A holiday wish for Eagle County | VailDaily.com

A holiday wish for Eagle County

Debbie Buckley

Too often in partisan politics we focus on our differences, instead of focusing on what we, the people, have in common.

For example, members of both parties have said that fiscal responsibility is a priority and that government should be run like a business. The taxpayers of both parties agree that they don’t want to pay for government spending that is wasteful. When we get into the details of what is wasteful and what is essential the differences start to emerge.

I think we also agree on other issues, even though we may differ on the appropriate method to achieve solutions. For example, most people want a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Most people believe that climate change is happening, even if they disagree on the cause for the change. Most people are in favor of recycling, however we are split on whether it should be mandated by law or encouraged by making it as easy as possible.

The majority of the 400 Eagle County residents who participated in the recent survey agreed on a lot of issues. They gave high ratings to Eagle County for public safety, emergency response and bike trails. Thanks to Joe Hoy and Ellie Caryl and their staffs for their diligence in these areas.

Of those polled, 82 percent believe that open space buffer zones should be established between towns and community centers. Most of us want to preserve some green space and parks, although we may disagree on the funding for and location of these places. Wherever the location, access to open space is important to us.

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And I don’t know anyone who wants to pay a penny more than they absolutely have to in taxes. We agree that taxes are necessary for obvious needs like public safety and roads, but we disagree on the “extra tax dollars” spent for things like open space and child care. We agree that quality child care is important to the future of the county, but we differ on whether child care is best done by the government or by the family.

The other individual service ratings that are under the majority approval rating, like traffic congestion and affordable housing, will require balanced solutions that involve listening to the ideas and input of a wide variety of county residents and businesses. Clearly the county government will have to listen to citizens to come up with fair and equitable solutions to the issues that must be tackled. The business community must be an important voice in the affordable housing debates.

“Peace on Earth” is the gift that everyone wants this holiday season. So where does that peace start? Let’s start right here in the hearts of the citizens of Eagle County. Individually, we may not have a lot of influence in the global peace efforts, but we each have a voice in the future of Eagle County. Let’s listen to each other’s opinions and focus on solutions that will make a lot more than 51 percent of Eagle County residents happy.

Peace requires action. It may be actively listening to someone you usually disagree with on political issues. It might be finding a new way to express your own political views without anger and name calling. Or it might just mean biting your tongue and agreeing to disagree when there is a stalemate. There is nothing wrong with a difference of opinion, but the expression of it should be civil. If the conversation is not civil, people will stop listening. If different opinions are not encouraged, the solutions will end up being less creative.

During this holiday season and in the upcoming election year, let’s have healthy, peaceful discussions about our political differences. Let’s find bi-partisan solutions together as a community.

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