The Union Recorder

November 6, 2013

Help stem the tide and bring forth community change

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Election results are in for city races and voters have decided who will take the lead for the City of Milledgeville for the next four years.

Voter turnout notwithstanding, Milledgeville, like most other communities across the state, faces a number of issues of significant importance carrying a lot of impact on its future.

Although the polls have closed until the next election cycle, the door mustn’t close on community engagement and interest in local government.

Multiple candidates threw their hats into the ring for this most recent election, and while just one person may hold an individual seat of office, input from numerous voices, constituents particularly, must carry weight among local governing bodies.

Fostering continued development in the Communiversity project and finding outside funding streams for the Central State Hospital campus redevelopment are vital to Milledgeville and Baldwin County’s future, but interest and enthusiasm for these and other projects does not require holding a seat in public office. Neither does providing input on the day to day concerns such as public works issues, road maintenance, parking or downtown development. What it does take in an informed electorate and insight into the community.

Most often than not we speak of apathy among voters only on Election Day, but apathy circulates year-round. We cannot let apathy and disinterest win if the community is to make continuous strides. How can we stop the continued slide toward what appears as indifference to the issues and policies affecting us? It begins with us. We can stem the tide by making a concerted effort to stay on top of the issues and concerns in both city and county government and getting behind the local forces capable of bringing forth change. We can do it through our volunteerism and through service.

We can also start by never forgetting the consequences of this type of continued regression. When there is silence, there is no conversation, no opposition to the existing way of doing things. If we continue to do things the way always have, we can expect no more than the same results we are used to getting.

Each one of the candidates in this year’s election sought office because they wanted to affect some type of change. Through community forums and other campaign events challengers engaged in the issues and brought forth new ideas and suggestions. Those suggestions and issues of focus don’t have to necessarily be cast aside because a particular candidate’s name wasn’t on the winning side of the ballot. And neither should any of the ideas and suggestions voters have brought forth during this year’s campaign. How we as a community weather the issues and concerns ahead depends largely upon how we as individuals react, who’s watching and how well we hold those who take the oath of office accountable.