As the Presidential Primaries play-out across the country, I cannot help but notice how often we hear the word divide being used. We are told the candidates are divided on the issues, or the voters are divided along party lines. Whether its used for dramatic effect, or to illustrate a difference of opinion, it leaves the viewer with the impression that this is a normal situation and in many cases, an inevitable part of American politics. Division occurs when opposing sides do not agree, but in reality they have also lost the ability to consider and understand their opponents point of view. In a free society such as ours, its neither desirable or wise for everyone to agree. Total agreement breeds stagnation, and eventually a deterioration of the culture itself. Nevertheless, what we must demand from our leaders, current and future, is the willingness to consider multiple points of view while standing firm behind their own beliefs. In my view, this is one of the true measurements of leadership, and the key to reuniting our nation. I am often reminded of how much our communities share in the challenges facing our country. Its very easy to forget that the problems we see on the evening news arent someone elses, or somewhere else, but they are very much our own. While the details of our concerns can change from community to community, or from state to state, we are still bound by the borders of our nation, its heritage, and its culture. Our region is unquestionably unique, but we cannot deny that we are facing a challenging future, and we have many important decisions to make in the months and years ahead. We possess a precious gift; clean water, fresh air, good schools, safe communities, and a sense of belonging that stems from our connection to the 6 million acres we call home. As I spend time in each of our communities, and talk with residents, a common thread of concern emerges. Whether its affordable housing, rapidly increasing taxes, a lack of economic opportunity, or budget challenges, were all a part of the struggle we face. Granted, our region is not perfect, and we all most likely have a wish-list of things we would like to see changed. But its my belief that within each of our communities, we possess the answers to our problems, and the tools to change things for the better. All we need to do is find the voice, the leadership, and the strength to move forward. Over the next several months, we will be exploring some of the things that make our communities unique. Through this process, I believe that we will discover some of our similarities as well. My hope is to help all of us understand what is important to us as a community, what we are seeking, and what we require from our leaders. The simple fact of the matter is that if we do not grasp this, and vocalize it, then someone is going to come along and do it for us or worse yet, do nothing at all.