By JOHN RUNKLE
and JOHN GULLO
We write again, together, to thank the public for its support of the downsizing proposal recently approved by the voters of Chautauqua County with approximately 87 percent of the vote.
We were not surprised by the outcome, though others may have been.
The beauty of the public referendum is that it allows the People to speak on issues directly.
Many times, our elected representatives make mistakes in interpreting what the People want.
Sometimes, these mistakes are innocent and the representative sincerely misunderstands the will of the People. Other times, perhaps, the misunderstanding is less sincere. The public referendum corrects all.
In two years, a smaller number of legislative seats will be voted upon. The highest number will be 19, but it could be less. The incoming Legislature will decide upon that number in the coming year. If you feel strongly about some number, please make it known to Legislators.
We believe that a smaller number of Legislators will make each of them more responsive to the broader interests of the county.
However, the People must be vigilant. We must hold our elected officials accountable. We must all pay attention to our elected officials and their votes. We must educate ourselves on the issues.
Serving in an elected office is not a right. Each elected official must earn the position each election. A smaller legislature will make it more obvious who gets the credit, or blame, for our county. That is our hope.
Last, but not least, we need smart, honest, open-minded people to serve in elected office.
Political party is almost irrelevant in the serious business of the county. Please consider offering yourself for service to your community in an elected role for a short period of time.
Regular people serving in office for a short time, then returning to their private lives was the idea of the Founders of this Nation.
Let's make that idea the reality.
John Runkle of District 6 and John Gullo of District 25 are both Chautauqua County legislators.