestown Square lies in having industries to support the spending, according to Lawless; "I think that falls back to what we were talking about with the Industrial Authority. It's hard for any business to survive when it takes people most of their money just to pay their gas bill, their light bill, and other things. The key is to get industry to employ." Lawless said. "If we can draw even small industries, employing 15 or 20 each, if we could get three or four of those, people would have work and money to spend to support small business."
As an effort to attract business and tourism, Mayor Lawless said he would be interested in seeing if there would be support for a Revitalization Committee comprised of small business owners and active local citizens interested in the betterment of their community. "Different minds have different ideas. If we can get together four or five people who can come up with ideas to make it a more attractive place for visitors or people who come visit in the summer, I think that would be one of my goals."
Lawless comes across as a man who contemplates before speaking, and is reluctant to speak on subjects unless he has taken in a great deal of information. "I'm a person who would rather listen for a little while before making any comment," he said. "A mouth closed is hard to put your foot in."
Mayor Lawless said he's looking forward to working with Russell Springs Mayor Hollis DeHart.
"I work with Hollis on the Gas Board, serve with him; fine man there. I look forward to working with him toward helping both our cities." Lawless said.
He expressed enthusiasm for his upcoming responsibility.
"I look forward in working as mayor to work with people. I'm going to try to have as many people involved in this administration as possible," Lawless said.
The position of mayor is a part time position in Jamestown. Lawless said he will be working the first two or three months toward making a schedule that best suits the needs of the citizens should they need to get with him, but that he would always be available for the city's needs.
"Meetings with state or local officials I'll be available, absolutely. I'm retired and it's not like I have to be any certain place. Whatever the city's needs, I'll be available for them."
His pledge of involvement extended to continue the tradition of Lakefest. "It's been a tradition since, I think 1946, and I want to make sure we keep having it every year."
Mayor Lawless wanted to extend an appreciation to Mayor Bates for opening his office to him when it became clear he would be running unopposed. "He made himself available and answered any questions I had. I really appreciated that."
Finally, Lawless expressed an appreciation to the citizens of Jamestown and those who showed confidence in voting for him; "It's an honor for me to be able to serve the city of Jamestown."
He is single and has one daughter that lives in Green County.