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Looking for leaders — we need them

Mike McKibbin
McKibbin’s Scribblin’s
Mike McKibbin
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Leadership is, and has been from some time, a huge buzzword. Maybe – no, make that probably – since George Washington became America’s first president.

Even then, I’m sure he had detractors. They just didn’t take to Twitter and the Internet to voice their criticism and opposition to whatever issue Washington took up.

Maybe they just threw rocks at him. Or cherries.



Lee Hamilton, a longtime former congressman who pens commentary columns these days, has some very good and important points on leadership in his column on this page. I encourage you to read it and then think about the candidates we have running for Rifle City Council this fall.

It’s great to see seven people seeking four seats. I can recall several elections where there were barely enough people to fill the open seats. Contested elections are always a great way to fire up voters and at least get them thinking about things. Like what direction they want our leaders to take this community.



But, as Hamilton also points out, leaders don’t have to hold elected office. Maybe they do if they feel that’s the best way to help or change things.

Locally, you might say the folks at the New Ute Theatre Society or the Rifle Recreation and Community Center group are leaders. You may not agree with the need or desire for their projects; in fact, I know many of you do not, but isn’t the fact that they’re presenting ideas and projects a sign of leadership? Or at least a desire for leadership? Aren’t they trying to improve their community in some way, at least from their point of view? I think so.

And the folks backing the recreation center do not love to pay higher taxes, despite how some try to characterize them. No one enjoys seeing their paycheck get smaller.

But they obviously see things from a different view than the anti-tax crowd. And that’s fine. In fact, that’s great. Whether or not they’re successful is one thing. The fact that they’re proposing something they feel will benefit the community in the long run is what I’m talking about now.

I haven’t heard any counter proposals to help jump start Rifle’s perpetually stalled economy. Other than get government out of the way. Which is pie-in-the-sky thinking. As long as we try to be a civilized society, government will always have a role. The private sector can’t do it all, and won’t, unless there’s a profit to be made. So we have government. Unless we all become zombies or Raiders fans. Oh wait, they’re the same. (Sorry, Broncos camp is here, got sidetracked…)

Leaders should always look at the big picture and beyond next week, next month, even years and years down the road. As President Kennedy said, and paraphrasing here, we need to look at things and say why not. Look beyond the sticker price, but don’t ignore it. After all, didn’t Detroit go bankrupt just this month? No one wants that, but leaders should also look beyond the here and now and consider their fellow human being. Dr. Martin Luther King was a leader, no doubt. “I have a dream…”

To me, that’s leadership. It will be interesting to see who wins those four seats on Rifle City Council and what their contribution to our community is down the road. What kind of leadership they provide.

This is an important time for everyone in Rifle. Here’s hoping it brings us some great leaders, on City Council and everywhere else.

Don’t you think we need them?

Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.


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