That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety… - Excerpt from Article I of the Virginia Constitution
This week we pause to recognize public service and, more specifically, those individuals engaged in public service. Since 1985, a week has been set aside to acknowledge the contributions made by those who work in the interest of the public – ranging from individuals who remove snow from the streets in the winter, to the astronauts who have walked on the moon, each in the service of the public. Earlier this month Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner co-sponsored a bi-partisan Senate Resolution honoring public employees at all levels of government. A similar House Resolution was introduced by Representatives Wittman and Connolly of Virginia.
Public employees at all levels of government work each day to ensure our physical safety, our quality of life and our future. Over 1,700 employees with the City of Roanoke play a vital role in the success of our community. Did you know that more than half of all United States medical doctors in practice today received their training as government employees? Did you know that the bar code used to scan products and purchases was created by a government employee? Did you realize that nearly all children in the U.S. receive their education from public employees? Or that the first human to ever walk on the moon was a public employee? Public employees are responsible for multiple scientific and technological breakthroughs that we benefit from every day.
Here in Roanoke we rely upon public employees to keep us safe – police officers, fire and EMS personnel, E-911 dispatchers, building inspectors, and judges. We rely upon public employees to help us succeed – teachers, librarians, planners, economic developers, and social workers. We rely upon public employees to get us to and from where we need to go – equipment operators, transit drivers, and engineers. We rely upon public employees to help us have fun and stay healthy – groundskeepers, arborists, sustainability personnel, and arts advocates. There are few areas of our daily life where we do not rely upon or benefit from the services provided by dedicated public employees. This dedication of course is replicated at the State and Federal levels and is vital to the success of our entire Nation.
By and Nearest Those Governed
I believe strongly in the critical importance of local government – it is the place where people come together to solve problems and take meaningful actions where they live and work. I believe just as strongly that the success of local government rests upon three equally critical components – engaged citizenry, strong leadership, and dedicated public employees. We are fortunate here in Roanoke to have each of these present in our community and I believe, as a result, we are stronger and more successful for it. So take some time this week when you see a police officer, or the person who collects your trash, or your child’s teacher, or the person mowing the grass at the park, to thank them for what they do and for how they help each of us succeed here in Roanoke.
- Bob Cowell