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Letter: Help us make a difference in government

Volunteer to serve on a local board or commission

There are many clichés, quotes, and rhetoric to last us a lifetime. Of the multitude, some can provide us inspiration and others can leave a sour taste in the mouth; yet I find one that is laced with such potency. This, brought about by the taboo created at our dinner tables, or just in the company of friends, family or acquaintances: “All politics are local.”

Deny a conversation on the subject all you want, but eventually you will meet a neighbor who has participated — in some capacity — in a decision that had an effect on how much in property taxes you pay, an apartment building being erected in your neighborhood, or a cell tower being constructed next door.

I am inspired when I look at all those who hold public office here in Cloquet. These are women and men who have a genuine interest in the direction this city will take as they navigate the winding roads that will, we hope, lead us, prosperously, to a future we can all be proud of. But they don’t do it alone.

Our city administration, capable and ever vigilant, deserves plenty of credit, but I communicate to you positions that we often forget: city boards and commissions. Appointed by those we elect, the function and necessity of these dually appointed appendages are often forgotten. With eight boards and commissions involving 49 volunteers serving on them, the actions and decisions made by these individuals have a bearing on how well-informed our elected officials are.

I have served on the planning commission for the past 10 years and it has been a privilege. When asked, “What does the planning commission do?” I often reply with, “We are a filter for our city council.” No less important (and I mean that statement with all due respect), we are a necessity to the formation and construction of that winding path I spoke about earlier.

The City of Cloquet currently has numerous vacancies, including two on the planning commission. If you would like to take your inspiration beyond the dinner table and help sculpt the future of this wonderful city, I would encourage you to fill out an application at city hall for one of these vacancies.

Come help us make a difference, and I thank you in advance.

Uriah Wilkinson, Cloquet