Honoring those who got us here

Independence Day: wonderful gatherings of friends and family to celebrate!

But then it makes me wonder, what are we celebrating 242 years later? Are we celebrating our freedom from English oppression or being the greatest nation in history or the safe and secure life we have or all the material blessings God has given to us?

As I reflect, I believe we are celebrating by honoring the personal sacrifices the founders of our republic made to create this form of government that is still admired and desired by so many people throughout the world.

The government that they gifted to all of us provides representation at all levels of government with the critical and necessary set of checks and balances.

In the coming days, we have two very important portions of our role as “We the People” that require our direct involvement with government and specifically, our elected representatives.

These events are local budget creation and the elections to determine our elected representatives for the coming two to four years.

Our current elected officials are counting on our recommendations to set budget priorities and ultimately where your tax dollars will be invested. At the same time, they need to know what level of taxation is really acceptable and desirable to support the programs and services that are important to you and your family.

Of course, when you’re dealing with money and family, you’re touching the passions at the core of us all. So, please remember as you visit with your elected officials, mutual respect and open dialogue is the most effective way to have your voice heard and known.

I am confident in sharing this on behalf of all your elected representatives, those serving on the county commission, city councils, township boards, school boards, hospital district boards, and yes, even in the Kansas House and Senate.

I guess that brings us to the next really important event in government. The primary election to determine the candidates for the November elections and ultimately the leaders we will place our trust in for the up coming years.

The second paragraph of the Declaration of Indepen­dence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. […]”

I believe this means we have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to engage in the elections process. Your vote and the votes of your friends, neighbors, and family do make a difference.

A final thought as I head out the door with my children and grandchildren to celebrate July 4, consider that our community was achieved by people from very differing backgrounds and cultures coming together to achieve a common dream or vision for a better life for their future generational family. They placed others ahead of themselves in a manner of giving of time, talents, and treasures to serve the greater community and God.

This is what has sustained our form of government and community for 242 years. Let’s all look for more ways to serve our communities in ways that will leverage our time, talents, and treasures for the next 242-plus years.

Every church, non-profit, community foundation, economic development group, and governmental advisory board in Marion County has a place for you at their table to make a difference.

Be courageous like the founding men and women of our nation and make that difference through being involved.

Todd Heitschmidt, Mayor of Marion

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