Our New Elected Leaders Should Come Armed with Questions

What an interesting election we have just experienced. Congratulations to those who have been elected to serve our community and nation. Thanks also to those unsuccessful candidates who were brave enough to participate in the election process.

Now comes the hard part — governing.

In my early life I was privileged to work for U.S. Senator Tom Eagleton. He was a very bright man who was always reading and talking to others with different points of view. I remember former Republican Senators Barry Goldwater, Ed Brooke, Henry Bellmon, Jacob Javits and John Danforth used to be in his office a lot talking about issues. These were times that regardless of your party affiliation, elected officials were not afraid to talk and learn from each other.

I sure hope that our new elected officials have this same attitude when they assume their new roles in Topeka, Jefferson City and Washington. DC. Elected official need to be continual learners – always searching for new ways to improve our economy, protect our safety and security and provide an appropriate service delivery system to the underserved.

My fear is that too many of the folks elected this week think they already have all the answers to our state and national problems. Instead of answers, they should have questions and inquiring minds so that they can keep learning from their colleagues and constituents in the months and years ahead. In my judgment, before elected officials can lead effectively, they must first listen, learn and communicate. An elected official with a closed mind is not helpful to our democracy.


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