01/11/08 — Chamber Chairman Geoff Hulse wants businesses to help schools

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Chamber Chairman Geoff Hulse wants businesses to help schools

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 11, 2008 1:46 PM

Speaking at Thursday's Wayne County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet for the first time as this year's Board of Directors Chairman Geoff Hulse outlined a very clear goal for the business organization -- help fix the county's schools.

"There is a lot the chamber has accomplished and a lot we want to see accomplished," he said. "But these things cannot be done without the chamber being a great voice of those things.

"I'm here to tell you that the chamber is not only here to support business and to help business grow in Wayne County, but to make Wayne County a better place."

But to do that, he continued, they have to be involved in the whole community, not just in its business interests.

"Without Wayne County being a better place, business will die," he said. "It's a simple equation. No one will want to move here and no one will want to bring their children here or start a family here. Families that live here will not want to stay."

And, he continued, while they've done well in 2007 helping promote the agricultural community, strengthening ties with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and being involved with downtown Goldsboro projects, the schools, which he described as "almost in crisis mode," now deserve their attention.

"There is a lot going on in politics these days that pits one side versus another. Well folks ... those of us here are all members of the chamber of commerce and interested in the future of Goldsboro and Wayne County," Hulse said. "I think it's high time we left all of the finger pointing behind and got on with the business about improving our community."

And, while the first step in that process may have already been taken as business and industry leaders have helped the county Board of Education and the county Board of Commissioners come together on their phase one $23 million facility plan, Hulse stressed that there is still much to be done.

"I cannot think of anything more important, yes to the chamber and the future of business and society in Wayne County, but more importantly, for our children, than to resolve our educational problems," Hulse said. "We want to be a voice here today, and throughout this year and hopefully for years to come, to assure that the discussions go on, that the voices of children are heard and that the best education system that we can possibly have is situated here in Wayne County."

"If it takes some hard decisions, if it takes some hurt feelings, fine.

"But the Wayne County Commissioners, the Wayne County School Board and this business community need to continue to work together to try to straighten this mess out, and I'm here to say that the Wayne County Chamber wants to be a leader in the fight for our youth and education in our community."