Stepping into public office and out of the editorial pages

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

I guess by now you’ve heard the news: I’ve been appointed as a new county commissioner.

It’s not until you spend time talking with folks about the issues, research the perspectives, attend meetings, go through the mail or embrace the daunting task of reading 300-600 pages of material each month can one grasp the formidable challenge it takes to be in public office.

I’m most honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve. David Sandifer was truly a mentor to me and his death struck as if he was a member of my own family. In no respect can I seek to replace him, as his shoes are too big to fill and he’s a hard act to follow.

David knew the people, the issues, the implications and the challenges as only a seasoned veteran could. This means the learning curve for me is straight up, and I want you all to know I will do my very best to meet these challenges head on and continue the work David was doing.

Things have changed radically for me as I am meeting on a daily basis with various individuals at the county government complex to get up to speed. I’ve been impressed with the passion and dedication they all have.

We have some really great people serving all of us, and unfortunately I don’t think they get the recognition for the hard work they’re doing. (At least I didn’t know how complicated and demanding their positions were until I had the chance to sit down and talk with them.)

I’ve also discovered those in charge constantly seek ways to make government more cost-effective, helping to limit the increasing cost of exponential growth while doing everything possible to be proactive to the challenges which confront us.

They don’t do this for recognition, nor do they mention it, but this is evident when you look at the paperwork, look at the things they’re doing and the level of service they provide.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my articles, putting up with my perspectives and being as supportive as you have.

I am most grateful for this, and I’ve always appreciated your insight, even when it has been counter to mine.

This is part of the challenge and the process, learning and respecting the various perspectives, understanding the dynamics and finally acting upon what you believe is best for everyone.

I also want to leave you with a few thoughts. I know you can have better government, better schools and a better community if you get involved. If you stay home, we all lose.

Consider attending city and county meetings on a regular basis, be a participant instead of a spectator and learn the issues before us.

It’s been said many hands make light work, but the reality is few hands make very difficult work. Get involved in the community and leave this place a better place as David Sandifer did.

Volunteer your time and learn the issues. If we all did this, Brunswick County will be known for more than just a great vacation place, it will be even better known due to its outstanding citizens working hard for benefit of everyone.

MARTY COOKE is a local businessman and columnist for the Beacon. Reach him at martincooke777@gmail.com.