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The pioneer spirit is a good example to follow

In Washington County we talk about the “pioneer spirit” of do-it-yourself, personal responsibility. Those were the values I and my siblings were taught growing up. I see that individual initiative in so many of the people I meet around the county. And the more I think about it, I am convinced it is this sort of outlook that is the answer to our national troubles.

Our nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, is the best example of these ideas in American history. Jefferson came to the White House in 1800 after a bitter and difficult election decided in the House of Representatives. While Jefferson had served as Secretary of State and Vice President in the Federalist administrations of George Washington and John Adams, he was a committed Anti-Federalist.

Jefferson believed the Articles of Confederation (our nation’s first government) laid out a good system respecting the sovereignty of the states. He liked that it was designed to prevent the consolidation of too much power in one man or government entity. When elected to our nation’s highest office, Jefferson worked to do away with the stiff formality of the previous administrations. He sought to change the tone of government to one of simplicity and accessibility for every American.

Jefferson and his secretary, Meriwether Lewis, hung their laundry in the East Room of the White House. Jefferson sold the elaborately ornamented coach used by the previous presidents and he answered the White House door himself, often in slippers and house coat with his hair in “negligent disorder.” Jefferson’s administration had an every man quality to it. Common folks had access to the halls of power in an America where every man was as good as another.

As County Commissioner, this is an example I have tried to follow. I believe strongly that the government which governs closest to the people governs best. Washington, DC and Columbus both suffer from an elitist mentality that they know better for Southeast Ohio than we do ourselves. Let me humbly suggest those folks could learn an awful lot about governing by making a visit to this area and learning more about the pioneer spirit still alive and well here.

Ron Feathers

Washington County Commissioners