2018-02-08 / Editorial

Public office still a noble endeavor

Like many of our institutions, public service has taken a beating in recent years.

While it used to be a sign of civic pride and a sense of duty to better one’s community, elected officials now are more reviled than revered. One used to proudly say they would “seek” to serve in a particular office, nodding to the idea this was a position of importance and respect. Now, people are more likely to hide from even being sought out to run by their party committees. What was once a rite of passage as a citizen in town that was aspired to has morphed into a burden to be shunned.

There’s no denying spots on the town council and school committee have lost some cache in recent years. There’s more work than before, still very little pay and social media makes it easier to be a target of people’s vitriol.

Yet, there are several factors here that should make Jamestown different.

This is a community chock-full of folks who volunteer – whether it be locally or on myriad statewide boards and commissions – at a far higher percentage than the rest of the state’s cities and towns. There also is no shortage of people who care about the island and its future. Whether you’re at McQuade’s, the library or any of your favorite dining spots or watering holes, you always hear people discussing issues vital to the town and offering their opinions on the matters.

In the next few years, Jamestown will face several big decisions that will shape its future for generations. What will happen with the library, schools, golf course clubhouse and potential green energy initiatives all coming up in the next year or so.

Yes, we live in a world where the view of public servants has devolved nationally due to petty partisanship. Locally, though, one still can make a difference on the aforementioned issues, as well as many others that will come down the pike.

So, if you’d like to be a part of implementing your vision for the town or, possibly, leaving a lasting positive stamp on the community you love, now’s the time to stop hiding and start seeking.

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