GUEST EDITORIAL – The Responsibilities of Leadership and Citizenship – Claudia Woodward-Rice

cwr2 (408x508)Claudia Woodward-Rice lives in Central Park and is Treasurer of the Al Smith for Commissioner District #3 campaign.


The Responsibilities of Leadership and Citizenship

The issue of leadership has come up on the Harbor again and again lately. While the people struggle to inform themselves about possible impacts from Crude-by-Rail, and a proposed change of GH Community Hospital structure from non-profit to public- we find that elected leaders (and some hoping to be elected) are uninformed and un-informing.

Why did Port Commissioners rubber-stamp Crude-by-Rail?

Why didn’t our state senators and representatives bring the hospital issue to our attention two years ago?

We elect people and pay them to do some of the jobs we don’t have time to do ourselves: fully research issues, and report their findings honestly; and engage public awareness about decisions that need to be made in a timely manner so there is no rush to judgment. At least that is what we should be able to expect from our elected officials.

Too often “leaders” don’t do their homework, and wait until issues are full-blown before they choose a position. Or they choose to ride the coattails of Corporate honchos even when this is detrimental to the communities they represent. This go-along-to-get-along attitude is the norm, but Grays Harbor can no longer afford it.

Citizens have responsibilities too. We elect leaders and sometimes we need to ask why more good people don’t run? We need to hold those in office accountable, and consider replacing them with the community-minded who would truly represent us.. We need to go to city and county meetings, engage our neighbors and participate. The sacrifices made over the generations so we can be free citizens should not be taken lightly. They need to be paid for with our active participation: It really is Use-it-or-Lose-it.

Complacency and apathy are signs of defeat. But there is a new energy on the Harbor, people are meeting, researching, speaking out. Those who might not normally travel in the same circles are sharing information and finding common ground. We live here: it is up to us to make the decisions that affect our lives and community.

We don’t have to sit and wait for the powers-that-be to decide the conditions of our lives. Let’s take it into our own hands and be Democracy on the Harbor. It’s the path to success and it comes with a spirit of joy that might amaze you.

Claudia Woodward-Rice lives in Central Park and is Treasurer of the Al Smith for Commissioner District #3 campaign.

4 thoughts on “GUEST EDITORIAL – The Responsibilities of Leadership and Citizenship – Claudia Woodward-Rice

  1. “Complacency and apathy are signs of defeat.” I couldn’t possibly agree more! It’s so important for community members to remember elected officials were placed into position by the community to serve and represent it. No one has been selected by divine right to rule as lord and master whilst infantilizing the public.

  2. Alright Claudia…you knocked it out of the park on this one. Fan–freakin–tastic! You said so elequently exactly what we–the people for the people–believe, and are working toward in a relentless way. This beautiful, unique region deserves our care and attention. We can find people to help us in that endeavor–if we monitor closely and stay tuned to a less than transparent constituency. As our hospital district and the crude oil issue has shown us in the most ugly of terms, no one cares about us but us–each of us is responsible and it is exciting that there does seem to be somewhat of an awakening here. Going global to help petroleum companies secure even more than 167 billion dollars a year profit is not my idea of keeping our region safe and sound and moving forward. Thank you, Claudia–your editorial was a gift–at least to me.

    • Thank you so much, Carol! And thanks to Tom for his active presence in this community. We do have a voice, and he gives us another way to connect with each other.

  3. And Claudia was hesitant to write…scheech…..this lady can write. I hope we can arm twist Carol and Claudia to do more of it.

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