McEVOY MEMO REVISITED
By CHAD McEVOY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Republicans have been in charge of our county for as long as anyone can remember. And for as long as anyone can remember, Otsego County, as beautiful and full of potential as it is, has not kept pace with its neighbors on many key indicators.
This means, in effect, that the Republican Party has overseen a protracted period of regional demographic and economic stagnation.
In 2019, Otsego County has an opportunity to try something new.
We are all feeling a lot of partisan tension at the national level these days. It’s generating a kind of tribalism that threatens to permanently lock voters into established political identities, causing them to consistently vote by party and disregard a politician’s actual expertise and ideas.
This is not a healthy sign for a dynamic and responsive political system. What’s more, I fear that at the local level this could spell disaster for effective government.
In the free market of ideas, we need competitive political races with contestants who have to work hard to convince voters to vote for them. This is the only way that we will get competent citizens into elected roles to carry out policies and enact laws that respond to the current needs of our communities.
What we don’t need is for toxic politics to break our only mechanism of effecting change at the local level by preventing us from ever being able to impact, influence, or reject a local political structure that clearly needs a reboot from time to time.
We all love living here, but I don’t know many who would say they feel extremely well served by our county government. As it happens, the priorities and agenda of our somewhat disappointing local governance have been directed by Republican board members for decades.
Since the County Board was tied in 2017, we’ve seen important momentum on issues like the creation of a county-manager role, but we need so much more.
Under current leadership the board has been doing, at best, a passable job at managing our slow decline. On Nov. 5, voters can make a choice to bring fresh energy and new ideas to Otsego County.
So I am asking you to temporarily set aside your current political affiliation and consider whether you think Otsego County can do better than it has in the past. If you think we have room to grow, then vote to try something new.
For me, this year, that means voting for the Democratic candidates.
Despite what you may have heard, there is nothing radical about what they want to achieve if given the chance. They want to grow our economy, take care of our citizens, and steward the natural heritage of our region.
Like everyone else, they want competent and efficient government that gets more done with fewer resources, and they want to preserve and build upon the quality of life that binds us to our communities.
What’s even more impressive is that we’re looking at the opportunity to elect people with real skills when it comes to bringing in
grants and efficiently managing organizations.
How about this proposition? Otsego County Board terms are for two years. Why not give the Democrats a chance in 2019? If you don’t like the outcome, you can always vote them back out in 2021.
Why not at least try a different course for a couple of years and see if it gets better results? Personally, I predict it will help revitalize Otsego County and it could be the thing that finally positively changes the trajectory of our region.
But even if I am wrong, at the very least, a Democratic win in 2019 will make the Republican politicians have to work harder to represent you in the future – and that is to everyone’s benefit.