Romer: Compromise and collaboration are essential for our community |

Romer: Compromise and collaboration are essential for our community

Regional issues can lead to political conflict; political conflict leads to stagnation. In order to preserve our local autonomy and success, it is essential that we work together regionally — both within our valley and with our neighboring counties and the state.

Collaboration and compromise are essential to solving problems and creating a more sustainable community. How do we make Eagle County a better place to live? How do we work together to solve community problems? Leaders across public and private sectors need to actively address this question within their business, organization, or community.

The long-term economic health of Eagle County is dependent upon solidifying an economic base that is strong, diverse, and resilient. Our efforts need to focus on building sustainable communities that can thrive indefinitely. Our communities derive extraordinary economic and social benefits from the ongoing health and beauty of our natural environment.

Respecting this heritage, local elected officials and other leaders need to continue to work to strengthen our economy in diverse, collaborative, and sustainable ways that fit the particular context of our communities. We need to continue to ask ourselves if the decisions, policies and programs that we pursue are likely to create outcomes that are economically viable, environmentally sound and socially acceptable.

No action (stagnation) creates dire consequences for our economy and our citizens. Reaching the goal of economic vitality requires us to secure an ample supply of quality workers across industry sectors and to focus efforts on retaining the businesses — and people — that call Eagle County home.

I’m bullish on Eagle County. Why? The leadership in place throughout the county, in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, is focused on community sustainability and meaningfully addressing our challenges. As President Dwight Eisenhower said, leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. What exactly is it that we want done in Eagle County?

Numerous surveys (including those commissioned by Vail Valley Partnership, Eagle County, and EcoTransit, among others) show that our community places a high level of importance on workforce housing, transportation and transit, early childhood, health care, and increasingly, mental health. These community challenges continue to rise to the top of our community priorities.    

Community sustainability and addressing our challenges requires us to balance economic sustainability (is this policy or program likely to result in outcomes that are economically viable and will preserve and enhance quality of life?), environmental sustainability (is this policy or program likely to result in outcomes that are environmentally sound and will preserve and enhance quality of life?) and social sustainability (is this policy or program likely to result in outcomes that are socially acceptable and will preserve and enhance quality of life?).

It is the job of leaders to develop a vision — establish what matters and articulate why — and set direction and inspire others. Leadership does not rely on one’s title, seniority, or ability to exert power.

Easy to say, and harder to do. But we’re on the right track in Eagle County due to a focus on addressing issues in a manner that recognizes big issues cannot be addressed without working together. Successful communities find ways to collaborate, coordinate, cooperate, and compromise.

Housing, transit, health care, child care, behavioral health and other issues are being addressed, because the right players are working together and recognize that pragmatism trumps dogmatism.

Good leaders want the entire community to succeed and recognize that collaboration and compromise are the path to success.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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