I would like to congratulate Commissioners Paul Edwards, Jim Hinebaugh and Larry Tichnell on being re-elected as our Garrett County Commissioners. I wish them well in their second, four-year term as individuals and more importantly as representatives of all Garrett Countians. We need them to do well on behalf of each of our citizens.
Recently, I read an article from the Cumberland Times-News, dated August 17, 2006, and entitled “Garrett commissioner candidates differ on Oakland Route 219 bypass, other issues”. It highlighted the opinions of then candidates Ernie Gregg and Sid Nazelrod (there was no Democratic candidate for Commissioner District 1 in 2006).
What most struck me is how the 2006 article could have been describing the issues facing our community today, 12 years later. The 2006 candidates talked about important issues including the difference in opinions on the Oakland Bypass, the high cost of housing, the need to attract living wage jobs to Garrett County, the lack of proactive attention on supporting small businesses, the struggle of farmers especially dairy farmers, and the need for a focus on local foods. These are among the most discussed issues in the 2018 platforms of the Republican candidates and the one Democratic candidate for County Commissioner. These are the very same issues that the three now re-elected Republican Commissioners said four years ago they would fight to combat and change.
The citizens of Garrett County today say the 2006 issues are still important to them, yet for the past 25 years, we continue to elect only male, Republican candidates. We keep trying the same approaches with the same political philosophies and same ideas over and over, getting the same results.
To the community that I love, I would like to propose the following. Let’s all come together -- regardless of political affiliation -- to support our elected officials in the work they need to do to listen to the will of the people on the Oakland Bypass; to create economic development strategies that attract living wage jobs to Garrett County and bolster our small businesses to prosper; to support farmers and develop new strategies so that family farms can thrive economically in ways that support our entire community; and to widen other avenues for the public, economic and environmental health of each citizen no matter who they are or where in our community they live. Citizen-engaged local government is simply more effective and more responsive! So, let’s get involved, including holding our elected officials accountable for what they promise, what they say and what they do.
And then, when it comes to the 2022 elections, let’s also remember. If the changes we demand have not come to pass, let’s widen our perspective on who makes a good candidate…no matter their party, gender, last name, birth place, or address…and let’s elect candidates based solely on their vision and what they bring to the table to strengthen the community we ALL love. Can we do that??
Judy A. Carbone