As a teacher, pastor and firefighter, Shannon Hall has seen people at their best and worst moments. The Corbin native wants to add a new title to his resume, mayor.
“I feel like a new comer can shake things up,” Hall said of why he is seeking the office being vacated after Willard McBurney chose not to seek re-election.
Hall said he did what too many of Corbin’s best and brightest are doing, moving away as a young adult. However, in 2004, Hall returned to the area and made Corbin his home again after living in Massachusetts and Maryland.
“I earned a teaching license in Massachusetts and have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in theology and history,” Hall said adding that he served as a pastor for 31 years while living in Maryland.
Hall said it is jobs, or rather the lack of good ones, that is driving young people to seek opportunities elsewhere.
“We have too many of our young people who can’t wait to get out of Corbin because there are no good jobs. We are losing a lot of good kids,” Hall said.
“We need jobs that have livable wages so people don’t have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet,” he said.
Hall recalled as a teenager, a local business owner hired him to tear down and put engines back together as part of his repair business.
“It encourages entrepreneurism and they learn things that way,” Hall explained
Hall said while, in the past, Corbin was an economic leader in the area, London and Williamsburg have made great strides in recruiting business and industry.
As mayor, recruiting new employers to the area will be one of his priorities.
“It is not going to be an easy job. It is going to take time,” Hall said.
Hall said the city must become more proactive in offering teens things to keep them occupied and out of trouble, particularly when it comes to drugs.
Hall noted that the scourge of drug abuse, whether it is someone that is incarcerated, or who is suffering the effects of drug abuse, has struck almost every family in Corbin in some way.
“We need to take what resources we have, including working with the churches, to offer these kids mentoring programs and other things to help them succeed,” Hall said.
Hall said there are a number of things that may be done to make Corbin a safer place for the public.
During the local community events, Hall said we would like to see Corbin Police be more of a presence, not only for the security, but as an opportunity for the citizens to interact with and get to know the officers.
In addition, Hall said he would reinstitute and promote the neighborhood watch programs.
“It is an old idea, but it works,” Hall said.
Hall said while the revitalization of the business district on Main Street is a great thing for Corbin, city officials must focus on growth and development beyond the downtown area.
One priority for Hall is the construction of a new public park in the area south of 18th Street.
“The south end is getting the short end,” Hall said.
“There are more than two streets in Corbin,” Hall added noting that one of the issues is the lack of communication between city hall and the public.
“I want the people to know what is really happening down here,” Hall said.