Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of representative government has been demonstrated on the front pages of this newspaper and in our January issue of Valdosta Scene magazine. Stories and photos have detailed how local elected officials take their oaths of office, offer what they plan to do, are welcomed onto various boards. There have been articles with photos of the smiling faces of new officials or a solemn expression as a hand is raised to take an oath.

They are neither stories of how a local official seized power in a bloody coup nor a story of how an incumbent official refused to leave office. The headlines have not been charged or violent, but the stories of our elected officials taking office have been no less important.

Perhaps just as important, possibly more so, than our right to vote is our elected officials accepting the outcome of an election. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the chief hallmarks of a successful representative government. Each ousted official quietly leaving office and each newly elected official taking an oath to uphold his or her duties demonstrates a tenet of American democracy on a local, state or national scale that goes back to the nation’s early days of George Washington’s refusal to seek a third term as president and, of paramount importance, President John Adams stepping down after losing a bid for a second term to his chief political adversary Thomas Jefferson.

So, at this time of a local changing of the elected guard, as past officials leave office, as new ones enter, and as some incumbents renew their oaths, we take a moment to thank departing officials for their services, pray that new and remaining officials lead our region well, and appreciate the power and importance of a peaceful transfer of power.

With so many new local officials stepping into their respective first terms of office, we would also remind them that they have four years before their next election. We would hope that each new official takes a little time to assess the situation of his office, department and staff before making dramatic changes in policy or personnel.

There is no need to rush into changes. The job is yours for the next four years, and possibly longer, if guided by a steady hand. Your first few months can define your legacy in your position. We elected you to make tough choices. We hope they are the right ones.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video

Recommended for you