We had a great campaign kick-off on the 14th with lots of enthusiasm and energy among those in the crowd. If you missed the event at Cafe Mileto, you missed seeing a fine restaurant and interacting with many supporters of our issues.
I enjoyed sharing my thoughts and getting feedback from the audience. Now I'd like to hear from you - what are the concerns that you would like to see addressed? I'm continuing to hear complaints about traffic, ICC tolls, and the need for new jobs in the county; I promise to work on several of those issues when elected. Many in the county are hopeful that we can get many jobs promised by Northup Grumman if they decide to locate here. But then that remains a question - are they going to come to the county - if so when and how many jobs will be created?
The county budget is another serious issue. Cuts are going to happen. Frequently we see each interest group or non-profit giving reasons why their particular programs should not be reduced. Since some say we all need to feel the pain; where would you cut programs if you were the person with the budget scissor? Half of our tax dollars fund education - over 2.3 Billion Dollars. Another huge chunk is in fixed expenses, such as employee salaries and supplies and maintenance for county buildings. Discretionary spending is a small proportion, but that is an area from which many cuts will come. Furloughs, as I understand them, will be phased out across the year, so paychecks will get smaller but will continue as scheduled. Some savings will come through attrition; as employees leave their jobs will be discontinued.
This is a major problem. I will not claim to have a magic bullet, but I do know that we need to approach this issue with care and concern. Let me learn of your priorities - send a reply here - let's start a dialogue.