A tale of two sto­ries


As we ap­proach what the me­dia is call­ing the “fis­cal cliff,” I am sure I join many of the read­ers in urg­ing their elected of­fi­cials to pro­duce more than just press re­leases at­tack­ing each other. Truly we can do bet­ter.

In the same spirit, I must say I was dis­heart­ened by the at­ti­tude and mes­sage of the ar­ti­cle writ­ten last week by Bar­bara Mor­gan at­tack­ing the former ma­jor­ity leader, call­ing him an “em­bar­rass­ment” among other things. What kind of per­sonal agenda in­spires some­one to write a half page ar­ti­cle at­tack­ing an elected of­fi­cial who re­cently re­signed but yet ig­nores proven wrong­do­ing at home in New­ton County. The last time I checked, Se­na­tor Rogers did not rep­re­sent New­ton County and ul­ti­mately it would have been up to the vot­ers of his district to make such de­ter­mi­na­tions. Shoot­ing a de­part­ing leader in the back does noth­ing more than to fos­ter a greater di­vide at a time when we really need to find ar­eas to work to­gether.

In sharp con­trast, I was strongly en­cour­aged by the ac­tions of Com­mis­sion Chair­man-Elect Keith El­lis and the cur­rent and in­com­ing mem­bers of the New­ton County Com­mis­sion. El­lis, who ran on a mes­sage of bridge build­ing, took the ini­tia­tive last month to host a get ac­quainted break­fast with com­mis­sion mem­bers, both present and in­com­ing, along with Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic mem­bers of New­ton County’s Gen­eral As­sem­bly del­e­ga­tion. This very pos­i­tive for­ward look­ing at­ti­tude and proac­tive ini­tia­tive by our elected of­fi­cials is a breath of fresh air. A col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort by our com­mis­sion­ers with our state rep­re­sen­ta­tives will pro­duce sub­stan­tive re­sults to ben­e­fit the peo­ple of our county. In th­ese dif­fi­cult times there is no room for di­vi­sive at­ti­tudes and per­sonal agen­das.

Gov­er­nor Deal, speak­ing to leg­is­la­tors this week, warned of an­other tight bud­get for 2013. Col­lec­tions are up, but still trail bud­get pro­jec­tions. Our del­e­ga­tion, and com­mis­sion­ers need to be on the same page dur­ing th­ese crit­i­cal dis­cus­sion pe­ri­ods. It all starts with build­ing trust and bet­ter re­la­tion­ships and fos­ter­ing un­der­stand­ing ver­sus de­mo­niza­tion. We have many thorny is­sues to deal with in the up­com­ing years and the in­di­vid­ual states must play a vi­tal role in sup­port­ing and im­ple­ment­ing so­lu­tions.

In th­ese time of take no pris­oner pol­i­tics, the ef­forts of El­lis and the mem­bers of the com­mis­sion will hopefully pay div­i­dends at both the state and lo­cal level. It is the na­ture of rep­re­sen­ta­tive government that there will al­ways be op­pos­ing points of view and that’s healthy. The key for New­ton County mov­ing for­ward is as some­one once said, “We can dis­agree, but we don’t have to be dis­agree­able.” I be­lieve that this is a mes­sage that both the folks in Washington and Bar­bara Mor­gan could much learn from.

Wil­liam Perug­ino is ac­tive in lo­cal and re­gional pol­i­tics and can be reached at 3pe­rug­i­nos@bell­south.net.

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