That's the message Doug Head has delivered as he seeks support in his bid to become mayor pro tem in the city.
It's also the message he has received from citizens during the campaign.
"The people in the city are interested in seeing the city and county work together, to cooperate," Head said.
The most pressing issue, Head said, remains the economy. He said the first step to improvement is the development of a plan that includes widespread involvement and support. He notes the community has already had some success along those lines. Consultants hired by the Thomaston-Upson Industrial Development Authority several years ago presented a report filled with action steps toward economic development. The Development Authority then named an advisory council to move forward with that plan.
"Several issues have been addressed, including hiring an economic development director and planning the new speculative building," he said. "Now, it's time for to pull people from the city, county, Industrial Authority, Chamber, Downtown Development and other organizations to outline the issues we now face and develop a plan to resolve those issues."
Head believes working together, the community can overcome the economic challenges we now face.
"Some of our problems are not going to be easily solved, but if we develop a plan and then work together, we can reach long-term solutions," he said. "We can do much more together than we can if we try to attack our problems individually."
Developing a comprehensive community plan is a daunting task, but Head said the effort will pay off for citizens.
"We've got to begin to think about what we want for our community and we have to work toward that vision," he said. "We can't just wait and see what happens."
He added, "In the end, it's all about economic development, and that has to begin with good leaders who are less interested in how we differ and more interested in how we can work together to solve problems. I am committed to working together."
Head is an officer with Bank of Upson and has extensive experience in finance. He also has served the community on the Downtown Development Authority and in many civic and church organizations.
In campaigning in the community, he said he has met people who continue to have a difficult time after the economic downtown that came with the closing of Thomaston Mills.
"It's easy to think our community has come through all of that pretty well, and we have as a whole, but there are a lot of people who haven't. We've got to get our act together to help provide those people with jobs so they can feed their families, pay for their homes and improve their lives."
The campaign itself, Head said, has been a good experience.
"I love people and I love to hear their stories and learn about their lives. Talking with people one on one is such a pleasure and it allows you to get down to the meat of the matter, and to understand what people's hopes and dreams are. I think that's so important for elected leaders."