How leaders reacted during crisis should be judged by voters

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To the Editor:

The COVID-19 crisis highlights two well-known phrases, “all politics is local” and “knowledge is power.”

The move to re-open our economy is being largely driven by state and local leaders. We should know how they acted before making important decisions this year.

We are so busy either loving or hating President Trump that we lose sight of the fact that he cannot drive re-opening our economy himself. Federal leadership and power are limited statutorily and constitutionally in this area. The decision-making authority rests with our governor, state legislators, county commissions.

How we vote this year should depend largely on how they performed in the time of crisis.

While Governor Parson governs quietly, his actions speak well of him. He did not rush to close the state in panic, as did many other governors. He allowed local governments to guide the initial restrictions on movement. When he did act, he acted judiciously, and limited his Stay at Home Order to a couple weeks.

His plan to reopen Missouri’s economy acknowledges both the need to reopen the economy and the rights of local governments to adopt stricter orders where necessary.

The Gasconade County Commission has been largely absent in leadership, especially in providing information to the public. While the Commission does not hire employees for the Gasconade County Health Department, it does have concurrent decision-making power and could have reigned in the Health Department’s original overreach and also pushed for greater transparency and release of information to the public.

The Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department went above and beyond in keeping the public informed. Sheriff Williams was the sole source of COVID-19 information early on, and still bests the County Commission and Health Department daily, even though doing so is not a job requirement. While he is not on the ballot this year, Sheriff Williams warrants our praise and support until he leaves office.

Local business and civic organizations should have been at the forefront in helping develop economic policies during the crisis. You should also educate yourselves about their actions in driving policies and protecting local businesses.

If they helped drive policy and protect local businesses, they are worthy of your participation and support. If they did not, you should act accordingly in deciding whether to support them in the future.

We have the power to help mold policy during the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Please take the time to gather information and ask questions. Push beyond your comfort levels and participate armed with the facts. When you go to the polls or support organizations, do so knowing how your leaders reacted under fire.

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