To make an omelette, the old saying goes, you first have to break a few eggs.
Consider the late Paul Armstrong one of the chefs. He passed away Nov. 19 after a bout with cancer, but departs with a legacy of a stronger community.
When Armstrong was elected to the Columbia County Commission in 1988, the county was experiencing a slow-motion Republican revolution. The nation experienced a similar upheaval six years later when the GOP took over Congress, but Columbia County was ahead of the curve. The county elected its first Republican sheriff in 1984, signaling change was coming.
Armstrong was at the vanguard of that change. Though many Republicans like to think of their party as anti-tax, Armstrong and others in the county's GOP recognized that the growing county's needs were being starved to death by old-guard leadership unwilling to face the county's future.
Armstrong met that challenge, boldly helping to sell a tax increase to his constituents. Among other things, that effort gave a badly needed boost to Otis Hensley's sheriff's office.
As one payoff of that investment, Columbia County is now protected by one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country. The county's subsequent growth and prosperity simply would not have happened without safe streets and neighborhoods.
That wasn't the only investment Armstrong helped our community to make in its future. He knew that providing the infrastructure for an expanding population is difficult if funds come mostly from homeowners' taxes. So he worked to bring John Deere to Columbia County, opening the door to the county's largest industrial park, Horizon South.
Armstrong also worked with other commissioners - and navigated through environmentalists' objections - to build Savannah Rapids Pavilion, a cultural gem for Columbia County.
Like most citizens of Columbia County, Armstrong was born elsewhere. He made the county his home by choice. Thanks to his foresight, many others are choosing to make Columbia County their home.
And, thanks to Armstrong, it's still a pretty good place to live. He has earned the gratitude of our community; may he rest in peace.
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