Every year I join the members of The Community Advisory Committee to visit all 11 elected city and county officials within our region to inform them about the work of the Foundation within their community and to listen and discuss the health needs in their community.
I also spend time in Jefferson City and Topeka talking to elected and appointed officials and while these leaders may work on the same issues, it is amazing the different cultures that exist.
At the local level, folks actually communicate with each other to plan and work on issues together. While the work is demanding and intense, you see folks smiling and actually making progress. Sure they have arguments but you sense a “can do attitude”. Lately, in our two state capitols all you see in is bitterness and anger. Distrust is rampant, even within the same political party. Transparency and accountability are hard to find.
Some would argue that the legislative process in Jeff City and Topeka is dysfunctional. With the needs that exist today, this type of dysfunction is paralyzing to improving our community. Our elected state officials are dealing with real issues that make a difference in the lives of the citizens they represent.
While out of the legislative session, I would encourage state elected officials to visit their local city council and county legislative meetings and watch how much can be accomplished when people work together in a respectful and transparent manner. The bitterness and distrust that exist in Jeff City and Topeka does not make for good legislative outcomes. We can and must do better!
Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.