Primary Election day this year is May 15, and I hope you vote. If you already have voted, thank you.

Your voice matters, now and every day, but voting is how you choose which candidate you want to be accountable to you. Your command is indirect and part of the whole electorate, but you are still the boss. That doesn’t mean you get to control every word or every vote of your elected representative, but you are part of the group that’s in charge.

Voting is one way to make this a better, more effectively-run county. It’s not the only way, but it’s an essential element to begin the process of working together for making this a better place.

I wish I could quote the wisdom of everyone who’s been talking to me about their hopes, dreams, and concerns as I listen to them on their doorsteps. They spoke thoughtful, eloquent, wise words. The honor and privilege of representing all of you during the last three years nourishes and inspires me as I do my best to put what you want into action.

The complicated part is finding a way to integrate diverse and contradictory points of view. Believe it or not, not everyone thinks exactly the way you do. They even want me to do things you don’t want.

The best way would be to gather us together, listen well and openly to each other, develop common ground, and go forward together in concert. You know, in concert: making sweet and harmonious music, not banging each other over the head with our instruments because we disagree.

If you’ve read the newspapers lately, you may have noticed a lack of harmony up in Astoria. You’d be right about that. Sometimes it’s necessary to talk about what’s not working before we can agree on how to do what works better. I hope we can honor each other for trying to do well, even when we fall short.

When your elected leaders disagree, it makes headlines. When we’re working together, it doesn’t. Even so, I hope the headlines indicate that we’re heading toward a better way of governing. I hope that we’re moving toward a more inclusive, respectful, and accountable way of using your tax dollars to provide the services you want and need.

Your tax dollars provide the wherewithal for county services. That puts you at the top of the organizational chart, makes you the boss. You hold your elected commissioners accountable by voting us into or out of office. It’s our job to hold the County Manager accountable for achieving results, the services for you and everyone else.

Elections happen every once in a while. Accountability should happen every day, and I’d like the County Board of Commissioners to check in with you more often and more directly about what you’d like to see happen that would make this a better county. Together, going forward, let’s do that. Stay tuned for more details as we ask you to help us help you.

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