Rural elected, appointed officials regularly available to meet community needs

Published 8:40 pm Thursday, January 5, 2023

Citizens of rural communities can sometimes feel the lack of amenities available to residents in large, urban areas.

But small-town communities do boast something most city dwellers can’t – a connection to elected and appointed officials outside their 9-to-5 workday.

In Lowndes County, Emergency Management Agency Director Rodney Rudolph, who is appointed by the Lowndes County Commission, answers his cell phone, day and night to respond to emergency events.

Rudolph makes himself available to county residents, and to those in nearby Butler County, when situations arise there requiring his assistance.

Many people arrive at work, perform their duties, and leave the job behind each night, or day, depending on the assigned shift.

But Rudolph never turns off his work phone and has been known to give out his personal number to ensure citizens can reach him when needed.

Not too many New Yorkers can say they have Mayor Eric Adams’ direct phone number, but in Luverne, Mayor Ed Beasley makes himself accessible to people living in “The Friendliest City in the South.”

Like Rudolph, Beasley makes himself available for those who need him, onsite and ready to do what’s needed, even after his office closes for the day.

Government officials shoulder great responsibility. With all the demands on their time, I expected they would be difficult for a journalist to reach for comments.

But such is not the case, even for those at the district or state level.

District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer, who spends her days fighting to gain justice for victims, takes time on evenings and weekends to answer calls, provide information vital to informing the public about import cases.

She has never failed to return my calls, not on vacation, not even when she is ill.

Lowndes, Crenshaw, and Butler counties might be missing out on major league baseball teams, large shopping malls, and five-star dining, but their residents do have access to officials who are invested and available, who care to try and move their communities toward progress.

I’ll take that over any day over big-city amenities.