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Bringing Mercy to Public Office

January 29, 2013

Marianne Dunne-croppedBy Marianne D. – Mercy Associate

Being a Mercy all of my life, whether as a sister or associate, is the deep, deep part of where my energy, passions and therefore my spirituality lay.  And that’s why I ran for County Commissioner in Alamosa County, Colorado, and what I’ll bring to that office now that I’ve been elected.

Compassion is a gift God has blessed me with and I can use this gift right now as a local servant for the people of the San Luis Valley. Politicians are called to be servants and protectors of the most vulnerable:  the children, widows and orphans (as the Hebrew prophets remind us), the immigrant, the elderly, the sick, as well as all of creation that surrounds us, the Rio Grande, the soil, our animals and plants.  This is why I ran for office.  Mercy is what it is all about!

Local poverty, just jobs and care for the environment were all part of my presentation at a candidate’s forum prior to the election on Nov. 6. And talking about the reality of poverty in our area was part of my victory.

Some excerpts from a letter I wrote to our local newspaper highlight how I believe I can bring Mercy to our community by serving in public office:

While listening to citizens of the county I have heard about our rural roads, water concerns, wells running dry, property taxes and fees that continually seem to be growing.  The main concern is the lack of jobs, good jobs that employ people for 40 hours a week and with some benefits.

I am very concerned about the Rio Grande and the beautiful and fragile ecosystem that we all share. I will work hard with the environmentalists, farmers and ranchers to not only preserve what we have but to enhance it for future generations.  The science and technology that we possess for conservation, ranching and farming is a great tool for us to use.  We have dedicated professional people who are at the service of the community.  What we seem to lack is the will to work creatively and together for the good of the community.

I have seen and experienced a growing number of people in our county and other Valley counties who are facing poverty and hunger every day. One only needs to walk around some of our neighborhoods, help with Meals on Wheels or visit any of the local food pantries to hear the stories.

One of the key places where I will work hard is evaluating our county budget.  A budget is a moral document. There is not one bottom line, but three.   1) What is the cost to the people?  Especially the most vulnerable?   2) How will this affect our environment: the water, the wild and domestic creatures that share our valley and mountains, the soil and the air we all breathe?   3) What is the financial cost?  Can we pay for this with real money?  Any budget I work on will be judged with this triple criteria.

I have listened to problems and appreciate the efforts made in the past to meet the challenges of governing our county. Our problems will not be solved by Denver or Washington, but by us listening, evaluating and acting together with a common vision, clear goals, timelines and budgets.

Cooperation and action will be required for us as a county to face the water crisis augmented by the drought.  We may need to re-plan a budget affected by federal cuts now being discussed in Congress; I sincerely hope not, but if elected officials do not work together for the good of the all the community, we see what might happen.

As one of the County Commissioners I can help create community relationships across cultures, genders and professions that enhance the lives of all in Alamosa County and across the San Luis Valley.

UPDATE:  After being elected to a four-year term as one of Alamosa County’s three County Commissioners who comprise the Board, Marianne was commissioned on January 9, 2013 at the Alamosa County Court House.  As a County Commissioner, she will set policy to guide county programs that serve residents and businesses in Alamosa County, Colorado.

In her first month as a County Commissioner, Marianne’s challenges have included overseeing the building of a LEED Gold building (environmentally friendly) and helping with a weaving project with elementary-age students to celebrate the County’s 100 year anniversary.

One Comment leave one →
  1. marypen211 permalink
    January 29, 2013 3:48 pm

    At last! Congratulations and blessings on the work at your hands!

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