Thursday, September 29, 2016

Last week, we had two stories regarding resignations from individuals in public offices. One school board member supposedly moved out of district, and one alderman resigned for apparent health reasons. I’m beginning to see a trend where our local politics are concerned.

Medical issues and other emergency situations aside, if you can’t serve the term, don’t run for the office. If you are interested in dipping your toes into the political arena, I urge you to educate yourself on what it is you’re getting into, what is expected of you, the commitments and the processes. Maybe attend some meetings to get a feel for what actually goes on. I can’t even begin to estimate how many school board meetings, public hearings, city aldermen meetings or otherwise I’ve covered where I am the sole community member in attendance.

Time and again I have seen people run for different offices whom I’ve never seen at a meeting, who don’t have any experience in government or education, and who are simply in over their heads from the get go.

Those who are committed elected officials end up feeling the burden of those vacancies. Running for office, in whatever capacity, is not a status symbol, a social experiment or a popularity contest and should not be taken lightly. A public office is a job, with deadlines, homework, expectations and commitment. It requires leadership, organization, time-management and people skills. Most importantly, it requires someone who will take the job seriously.

Our local governments deserve better. Our elected officials deserve better colleagues. Our community deserves better. Being elected to public office isn’t akin to winning a game. Elected terms are marathons, not foot races. If you cannot stand that simple test, don’t put your name on the ballot.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Journalism has always been part of my life. When I was little, my mom was the yearbook advisor for Grandview High School. I remember being barely six years old and poring over photos of teenagers I didn’t know, picking up on everything that was discussed by my mom and her students. As years went by, and I went through different grades in school, the yearbook was always my favorite part of the end of the year.

I used to study it. Page after page, name after name, class after class, I’d memorize it. For me, I felt like I was a part of something that would sit on someone’s shelf for years to come, and they’d open it every once in a while to reminisce. The first chance I had, I joined that same yearbook staff that my mom had managed years before.

Mr. Brown took over where learning from my mom had left off. I learned new editing software, layout design, practiced my photography skills and wrote story after story for the four years of my high school career. I loved everything about the journalism classes I took. I loved the people, I loved my teacher and I loved my product.

My junior year, I became editor of the yearbook. It seemed to me to be my destiny. I took other classes, too, to work on my skills before college. Ms. Wall taught desktop publishing and public relations. I joined Quill and Scroll, took pictures at Homecoming and got the yearbook out on time for the first time in years. I was proud.

Today, I’m still just as proud. Each week, I pour my heart and soul into this paper. I’m privileged to be out in the community on a daily basis, meeting some amazing people and telling their stories. I have (knock on wood) never missed a deadline and I still believe that a newspaper and journalism are vital to this and any community. Through no other medium can you get the stories of your neighbors, the latest on city government, school district information, features on businesses you frequent and obituaries on those community members who have passed on.

I believe wholeheartedly in the profession of journalism. I live it and I breathe it everyday, in everything that I do; I always have. The Missouri Press Association also believes in this work, and they believe in me, too. I was recently selected to be on the ballot for the association’s Board of Directors to serve as its treasurer. I am very humbled and greatly honored to be considered to serve with a group of distinguished journalists from across the state, journalists who no doubt are more qualified and more experienced than I am.

Either way, I will continue to pursue my dream of telling stories, your stories, each week. I will work passionately and diligently to get the message out that Grandview and South Kansas City are home to some of the most welcoming, loving and neighborly people around. Thank you for letting me serve you.