Adams County Commissioner Paul Worley is running for his second term in the March 2016 primary election.
“It’s been a tremendous honor for me to serve the people of Adams County,” said Worley. “I’ve worked hard these past few years to be a full-time commissioner and to address the issues and concerns that affect our citizens. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our board and I’m looking forward to continuing our work for another four years. I’m running for re-election because I want to continue to serve the people and the community that I love.”
Prior to his election as commissioner in 2012, Worley was an officer in the US Army, earning the rank of Captain. He served three tours of duty in support of the Global War on Terrorism – two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. As a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division in 2005 he was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for combat actions in the Sunni Triangle in southwest Baghdad. He was also awarded two Bronze Stars for meritorious service in Iraq.
Worley believes his three-year record as commissioner speaks for itself.
“We have a balanced budget, and through our Economic Development office, we’ve brought in a 1.8 million dollar infrastructure project that includes things such as water lines, sidewalk improvements for villages, and sewer system upgrades. That money is coming to our communities and providing better services for our people.”
As commissioner Worley was determined to bring job opportunities to the people of Adams County. During his time in office the unemployment rate in Adams County has dropped from 12.7 percent in 2013 to 8 percent today.
“I’m most proud of some of our job creation efforts,” he says. “The county partnered with Digital Works, and in the years that we’ve been working with them we’ve created 70 part time and full time jobs for folks here in Adams County. We’ve seen General Electric expand their plant operations and create more jobs, and we’ve also seen our tourism industry increase double the state average for the past few years, more than any other counties. So there’s a lot of growth and positive momentum going in Adams County, especially with our economy. We’re not there yet, there’s still a lot of work left to do, and that’s one of the reasons I want to run again and serve is to see some of these projects through.”
Worley admits there are challenges in Adams County that must be dealt with in the future. Among them, the rampant drug problem.
“As commissioners we have an obligation to get the sheriff’s office and our police departments the tools they need to be able to do their jobs,” addedWorley. “I see a lot of these issues stemming from the fact that people don’t have jobs, and that’s why I believe it is our responsibility to create opportunities for existing businesses to expand and create jobs, and to bring new businesses into the county. If people have jobs they’re self esteem goes up, they have a purpose in their lives, and they’re focused on being responsible citizens, as opposed to wanting to use drugs and be a drain on the system.”
Worley contends that the county’s drug problem has far-reaching social implications. “There’s so many negative effects rising out of the rampant drug use in our county. Grandparents are forced to raise their grandchildren, home structure and family life are severely compromised and threatened,” he adds. “I think by providing more opportunities for people to work here in Adams County we can begin to address this problem.”
He also believes that the drug problem must be addressed from an educational standpoint.
“One of the things I’ve been working on, that I would like to accomplish in my second term, is providing more adult educational opportunities. We have a lot of folks that either need to be trained for a job, or they’re looking for other opportunities, and so we need to provide them the opportunity to get retrained, whether it’s welding, or agriculture, or tourism related jobs, we need to provide those opportunities for our people.”
“Education is one of those things that’s definitely needed because the job market today is very different than it was a generation ago,” Worley continued. “People starting out in a job now, may find in 10 to 15 years that the job no longer exists, because of changes in technology. It’s important that we have a response to rapidly changing environments, and that we’re identifying the needs of people. I think that’s what we’ve done well with Digital Works. Call center jobs that had been shipped to India were being moved back to Appalachia America. We saw an opportunity and we fought hard to get those jobs in Adams County.”
Working with the Connected Nation Program, Worley and his fellow commissioners, along with ABCAP, the Office of Economic Development, and Jobs and Family Services formed a team and succeeded in bringing Call Center jobs to Adams County. “Other counties started the program, but are no longer operating,” Worley notes, but we’ve been able to keep our Adams County program open because everyone sees the merits of this job training – it provides people with future opportunities. As technology continues to evolve more and more of the jobs of tomorrow are going to be in the digital field. So it’s not only teaching people those basic computer skills, its also making sure Adams County has a work force to meet the demands of the future.”
The call center located in West Union, employs 70 people in full and part time positions. “These folks are making money and providing a better opportunity for themselves and their families. They’ve had some real success, obviously driven by the individual client, or contractor, and by how much they want to work. We’ve provided an opportunity for folks who work from home, and for people that may be limited in their physical abilities, or may not be able to drive to work, now they can work as many hours as they want from their homes. These are paying jobs that give folks an opportunity to better themselves and provide for their families. Helping people who couldn’t find work because of disabilities is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as commissioner.”
Reflecting on what it takes to be a commissioner or to serve in any public office, Worley says he believes that a person’s life experiences reveal how well someone will handle the responsibilities inherent in the job.
“When you take a look at why someone runs for office, it’s not just about a resume, you also have to look at the experiences they’ve had in their lives, what they’ve been through and how they’ve dealt with things. I was very fortunate that I had wonderful parents who instilled good values in me. My faith is extremely important to me. Both of those things, my faith and my family are the bedrock of my life. I owe all that to my parents.”
Both of Worley’s parents were school teachers who emphasized the importance of education. “Education was very important in the Worley household,” he says. “But, my parents also instilled in me a strong work ethic, they never let me quit, and they also taught me the value and importance of serving others in the community. I think my Dad was one of those who never told anybody no who wanted him to join a club or be involved in an activity. I’ve inherited a little bit of that.”
He also explains that his parents taught him to find and rely on his inner strengths to overcome adversity.
“In 2008 my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, right before I was to deploy to Afghanistan, so I missed out on all of his surgeries and recuperation. I
t was very tough to be overseas while my Mom and my sister were dealing with what my Dad was going through. I talked to them as much as I could on the phone, but there was a lot of adversity in that situation. My dad was so patient and gracious in his suffering. When I came home I could hardly recognize him because he’d lost so much weight. But he always maintained that positive attitude, even up to the end. Losing a parent at an early age, or any time is a tough situation, but it’s about how you grow and move past those types of situations. In 2012 my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and I got to be here to help her through it. I think when someone goes through those types of adversities, it gives you a good perspective on what’s important, and it makes you more empathetic towards the people that you’re trying to serve.
“Then of course, when you’re in office, when you’re a commissioner, you deal with very serious issues that affect the daily lives of people. It’s calling the engineer to make sure that pothole in the road gets fixed, or asking people to support different tax levies for senior citizens or equipment at the hospital, or whatever it may be. All those experiences shape the way you think and the way you view life.”
“I’m grateful for the community that I grew up in, I’m grateful for my family that shaped me, and there’s no other place I love being more than Adams County. This is my home, even though I was away for a few years when I served in the military, I always wanted to come back here. I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress, steady progress. We’re not quite there yet, and I think that, in this next term, if the people re-elect me, we’re going to see more positive growth continue to move Adams County in a direction that will improve the quality of life for the people who live here.”
In addition to serving as county commissioner, Paul is also a member of the Peebles Lions Club, the Adams County Historical Society, the National Rifle Association, the Adams County Farm Bureau, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8287, and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 71.
Paul and his wife Randalyn live on a farm near Peebles with their dogs Jack, Bogart, and Winston. They are expecting their first child in September. Paul is the son of Linda and the late David Worley. He attends church at St. Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Peebles.
More information about his campaign can be found at www.paulworley.com