From the start Magoffin County had every advantage a location in Eastern Kentucky could offer. Centrally located and served by the first state highway of great length we should have become the crowning jewel of the highlands.
Indeed by 1880 Salyersville was second only to Catlettsburg in size east of the bluegrass. Something went terribly wrong. At the time Eastern Kentucky began to blossom, for reasons I confess are hard to fathom, our county went into decline. It seems that as men and women of vision sprang forth all over Eastern Kentucky our county was left to the corrupt and greedy. Why is that? I can’t prove it but some common sense tells me that we have nobody to blame but our own poor choices. Driven by poverty and lack of education our elections become a national joke as we auctioned off our vote as if it were cattle. This assured that the most corrupt and greedy often assumed control of our county’s meager assets. Sadly these assets were seldom used for the common good. Contrarily, public assets often ended up in private pockets.
At this juncture I think it pertinent to visit the issue of voter fraud. I understand what it means to be in need of the most basic necessities required just to get by. Things like shoes, coats, school supplies, quality food, and heat in winter. For this very reason I cringe when I hear people badmouthed because they sold their vote. After all, who knows what good that money might have been needed for? Food, shelter, medicine? I fully understand that there are some who use the money they get to buy drugs and a strong drink. Even they have unknown demons to fight. I put the blame for vote buying squarely on the shoulder of corrupt leaders who care not at all about “we the people.” I will point out that selling your vote is tantamount to accepting a bribe. The Bible frowns on bribery, Exodus 23.8: “Never take a bribe, because bribes blind those who can see and deny justice to those who are in the right.”
So are we forever fated to decay and decline? Will we forever lead in poverty and unemployment? Is there no end in sight, no way back to our former glory? I reject these suppositions. The groundwork for a Magoffin County Renaissance are being put in place. Our leaders of late have been effective in securing improvements in infrastructure that will allow us to grow and prosper. Billions have poured into renewing every facet of our infrastructure from sewer to water, from the cut through to the industrial park, from new schools to all new municipal structures. Money will flow down the new four lane highway as never before. We have new parks in North and South Magoffin and a showcase RT (Dawkins) in Royalton. Not least of these of which I am most proud, our beautiful new Civil War Park at Half-Mountain. Our future is bright if we want it to be.