One of the many blessing we enjoy in the United States is perhaps the one most unacknowledged. That is that for the most part, our local governments work.
By that I mean local governments effectively and efficiently operate for the benefit of their citizens.
Certainly, for me that is true because I am lucky to live in a Michigan township, Grosse Ile, with honest, dedicated, capable, flexible and forward thinking elected leaders and public servants.
From my years of experience working with cities, counties and regional governments in Michigan and Ohio, I can also extend my praise to a host of other communities, too.
By the way, on the local government level, for the most part, my experience tells me that party affiliation makes no difference. When the rubber meets the road, what really matters is what is in the hearts of the leaders – are they dedicated to working for the community’s best interests or are they more interested in leveraging their position of public trust for personal advancement and/or pocketbook.
Another and equally important measure of leadership is the ability to face tough issues head on and create a grounded, sustainable solution and then go to us - the people, face-to-face - answer our questions with facts and convince us that the plan is a wise solution for all of us.
The local government leaders I've had the honor of working with usually confront and solve local issues, while state and federal leaders are usually not accountable to the same standard… perhaps we no longer expect equally high standards from them or they’re using a totally different playbook.
Anyway, for us in Michigan, the gods of government may be ready to grant us a reprieve since our recently elected Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is now facing one of her first tests of leadership with her plan to fix our “damn roads”.
Her plan calls for a $.45 tax increase per gallon of gas in order to raise the revenue needed to maintain and repair our roads.
After years of "kick-the-can-down-the-road state house and senate leadership", it appears that we now have a leader who is willing to solve our roads challenge by facing the fact that it costs money to do the job right.
So, maybe our roads will finally be repaired and maintained under some rational plan.
It’s obvious that each of us will pay the price of fixing our roads - either in vehicle repairs, loss of home property value, lost sales/profits - or at the pump.
My choice is at the pump.
I hope Gov. Whitmer does a good job convincing us with the facts that her plan is best for all of us.
Bruce Springsteen - We Take Care of Our Own - 2012