We’ve all heard the mantra about how we should exercise our duty to vote.
It’s repeated often, particularly as fall descends and election signs start cropping up alongside area roadways.
Although this year’s election focuses on candidates for county or community posts rather than high-profile state or national races, local government is where the citizenry can exert the greatest influence — and change in government most often occurs from the ground up.
But such clout exists only in the hands of those that turn out and cast their ballots.
County and town supervisors craft budgets, devise laws, and craft policy that sets the course of our government as well as the day-to-day delivery of public services — and determines the very nature of our communities in the future.
And this year, participation in this ultimate privilege of democracy is more important than ever.
Considering the pressing issues that face our area towns and counties, it is indeed vitally important for all eligible citizens to cast their vote and help set the course of our local governments.
Each municipality in the Adirondacks is struggling with budgetary problems — deciding how to balance soaring operational expenses despite slashed state aid. They are grappling with new expensive mandates and soaring employee health care and retirement costs in a time that the public is struggling financially.
In addition, the core areas of the Adirondacks have been losing population at an alarming rate — primarily due to lack of private-sector job opportunities at salaries that can even approach metropolitan areas.
Our area families have become more and more dependent on income from public-sector jobs — which in turn hike local taxes, shackling economic growth.
And while the world has moved fast into an era when high-speed broadband interconnectivity is vital for prosperity, areas of the Adirondack region now have no such access.
Our communities and counties throughout the region need the most savvy, informed leaders at the helm — to collaborate on crafting sound public policy, influence state and federal officials to make needed changes, and make hard decisions on the quality and level of services government will be providing.
Hopefully you’ve studied the issues and evaluated the candidates — examining campaign flyers, attending the various Meet the Candidates events, and scrutinizing the politicians’ qualifications and abilities.
The more research, the better.
Because throughout the Adirondacks, we need leaders who cannot only devise clever sound bites or utter political jargon, but can help seek out new, innovative solutions to our pressing issues.
Cast a vote this Tuesday — an informed vote.
Our future depends on it.
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