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8.30.2011

The major lesson I have learned in my first two years in local politics

So it has been almost two years since I began my time on the Shepherdstown Planning Commission and Town Council. I can sum up the lessons I have learned in one small saying. "Those who show up run things." So if you do not like what is going on in your community or with our government and you truly care... Show up.

I am amazed at the power of the residents in town who take the time to attend meetings and voice their concern or opinion or even email the commissioners and council men and women. Their opinion is the only feedback the governing body receives other then that of their vocal neighbors who drop by to provide their opinion. One of the major pieces I see as broken in government and why I feel our system is broken is that people most of the time only show up when they are in opposition to an issue. This is why government is so slow. Anytime we as a society want to move forward with improvement and need a public hearing only those who are against it show up.

Lately I have been talking to my fellow residents and putting the bug in their ear that they need to participate. We need your opinion. We need Americans as a whole to get involved especially when they support something. Yes you blast your opinion and your perspective on social media but that is not enough.

Get involved and show up. Show up at your town meetings. Show up at your county meetings. Write your Representatives if you support something (this morning I wrote every government person that represents us in WV about our parking issue.) Vote or run for office. Volunteer!

I can honestly tell you from my time as a town councilman that it truly does make a difference especially at the local level. And we all know the local level is where change begins.

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