You thought 2022 was a rocky ride? Hang on for 2023.

Our county leaders face some daunting tasks right out of the gate. 

The Board of Supervisors will be coping with the most challenging budget work of its term while also working to push through to adoption a new zoning ordinance that will set development rules for the next decade or two—rules that are critical to get right. 

The School Board and division administrators will be pushing to regain both credibility and stability following the fallout from the disclosures made public by the special grand jury.

Their work will be conducted while being in full-blown campaign mode. All nine supervisor seats and all nine School Board seats will be on November’s ballot—along with all five of the county’s constitutional officer positions. All 140 seats in the General Assembly will be put to the voters as well.

Into that we stir in the dysfunction that comes with a highly polarized electorate drawing its energy from the extremes of both political parties, creating a recipe more for chaos than success.

In election years, some local leaders become paralyzed, too afraid to offend some one constituency or another. Others devote their energy to political grandstanding, hoping to score points with little regard for the practical impacts of their actions. Both approaches should be disqualifying in the eyes of voters. 

There also are some who continue to put in the work, made the hard decisions based on the best interests of the community, and trust the voters to value the effort. When that approach no longer works, the voters have only themselves to blame.

It is too soon to tell where 2023’s crop of political leaders will take us, but buckle up.  

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