Don’t hate me for using the “P” word.
Yes, I’m referencing “politics.” Oh, I heard your collective moan, but I’m being serious here.
We all are going to continue to be inundated with the national drama and the media hype this election year, but before your blood pressure increases, endeavor to take care of your own backyard. You’ve heard the adage: All politics is local and it’s up to all of us to shape our community. That takes some involvement and commitment (Oh, I heard that collective moan again).
I want to thank all our elected public officials. It takes a lot just to run for office, let alone serve as a county commissioner or city councilor once elected. But there are very vital ways you can get involved on a volunteer basis and make a difference.
Both the city and county have volunteer commissions covering a myriad of issues, from public art to land-use development to caring for our natural environment. Visit the city (www.durangogov.org) and county (www.co.laplata.co.us) websites to learn more about the opportunities. Your voice is valuable, regardless of the contentious “P” word going around.
The importance of local involvement was really brought home to me recently, as I just completed the nationally-accredited four-year program, Institute of Organizational Management. It was 96 hours of coursework on everything that those of us involved in business and public activity can use to help our communities. About 250 professionals from chambers and associations attended, with 58 graduating – people who want to make a difference in their communities.
Looking back, my first year I roomed with someone from Iraq. I can tell you, that was very interesting. He was in the U.S. wanting to learn more about how to bring positive capitalism to his country. In a few words, he reminded me how lucky we are in the U.S. and in Durango.
On the chamber’s website, www.durangobusiness.org, we post information generated by our Legislative Action Coalition. You don’t have to attend meetings or go to Denver. We’re trying to give you enough information to keep you informed, so you can be an involved community member and voter. Bookmark the page and check in monthly.
One more note on the “P” word: To have your voice heard nationally, Sens. Michael Bennett and Cory Gardner, and Rep. Scott Tipton, all have physical offices in Durango, staffed by local folks who are there to receive your input and hear your concerns.
And get involved with your chamber. We too exist to make our community better and our businesses stronger, and you can do it in small bites (remember, how to eat an elephant is one bite at a time). A great way to start is to join us for the Chamber Youniversity. It’s Feb. 25, 8:30-10 a.m. at the chamber office (and it’s FREE).
This is a very concise overview to help you learn more about our business services, plus find out how you can stick your toe into the pond and get more involved in the community. It’s purely informational, but please RSVP at www.durangobusiness.org. (We have seats for 25.)
Finally, I’d like to give one more shout-out to the local businesses and individuals honored at last month’s Durango Rocks! These people are those who indeed have gotten involved, and care and love our community. I’m always impressed when I see the nominations every year. Kudos to the many, many people who share their time, talents and treasures for the benefit of Durango. Join us!
“P” could also stand for “purpose.”
Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.