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Perugino: A tale of two stories
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As we approach what the media is calling the "fiscal cliff," I am sure I join many of the readers in urging their elected officials to produce more than just press releases attacking each other. Truly we can do better.

In the same spirit, I must say I was disheartened by the attitude and message of the article written last week by Barbara Morgan attacking the former majority leader, calling him an "embarrassment" among other things. What kind of personal agenda inspires someone to write a half page article attacking an elected official who recently resigned but yet ignores proven wrongdoing at home in Newton County. The last time I checked, Senator Rogers did not represent Newton County and ultimately it would have been up to the voters of his district to make such determinations. Shooting a departing leader in the back does nothing more than to foster a greater divide at a time when we really need to find areas to work together.

In sharp contrast, I was strongly encouraged by the actions of Commission Chairman-Elect Keith Ellis and the current and incoming members of the Newton County Commission. Ellis, who ran on a message of bridge building, took the initiative last month to host a get acquainted breakfast with commission members, both present and incoming, along with Republican and Democratic members of Newton County's General Assembly delegation. This very positive forward looking attitude and proactive initiative by our elected officials is a breath of fresh air. A collaborative effort by our commissioners with our state representatives will produce substantive results to benefit the people of our county. In these difficult times there is no room for divisive attitudes and personal agendas.

Governor Deal, speaking to legislators this week, warned of another tight budget for 2013. Collections are up, but still trail budget projections. Our delegation, and commissioners need to be on the same page during these critical discussion periods. It all starts with building trust and better relationships and fostering understanding versus demonization. We have many thorny issues to deal with in the upcoming years and the individual states must play a vital role in supporting and implementing solutions.

In these time of take no prisoner politics, the efforts of Ellis and the members of the commission will hopefully pay dividends at both the state and local level. It is the nature of representative government that there will always be opposing points of view and that's healthy. The key for Newton County moving forward is as someone once said, "We can disagree, but we don't have to be disagreeable." I believe that this is a message that both the folks in Washington and Barbara Morgan could much learn from.

William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at