Ebert right choice for Weber County Commission

Saturday , June 09, 2018 - 12:00 AM

PAUL MERO
GUEST COLUMNIST

Weber County has a wonderful opportunity to advance prosperity and the common good by re-electing Commissioner James Ebert. Nothing against his primary challenger, Gage Froerer, but there is one singular and remarkable contrast between these candidates – one perhaps you have only felt but never have been able to articulate.

There are two prototypes of elected officials: Transactional and Devotional – two very different worldviews regardless of political party. Transactional politicians see people as objects. Devotional politicians see people as people. There are good and decent people in both camps. They differ, though, in what they focus on and how they serve.

For transactional politicians, everything is for sale and anything can be negotiated – every idea, every policy and every cause. They justify this worldview in the name of government efficiency, austerity programs, and public trust.

Transactional politicians, especially our Republican type, constantly talk about pocketbooks, theirs not yours, and accountability and transparency, yours not theirs. They support economic development, theirs not yours, and they complain about corruption in government, yours not theirs. They shun community input – just trust their wise judgment and life’s experience to do what they think is best.

The opposite is true of devotional politicians. Nothing is for sale because the common good they serve cannot be sold. They look at what policy best serves the entire community. They know efficiencies are good but not supreme because government is not a business. Government is a servant of the people. In and of itself, they view austerity measures as punishment more than prudence. And they know that the public trust must be earned and proven not anointed or manipulated.

I know Commissioner Ebert from our work together on intergenerational poverty. On contract, I helped Commissioner Ebert and a vast cross-section of voices to facilitate the Weber County strategic plan to address the needs of thousands of struggling and desperate Weber kids. I have seen him lead in Weber County and throughout the state. He sees people as people and his devotion to the common good is abundantly evident.

There seems to be wide disagreement between Commissioner Ebert and his opponent, Gage Froerer, particularly when it comes to economic development. Regardless of merits, this disagreement does provide primary voters with a good sense about each man and which one is transactional and which one is devoted to the people of Weber County.

Froerer is transactional. He will decide what is best for Weber County. If he wants counsel, he will get it from his friends. This is the habit of transactional politicians. They usually represent only one or two segments of the community at best. If they speak of economic development, they really mean “business interests” and mostly their own particular profession. For instance, you can bet if a transactional politician is in the real estate business, he will champion real estate interests – and the bigger the real estate deals, the bigger champion he will be.

Ebert is devotional. He serves all of the people of Weber County because that is whom he sees in the community. Devotional politicians see economic development differently than their transactional peers. For them, economic development is a team sport with clear objectives, measured outcomes and community input. Everyone is in it together.

Contrast that leadership with how transactional politicians operate. They tend to cluster with big donors, insulate their counsel with special interests and what we often refer to as the “good old boy network.” Of course, some voters like that approach. Being connected to insiders and back-room dealers has its benefits for the few that trickles down for the rest of us. This approach of insider political trading is the biggest problem for transactional politicians – you never quite know what they are buying and what they are selling in those back-room deals.

Froerer comes from real estate and the state Legislature and is heavily supported by those special interests and cronies. Ebert comes from law enforcement. When Officer Ebert was elected to the Weber County Commission he came into office already aware of the real Weber County. Because he was fully aware of Weber’s common problems, he also saw its common good.

If you spend even a few minutes around him, you know Commissioner Ebert sees every Weber County resident. And you quickly notice he is not buying or selling any vote or idea or special interest scheme.

Weber County primary voters never have had such a clear choice – a vote for a transactional politician or a vote for a devotional politician – Gage Froerer or James Ebert, respectively. From my first hand experience, James Ebert is not transactional. He is devoted to every resident of Weber County. He is the better choice.

Paul Mero is founder of ptmstrategies LLC and a leading conservative voice in Utah for nearly 20 years.

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