Opinion

On 2021: Challenges and opportunities for local government

The Gazette asked community leaders to write short commentaries reflecting on 2020 and their hopes for 2021

The coming New Year will be a critical test for anyone serving in local government and elected office. The historic events of 2020 have transcended all social, economic and political boundaries and each of us has experienced our own unique impacts as well as shared experiences with our neighbors and community members.

The test for local government will be how well we move forward under the shadow of national political discord, decreased local funding and increased need for services. We will likely be asked to do more with less and transparency will be critical. People trust and engage local government more because of the direct, tangible effects local government has on our day to day lives. It will be paramount for any of us in local office or serving in local government to be patient, thoughtful and consistent as we navigate the fallout of the last 12 months.

2021 will be a year of recovery and reflection, of healing and enduring, of patience and progress. I’m optimistic that those of us entrusted with elected office, particularly at the local level, will step up to the challenges and live up to those expectations.

Brad Kunkel is sheriff-elect of Johnson County.

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