If you read the paper or watch the news there is little doubt that we live in some very challenging political times. Our constitutional form of government assures that the will of the people is met by requiring elections. During these elections the candidates need to differentiate themselves from one another and often do so through misdirection and misinformation — playing on the fears of those who are either conspiratorial by nature or feel left behind.

Those who are elected then make an effort to fulfill campaign promises — even those born of their own misinformation — and this need drives us to short-term results that can be reported out to their constituents and ensure that they and their party continue to be in power.

What is all too often missing in many of our political candidates is authentic leadership. By this I mean the courage to take risks, care deeply, and take action to make substantive changes — in the midst of political challenge and uncertainty — to move us collectively forward.

At both the federal and state levels of government, authentic leadership has been replaced by rigid ideologies and partisan politics. And, as such, few of our nations or our states issues are being managed well and there is little being done to create positive change and make long-term decisions to keep us on the right track.

However, this is generally not true of our local leaders. While there are often efforts afoot by differing groups to move local politics into the same ugly spirals that afflict our national and state politics — our local elected officials have continued to focus on doing what is best for our communities’ long term.

I believe that there is no better example of this than the willingness of our County Board of Commissioners to plan and prepare for the future by making the tough decisions today. At a recent board meeting, the commissioners moved forward with long-term infrastructure and financing that will serve the county’s residents and staff well. Maintaining excellent services, managing costs and, in the long term, keeping this county on a sustainable fiscal path. Thank you, commissioners, for caring deeply and being willing to make tough decisions that help to assure our future.

Gary Shelton

Prior Lake

South regional editor

Deena is the regional editor for Shakopee, Jordan, Prior Lake and Savage and is passionate about uncovering the truth. Deena also enjoys gardening, playing tennis and up-cycling furniture.

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