IN MY OPINION:   City election is crucial

Contributing writer

It’s 6:30 a.m. on Sunday and I haven’t been home for 12 hours yet since returning from a high school mission trip to Vero Beach, Fla. The mission trip was wonderful and Marion should be proud of the young men and women we are raising in our community.

I was able to spend eight days with 13 of them and in every situation, they worked well together and served others in the process. Over the next few weeks I’m sure you will hear more about what these students accomplished by giving up their spring break to serve.

We drove more than 3,200 miles and in the process saw many places in 10 different states. One of the states that we drove through was Arkansas. On the way to Florida, I was struck by the beauty of the hills and the clarity of the streams and creeks.

On the way back to Kansas we came into Arkansas from the south and drove through some towns that at one point had a lot of good things going for them. What they had in common now, however, was boarded-up schools, dilapidated houses, and evidence that people were just trying to make it. As we drove through these communities, I wondered if there was a moment during the life of the town when a decision was made that brought the town to its present state.

In less than a week, we as a community will be casting ballots for local leadership. I have been in Marion for eight years now and I love this community. This is where my wife and I want to raise our children and where we want to live. From what I observe, we are at a pivotal moment in the life of our town.

Will we cast votes that aim to move our community forward or will we cast votes that seek to maintain the slow and steady decline we have been experiencing the last few years? The very truth is that no community maintains the status quo; it is either improving or declining.

It is time that the voters in Marion make a clear statement that we are hopeful about the future of our town. Some of you have already voted. It is my hope that you voted wisely and intentionally with two eyes on the future of our town.

For those of us who have yet to vote it is imperative that we consider which candidates are best equipped to lead us forward and discern between them and the candidates that are seeking to maintain a status quo that simply does not exist. We can no longer afford to be idle and passive. Our involvement begins by casting our votes and then working with those elected to improve the town that we love.

This election will make a statement about who we are as a community. It will reveal that we are either a town looking forward with hope or a town looking backward with fear.

This is no time for fear. This is time for hope, let us be wise and vote in such a way that these thirteen high school students will know that the future of their town is secure and with some investment of time, money, and effort, on each of our parts, Marion could even be a place that they could come and raise their own families down the road.

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