DECLARATIONS of Independence, Fall/Winter 2017 2 MESSAGE FROM THE MAYOR I recently returned from a conference in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American independence. I had the pleasure of traveling there with our police chief and assistant chief. Because law enforcement is a brother/sisterhood (and I happened to be a fortunate bystander), local officers arranged a private tour of Independence Hall for us. Words cannot express the awesome feeling of standing in the very spot where our forefathers stood as they conceived, enumerated, debated and ultimately declared the principles our nation was built on. Foremost among these wasagovernment“ofthepeople.”Sodowefeellikewehaveavoiceinagovernment of the people, and how are we using it? These are things that went through my head as I stood in that historic spot. It was particularly relevant, as I have been somewhat outspoken about the state pension crisis recently. I greatly admire the Governor and the state legislators for having the courage to take on this incredibly challenging issue that must be addressed.And I agree with many of the proposed solutions, but disagree with others.That’s the nature of democracy. Ironically, a final draft of the bill arrived as I’m writing this. While I look forward to delving into the 505 pages, I thought I’d finish talking to you all first. My point here is not to make a pension argument. Rather, the last couple of months have caused me to think about the voice of the people. At times I have been frustrated, feeling like my voice hasn’t been heard.I’ve wondered if I should have tried harder or done more to get the information out to the citizens. I’ve wondered if any amount of effort would have been listened to at a state level. I’m sure I’ll continue to wrestle with these questions. But, that timely trip to Philadelphia reminded me that a government of the people comes with a great deal of responsibility – the responsibility to be informed, to be heard and to utilize that precious free speech. Personally, I believe it is also incumbent upon us to use it responsibly and remain respectful in our conversations, regardless of differences. I hope that we will all participate in this wonderful gift in the days and years ahead. I will say, it’s easier here at home. I often talk about the “Kroger Factor” of accountability in local government.If you don’t like something we’ve done, we may hear about it at the deli or in the dairy aisle. This time of year, I may hear about it in my own kitchen as you visit my home during the ChristmasWalk. That’s why I try so hard on my Cherry Cordial Hot Chocolate – hoping the emphasis will be on “Cordial” no matter what the topic. I hope to see you at the Christmas Walk and wish you and your family a very blessed and happy holiday season! CORRECTION: In our last issue I stated the original Courthouse burned.That appears to be incorrect. It was razed in 1911 after it reportedly fell into disrepair. Best Regards, Mayor Chris Reinersman