Transition of power

Fresh faces all around.
The new year brings with it new people in positions of authority in our local sphere, more than the normal transition of power we’re accustomed to every two to four years.
At the city, school, county, state and national level we welcome newcomers to the table, thanking them in advance for their willingness to serve. Challenges await our newly elected representatives, especially in Washington, and you have to give credit to the folks who have thrown themselves into the mix.
At City Hall, there will soon be three new faces at the city council table, and Mayor Dave Long, though a two-year veteran on the council, is adjusting to a new role. Dan Bartling and Dottie Anderson join the council as newcomers and within a month or so we can expect to see a new city administrator. That’s a significant level of change in leadership at all one time!
Down the street at the courthouse, two of the five chairs around the commissioner’s table have new occupants in Becky Richter and Richard Nelson. They’ll have to hit the ground running, with several issues dialed up for their immediate input. Two new members also join the Aurora 4R School Board in Cory Ohlson and Cyndi Muilenburg.
In Lincoln, Sen. Curt Friesen seems poised and anxious to begin serving the 34th district as one of 18 new freshman senators. That in itself is a tidal wave of change for a 49-member body, but especially in light of the fact that Nebraska now has a new governor for the first time in a decade. Pete Ricketts will bring a vastly different tone to state government.
Sen. Ben Sasse sounded brilliant on the campaign trail, but now the rubber hits the road in a somewhat hostile environment where partisan politics too often rules the day. Here’s hoping Sasse can stay above the fray and become a difference maker, sooner than later.
At all levels, one factor needed here at home is engagement. Share your thoughts with elected representatives or their staffs. Stay tuned to the issues, whether they involve 1st street paving, renovating the law enforcement center, property tax revisions, or the Keystone XL pipeline.
Our new leaders, at all levels of government, will be so much more effective if they have an engaged citizenry offering insight and feedback at every turn.
Kurt Johnson

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