The birth of regionalism?

J. H. Osborne • Oct 9, 2018 at 8:12 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable and Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy have made public their plans to hold what they describe as a “historic” joint work session of the Sullivan County Commission and Washington County Commission.

The public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18 on the mezzanine of Tri-Cities Airport. It starts at 5 pm.

"We hope it's going to be the start of something big," Venable told the Times News on Tuesday evening, noting he and Grandy have been friends a long time and he also worked with Grandy's predecessor. "We did some joint things and we're just continuing the cycle. We're really looking forward to it. We think it will be the start of really good things for Sullivan County and Washington County."

Congressman Phil Roe's involvement

Venable said Congressman Phil Roe is going to read the proclamation written jointly by Venable and Grandy.

What else will happen at the meeting?

"We're just going to talk about some ideas that Joe and I have jointly come to," Venable said. "Nothing specific. But just generally how we can work together and with the business community to make things better for this whole region."

Are you invited?

"We're hoping we'll fill it up," Venable said when asked if there would be space for the public on the airport's mezzanine.

The bigger picture

"We'll really set the stage for involving other county neighbors," Venable said. "We just need the individuals on the commissions involved. And we'll go to the next county, and the next county, and the next county."

"Richard Venable was gracious enough to help kick-off my campaign for Washington County mayor, and I noted at the time that our counties can only get stronger working together to increase opportunities for all of our citizens," Grandy said is a press release earlier in the day. "I am pleased to announce that effort is underway beginning with this joint work session and look forward to jointly announcing potential areas for cooperation in coming days."