While working the polls yesterday, I stood next to friends discussing the weather. When the clouds were covering the sun, it was naturally colder. When the sun was shining without a filter, it provided additional warmth and comfort. I woke up this morning, and it was dark. I wondered what the weather might be the day after the election. How it might affect our mood, our feelings on the outcomes of one of the most important elections in Terre Haute’s history – my opinion, of course. At the break of dawn the sun rose with a colorful hue, it felt like more than just the start of a new day. It felt like the start of a new future. The filters were gone, and for the first time in a while, the sun was brighter than I had remembered in some time.
Yesterday, voters in Terre Haute had many important decisions to make. The one closest to the RJL Solutions team was the “Vote Yes On 1” campaign to bring a casino to Terre Haute. We were known for our relentless education at the Statehouse, pushing the bill that would allow Terre Haute/Vigo County to vote on whether or not they wanted a casino to support an economic stimulus for not only our home community but the entire West Central Indiana region. It was exactly one year ago at this time we started putting together the pieces for the Terre Haute Is All In campaign to educate community and government leaders and legislators state-wide on why Terre Haute/Vigo County was strategically positioned for such opportunity.
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, local union groups, local government leaders (on both sides of the aisle) and, of course, our state legislators representing our region led the initiative. When we needed people to testify, they were there. When we needed letters of support, they were there. When we needed support in any way, they were there. I’m convinced legislators chose to support our community because we showed we wanted positive change, new economic development, and that we wanted to compete – Terre Haute wanted to progress. We won.
Yesterday represented a lot of work by a lot of people. It would be impossible to name everyone, and knowing all of them, I would say they would stand with me in my next few comments. Yesterday was about the people. Beyond leadership, yesterday gave the citizens of the community their right to exercise their choice. The 63% vote in favor represented well over half of our community’s population, ready for change and growth.
With sun comes the ability to see the dust. You know, when the sun shines through the windows and you can see the particles you’ve desperately been trying to ignore. There is no more filter. People across the state and Midwest are watching Terre Haute, Indiana. As a community we have the opportunity to dust up, rearrange some furniture and work collaboratively to create a community people want to visit – even more than they do now. Let’s adopt the new See You in Terre Haute brand, clean up our store fronts, execute the community plan (where over 1500 people participated), get beyond the election turmoil that may have transpired and build up on something every community in Indiana wishes they had – a new future, filled with new opportunities, unfiltered.