By MICHAEL SCHLOSSER
For Rantoul Press
In response to Jim Cheek’s letter to the editor on Aug. 14, 2018, titled "Voters will decide our fate," it is true that voters have always determined the board make-up.
This is not what needs fixed within our democratic society.
We simply need to work harder to get more public engagement and more citizens voting. The more citizens involved in the process, the more likely Rantoul will be better off.
As I have mentioned before, I believe our village trustees have the best interest of all citizens living in Rantoul at heart. You have not heard me say a negative word about anyone in our government, and you likely never will. But here lies the question that needs answered. How do we get more public engagement — more people voting; more people bringing up their concerns and issues; and more people helping to find solutions?
Perhaps the answer is in districting. If Rantoul were to be divided into six districts with one trustee representing each district, that trustee can focus first on what is needed for their district. Then the trustees work together, understanding issues and concerns for Rantoul in its entirety, and prioritize to find solutions.
These solutions will be sought with the input and help of the community as a whole.
Sure, anyone can run for office, but the reality is many citizens with great potential won’t run simply because they don’t feel they have any chance of being elected. Chances increase greatly through districting. More people will likely step up to run for office, more people will likely vote, more people will likely get involved, etc.
Just because, "this is the way we have always done it," and "things are OK" doesn’t mean that things cannot be better. Change is difficult for everyone, even those who will benefit from the change.
What was or was not good in the 1970s doesn’t mean it isn’t good for today. We have evolved as a nation, and hopefully we can continue to evolve as a village … for the better.
I understand that change is scary; however, let’s think about the progress we have made as a nation since then. There have been many innovative advancements since the 1970s, including improvement in equal rights for women, interracial marriage, personal computers, cell phones, medical advances, including new vaccines and new innovative ways to fight cancer, DNA research and improved training for law enforcement officers, including tactics involving mentally ill persons, active shooters, community policing, etc.
What have all of these changes done? Made us a better and safer country. Change can be truly great!
Vote "yes" for districting this November.
Mike Schlosser is a resident of Rantoul