Give the new Alger County commissioners a shot
Alger County saw massive change to the county commission this election cycle, with three incumbents totaling over 40 years of experience losing to mostly inexperienced challengers. Missing out on the experience of Catherine Pullen, Katherine “Kappy” Laing and Jerry Doucette will bring change to the county commission and sometimes change can be a little uncomfortable or scary. But as a county, we must be careful not to accidentally disrespect the new commissioners coming in.
The people have decided that Enrico “Rick”Capogrossa, Dean Seaberg and Kelly Livermore will now represent them on the county commission, tasked with maintaining what worked well the last four years and correcting what did not. Since the election, the three have shown humility and a willingness to work in seamless transition for the benefit of all Alger County citizens. It’s exciting to see these people wanting to get to work as soon as possible. They will need to learn on the job, so keeping active with a solid work ethic will be beneficial to the county.
For those who supported the previous incumbents however, there have been a number of accidental insults towards these three newcomers. In celebrating experience or previous success, there have been numerous follow-up statements questioning whether or not the newbies can get stuff done. It’s presented as a compliment for those who served in public office, but it’s a political “bless your heart” moment for the recently elected.
Complements need to be complements and concerns need to be concerns. The three outgoing commissioners should hold their heads high for the things they did well. They did those successful things because they thought it was what was best for Alger County at the time, not because they thought it would win them an election. It’s quite disheartening to see efforts done in the best interest of their community relegated to a post-election political jab.
Hiding concerns in this manner also will have negative impact on the growth of our new commissioners. There will be new viewpoints on this commission, but that does not mean that the county will be flying off into dysfunction. Stay in contact with the new commissioners through email and by attending meetings. Be clear and concise about what issues concern you and learn about what role a county commissioner plays in local government.
As a community, the citizens of Alger County need to make sure that the new commissioners have a fighting chance to do the right thing. Feel free to thank the commissioners leaving the board for their service too. Just don’t get wordy trying to force the two together.