Last night was one of those great meetings where it was genuinely fun to be an elected official. Agenda item: awards and recognition.
In addition to being an author, I’m what most people think about as a county commissioner, though that’s not the language we use here. My county is a largely rural, midwestern county with a university town in our micro-metro area, part of which I represent.
Last summer our local 4H cow judging team took the state championship, and then went on to nationals where they also won. This is unusual for two reasons, my county is relatively tiny and most state teams are an all star slate instead of a single county team.
Until they came before the board to present on that last fall, I didn’t even know we had a cow judging team, much less what it does. But they cheerfully educated us on the topic.
Having won nationals, our cow judging team was invited to the international competition in Scotland. The county helped pay their way. Last night they came back in to report on how they did and to thank us.
Fun for me both because we helped them along and because I have spent many happy weeks in Scotland where I was married in 1994. So, lots of slides of places I know.
But, even better, they did very well. For the world cow judging competition, they split our four person team into two sub teams. They took 3rd and 6th place. They also took 1st individual, and 1st individual for showmanship.
The young woman who was their lead person on the report was the one who took 1st individual. She was poised smart, and focused. She was also a dead ringer for Hermione Granger, which warmed my geeky heart.
So, why do I bring all of this up?
Because, these smart and talented young people from a tiny rural county were significantly helped by local government. Too often, we hear about government getting it wrong. I thought it was worth pointing out a place where government got it right.
It’s also worth pointing out that in a representative democracy, WE are the government. Me more directly than many, but it always comes down to us, either as the people making and implementing policy, or as voters choosing who will do those things for us.
This is exactly why I am now serving my 5th term despite low compensation, and the drain on time and energy that I could be sinking into my primary job of writing fiction. Because it’s important, and someone needs to do it.