Be Welcoming To Fresh Faces In Local Politics

For years, organizations and individuals have tried to encourage young people to come back home and have also worked to encourage others not from the area to relocate here. As an example, an effort with this in mind began years ago as a goal of the city’s Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission. Initially the effort was slow in gaining momentum. More recently however, the effort has been gaining steam. Simultaneously, many organizations are focusing on the need to fill their ranks and are providing employment opportunities, thus offering another incentive for folks to return or relocate. Others are providing linkages between people and jobs, including job training. Another example that I have been involved in is the city’s Health Care Action Team, which has adopted a long-term program called “Grow Our Own” assisting health care aspirants in their career path with the end game of encouraging them to return after completing their education and training.

Due in part to efforts of encouragement, networking and recruitment, we now have a promising group of new folks eager to live, work and raise a family right here. Many of us have encouraged them to find ways to get involved and invest in Jamestown. They have not only added to the work force but have contributed in education, arts and music, sports, churches, non-profits, and on the boards of various organizations working to make Jamestown better. This generation seems to collaborate and partner intuitively, important ingredients for forward progress. Their talents, work ethic, dedication, community awareness and sensitivity to residents’ concerns are apparent.

A number of new faces, including some younger citizens, are eager to participate in government and elected office. This is something Jamestown hasn’t seen in a good while. They should be encouraged to participate, without regard for political party affiliation. Jamestown is too small a city to engage in partisanship when we have so many things to tackle and solve and when there are obvious common goals. Thinking out of the box and knowing that it’s not possible to “get blood out of stone”, are important traits. So, when new people and new ideas are brought forward, we should give them a chance. Politics can be scary at times. It would be a real downer for our area to undermine good, qualified people who want to contribute. People working together for common goals, with respect, honesty and integrity can be transformative.

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney is a Jamestown resident.