Headed in a “good direction” on the Local Level

By Don Stephens, Mayor of Salida

Independent. It’s difficult finding a party that represents me at the federal level – so I’m a registered independent.

One or the other covers most of my ideals, but neither party can muster enough of them to sway me to sign on.

I have a friend who occasionally writes me to tell me how bad President Obama is for our country, and how bad it will get if he is re-elected.

Yes, I voted for him, but I must say the other option wasn’t looking so hot, considering the close ties to the previous president, not to mention the running mate.

This time around, I find it difficult to find a Republican opponent that I can stomach, much less vote for. I certainly don’t believe the problems he inherited would be fixed in three years, and he will likely earn another shot in my eyes. Does that make me “liberal?”

I found myself at the El Paso County Democratic fund-raiser last weekend. The jokes they cracked about the Republican hopefuls were pretty funny.

I had to admit though, they provide good fodder and the master of ceremonies didn’t have to dig deep for good material. Not sure if that makes me liberal either.

I was surprised to find there is a significant Democratic population in Colorado Springs.

I prefer my federal government to be smaller, tax less, and be waaaaay more prudent with spending. I also own more than one firearm. Does that make me “conservative?”

I also want my representation to do just that, represent. I was disappointed Doug Lamborn chose to avoid the State of the Union speech, and I wrote his office a letter stating so.

I got a nice form letter response stating he “does not support his policies” and he did “watch it on television.” Pretty disrespectful, regardless of party lines.

The first party that wants to ensure the people have reasonably priced energy and health care, values education and will make higher education affordable, feels that “homeland security” starts at our borders, starts returning all the jobs we’ve been sending overseas for decades, and puts the well-being of the citizenry ahead of corporations will get my attention.

One thing I have learned about the current council is they have worked together and worked hard to put the city in a good financial position. They don’t always agree, but they show respect for those who disagree.

They work through differences to reach consensus on choices that are truly beneficial to the citizens and the city.

I, too, was dubious because of perceived lack of transparency from the previous council.

After a little time in office and getting an understanding of the way things work, the other side is that some things simply couldn’t be accomplished in any other way.

It is difficult to trust public officials these days, but I hope there is some reassurance here somewhere that your council members are working together, regardless of party lines, to keep this town going in a good direction. And I’m happy to be a part of it.

Finally, a huge shout out to Rick Papp. What a great guy – surely to be missed in this community, especially at Christmas. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.