I don’t remember where I heard the line “Government is by the people who show up.” It is very true. In Woodstock I have been on the Transportation Commission for 11 years and found it a demanding task to review city changes that need to be studied, and looking to future impact. The commission participated in lively discussions on challenging topics with no clear answer. We ask at every meeting for public input and there is rarely someone in attendance.
The people that step up and run for elective office and succeed can change their constituents’ lives and their comfort level in the community. The volunteers, of which there are many but never enough, do tremendous work to make everything a little better. They have an influence on the directions the city, township, county, and state take. Everyone can make a contribution of their time or intellect or both as their circumstances allow.
In doing so the volunteer gets exposed to information they would not get elsewhere. Getting to talk to the elected officials or municipal employees is always another step on the learning curve for everyone. It also allows them to hear another point of view or idea they may not have encountered if the volunteer was not there.
The Woodstock Transportation Commission, over the past nine years, has been working with Project Lead the Way engineering students at Woodstock High on projects within the city to include a roundabout, an intersection, potholes, pedestrian bridges among others. Each project was a real-world issue that demonstrated nothing is as easy as you think or as cheap as you would hope. The students were exposed to the demands of the real world as the tasks were daunting. The difficulty comes as a big surprise, especially costs. In the end, they propose a solution and get to understand a little more about the world they live in.
This letter hopefully will increase the number of participants involved in the growth of Woodstock and coming changes. You will find that the more you get involved the more you may want to get involved and that your voice matters regardless of your age or station.
Go to the city and county websites and look for surveys asking for input from citizens. Get on the email list to get a monthly letter from the City Manager and the County Board Chairman to know what is going on. You can watch meetings on the internet and get a better feel. There are always many things going on.
Source: The Daily Chronicle