Doug and Shannon Buckmaster talk about public-private partnerships and the importance of community.
Shannon is the Economic Development Manager in the town of Newberg where Doug currently lives.
Doug’s business specializes in partnering with companies and non-profits to create value and capture cost savings without layoffs to fund growth and strengthen financial results.
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Welcome to the terminal value Podcast where each episode provides in depth insight about the long term value of companies and ideas in our current world. Your host for this podcast is Doug Utberg, the founder and principal consultant for Business of Life, LLC.
Doug: Welcome to the total value podcast. I’m Doug Utberg and I have Shannon Buckmaster with me from the city of Newberg. And now for those of you who know me, Newberg is where I live. For those of you who don’t know me, Newberg is where I live and it’s a smaller town. It’s not a tiny town, but it’s live, it’s South of Portland. And most people who don’t live in the area don’t know about it. But I happen to think that it is the best town on the face of the planet. I’m certain Shannon would agree. And one of the things that I wanted to do was to talk with everybody just about, you know, about what the local experience is like, because in the corporate media, everybody hears about everybody hears about the big cities that people have been hearing about Portland because of fires and protests and things like that. but real life happens locally. And so that’s one of the reasons why I really like to bring a local flavor. So Shan please introduce yourself a little bit, help everybody, help everybody to understand why we all love Newberg so much.
Shannon: Well, thank you for inviting me Doug. I’m pleased to join you this afternoon and highlight our lovely little community, which is a growing community, right? We’re located in Yamhill County.
Shannon: We’re bordered by three, officially two Metro counties, Marion County and Washington County, but we’re also very close to Multnomah Clackamas County.
Shannon: So we’re really kind of the first rural experience when you’re coming out of the Portland area. When you come down Rex Hill and you see all the, all the vineyards and the hospital and our cute little downtown area coming up, like that’s really your gateway into the rural wine country experience and it’s on your way to the coast. So I’m sure you all have been through Newberg. You may not have really thought about it on your, on your way through.
Shannon: We are down with about 24,000 people here so far, we’re growing so rapidly. Actually. I just heard an estimate that we’re expected to maybe have around 50,000 people in our town by 2070.
Doug: Yes. Yap. That’s quite a year.
Shannon: Seems like it’s forever away, but the older I get the faster time goes, so basically tomorrow, we have some.
Doug: Yeah exactly.
Shannon: I’m sorry, I’m talking over the top of you. Okay. I’m so excited to share your age.
Doug: No problem. It’s okay. Don’t, don’t, don’t contain your excitement. but it’s, it’s, it’s interesting just to see that level of population growth because, you know, 1% is considered good population growth, you know, 2% for like a County is high in 3% insane. You know, and you know, whereas, you know, we’re looking at that population doubling over what, well, it’s, it’s basically doubling in 50 years. I mean, that’s not insane, but that’s still, you know, that’s like about a one and a half percent growth rate. That’s, that’s not insignificant in terms of population. That’s a lot of growth.
Shannon: It’s a big deal. And, you know, one of the things that I’m really proud of about our city, and I can say this with a full disclaimer, this is officially my fifth week on the job. So I’m saying this with the perspective that I’m a fan of what the city has been doing for years I ever dropped on their doorstep. But the process about the infrastructure development and how, how we protect the culture of our community, even while we sustain this level of growth, it’s a conversation our civic leaders have been having for several years now. So we’re mindfully preparing for the growth instead of putting ourselves at risk for reacting and possibly losing what makes us so special?
Doug: Well, I actually say, I think you should do it the opposite way. Just needed to put up huge developments everywhere with no rhyme or reason and just figure, just assume we’ll figure it all out when it happens.
Shannon: I mean, I’m sure other cities have done that.
Doug: No other cities have moved away from that.
Shannon: And that’s not our approach. So I was going to highlight, we have a couple of big things that people maybe might associate with Newberg, but certainly we had George Fox University here. One of the most highly respected private universities on the West coast. If not the nation, we have a large medical center that continues to grow with Providence brick medical center here in town. We have an expansive, very well-developed parks and rec department should Highland park and recreation department, uh, actually following a model that other communities look up to and how they manage their assets and land land use. Of course, you know, we have the fun things. Well, we have the golf course through CP repeat, but we also have wine country. We have great Agra agricultural developments. We have hazelnuts filberts if you’re from the area, I know I’m leaving out my favorite child. Somebody’s going to hear this podcast and go, you forgot actually, one thing I did forget. The Shah Alam cultural center, which is one of the most outstanding art centers in the state as well. So we’ve got a lot of reasons to come to Newberg.
Doug: Yeah. And so also for the for all the podcast listeners before working for the city of Newberg. Shannon was the head for the chamber of commerce. So she is intimately familiar with all of the community dynamics, but, you know, which is what makes this such an interesting conversation.
Shannon: I was not born and raised here. I am a Pacific Northwest native, but I’m a Newberg transplant. So I guess we can check the box of the official, get to know Shannon Buckmaster. I was just hired as the city’s first economic health manager on August 21st. And I’ve heard that it’s actually the second position created full-time in response to the pandemic in the nation.
Shannon: I heard that the first was in Colorado. So we’re trendsetters. Some of the questions we’ll talk about economic development, what we’re doing with the badges, we’re calling 2020. This is one of those creative approaches where the city decided to allocate resources, all sorts of time, talent, and finances behind a permanent solution or a long-term solution to some of, some of the challenges that we face. So just started on the job, but I’m not a newbie, so to speak. So
Doug: Excellent. That is actually an amazing, transition, because one of the things that I wanted to talk about is how smaller towns like Newberg are addressing COVID because of course you have, you know, you have all these, you know, you have the stay at home orders, wherever we’re at in the Portland Beaverton school districts, you have mandatory closures. From what I understand, Newberg has been in Llano County have been really working to try to keep kids in class, which I think is very, very helpful because, you know, kids aren’t meant to stare at screens all day. Uh, but anyway, I’m taking your thunder, you know, tell me about what Newberg is doing to, to make the experience wonderful for our residents.
Shannon: So Newberg has been really available and actually one of the benefits of being part of a small community, I’m going to steal one of your questions in advance.
Shannon: One of the benefits of being part of a small community is that, it often, yes, we might have fewer resources, but we have more flexibility. We can very quickly adapt. Even our city council, the, of a seven member city council, including our mayor, and they’ve been very responsive. And I also find too that we’ve had an easier time as a community, aligning our priorities with what we hear. The other priorities are at the regional level and the state level too. So we have a crystal clear focus on what needs to be done. Things like workforce development, critical financial support, housing, stability childcare. And we know all of that rolls into a quality life that touches every part of the community, including our school district. So I’m gonna unpack, so honestly it’s a cool opportunity because not again, I knew what was going to be part of my job. And a lot of it is carrying over from the work that I did at the chamber of commerce that was maybe doing about 80% economic development work through the chamber. Now I’m doing a hundred percent economic development work. So taking the things that I loved and were serving our region and then building it out. And there were a couple of other components to my professional background that are, that the city is now able to use on a little different scale. Okay. So another great benefit to a small city, we have really strong volunteerism.
Shannon: This is kind of how that plays out.
Doug: Well, I’m going to take you on a little bit of a segue here. Uh, so, you know, at the time of recording, we are not far away from when we had just massive wildfires all throughout Oregon and California and Washington, some parts of the West coast still have fires going, but there was actually a pretty significant fire just over the Hill in th in what’s called the bald peak Shah Alam area which is
Shannon: 6 Miles away from downtown Newberg.
Doug: Correct. Yeah. It’s six miles away from downtown it’s, you know, fortunately it was on the other side of a hill and the wind was blowing it away from town, but there was amazing volunteerism in people, you know, not only can people evacuate themselves back to way their families, but also things like evacuating, their pets people don’t think about, Oh, okay, Hey. So if we have to go back to, if we have a level three evacuation order and we have to, you know, get everybody out of the house, if you have, what, if you have livestock? You know, there were a lot of the, a lot of local shelters who were taking in dogs, cats, chickens, you know, these are, these are important things. And it’s things that are things that are really easy to overlook when you see a news story that goes out to, you know, 50 million people,
Shannon: Right. So our community did have an incredible response that we have, and you can really say that both the fires and coronavirus impacting our economy. So we have already started to designate funds that were available funds, you know, small grants. We had the support local challenge, which was really a partnership where our local residents were encouraged to spend money and then submit their receipts to the city. And they got a rebate against their water utility bill.
Shannon: $25 was a $15 credit. And you could submit, you could actually earn up to a $75 credit per month, both in April. So that’s that flexibility. That’s the, we can do this, we can pivot. Now we can find a new solution to a creative, a creative challenge. You see, we saw that same response with a fire and actually it was just, it was incredible. I live in Newberg.
Shannon: Full disclosure, again, that, that local personality that I’ve implanted myself. I’ve been in Newberg continuously since 2005.
Shannon: When I moved back after grad school. So my undergraduate degree is at George Fox university came to Newberg for the first same name. And then my graduate degree was at Yale where I worked in community-building and communication. And then I came back and actually taught at George Fox for six years before moving into business.
Shannon: So the connections, the tie to community, you have a lot of our local leaders who actually live and work and play in the Valley. Yes, we do get out of the Valley. We’re cultured, but we’re invested in the place we live. And so even as we were starting to hear the fires before we even had the Shah Alam mountain fire, we were hearing of our neighbors in Marion County. And there was an immediate response from commissioner Pope in Marion County to commissioner Kula in Yamhill County, reaching out to the community. So we were actually receiving evacuees from Marion County before we were evacuating the ball peak area and the partners who came together. One of the first partners that I’m aware of was actually Newberg school district. They opened up the high school gymnasium for evacuees. They partnered with a local numbered restaurant, Radica wood Ruddock woods started preparing meals. They outgrew their kitchen with a demand, both for first responders and people coming to our community who needed help. So then the school district opened up Edwards elementary. And then I believe the high school, it was either the high school or maybe a rush. They opened a full-scale kitchen so that the chef staff at Radek would cook, cook food and respond to those, to the fires. And then we had volunteers delivering and packaging and getting the food already to go Northwest Christian Church. Also Newberg set up evacuation sites. I heard that, I believe two, maybe three days ago. Now time flies. We have no concept of anymore. We finally had our last evacuees leave, Newberg Christian Church or Northwest Christian Church name last year.
Shannon: I’m still adjusting.
Doug: Yeah. I, I know, I know where it is. That’s when my wife and I walk our dog. That’s our standard route is, you know, we normally go, you know, kind of, out by the Alison that’s a, that’s a resort for everybody who lives in Newberg. Everybody knows the Alison, but if you’re from out of town. The Alison is an extremely beautiful resort, which is over in the Newberg area just a little ways on the north side of town. And then when you.
Shannon: And then we officially be a five-star resort. Now, possibly the only one in the state of Oregon, it’s gorgeous. The sponsor visits are incredible, but
Doug: That is in our standard dog walking route.
Shannon: Excellent. So they stepped up to respond. We had, we just had a great internal communication channel. And yesterday morning, our department heads at the city of Newberg, we received a briefing from about in Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, our contracted emergency services provider. They were able to share that we actually had no residential losses. We lost a few barns and a few outbuildings. And we had no loss of life, no significant injury or, or damage either to residents or to the fire crews that were out fighting the fire. So we were really fortunate. The cool thing about that again, is that yes, we take care of the people in Newberg and Yamhill County and the surrounding area, but then we reached out to our regional neighbor as well. And I know we’re still coordinating with Yamhill County to continue to address, you know, property damage reparation, but what are we doing to help people who are not so fortunate as our residents worth, you know, people from the Santiam pass area from Gates lions, how do we support that? So even then there’s conversation about setting up contractors, concrete supply, raw material services. How are we supporting that process to rebuild for our neighbor or going inside? That’s crazy, right? We’re a small town, and yet we’re part of a significant pool of resources. It’s really about who you know, it’s, it’s that relational connection that we bring to business.
Doug: And, yeah speaking for myself, I have to say that, what you’re talking about is far more interesting than sitting on your couch and watching CNN or Fox news for nine and a half hours a day. You know, not that I know anybody who does that, Oh, I’m sorry. Or posting angry rants on Facebook for 10 and a half hours a day. I know a lot of people who do that and I’m, and I’m trying my darndest to not be one of them, which is why we’re having this conversation today.
Shannon: It’s nice to get an infusion of positivity, right. Especially since the pandemic started and, you know, if I can speak candidly from my position, whether or not it was at the chamber, or currently now it’s a co-worker actually Lacie to graph who is our communications specialist at the city. We were, we were talking about this experience that we’re essentially paid to doom scroll when you’re on the cutting edge of relief or economic recovery or fire response or whatever that leadership responsibility is to the community. It’s your job to digest the massive amounts of negative and find a way to not only package it for communication in a way that’s accessible and useful for the, for the community that you’re serving. In my case, that’s very clearly the business community, but also condensing or digesting that information so that we’re able to create long-term solutions, not being that reactive cycle. It actually takes a lot of mental fortitude to spend so much time in that space. And so I applaud actually true confession. I did not watch the presidential debate.
Shannon: for my mental health.
Shannon: I read several different perspectives, curated summaries the day after, because as a leader, when you’re working with this level, it’s, it’s actually my professional and ethical responsibilities to the community that I’m serving to keep my head positive, my space forward moving so that you get my best so that we have something hopeful to pursue, right? So that when I get up, I’m not thinking about whatever insults or yelling or barbs were tossed around on any particular news channel that I’m not staying stuck in mortality rates or epidemiology reports or economic analyses that I get up. And I think, okay, how are we going to solve the childcare desert? Actually, one of the first projects that I’ve been able to sink my teeth into in this first month is actually a project we’re calling project Oasis, right? We have a childcare desert.
Doug: So explain what a childcare desert means.
Shannon: Okay. So I’m going to say, so it’s essentially means that we have far fewer space spots in childcare centers. Then we have families needing childcare. And really, if you think about this, this is a workforce development issue. And I also think it’s an equity issue too, because we statistically know that when a family has to choose between somebody going to work and somebody staying home, if it’s a multi-site earning household, most likely it’s going to be a woman who leaves the workforce. So we’re at risk of losing a lot of women in the workforce. And we also know these challenges affect minority populations at disproportionate rates. So it’s childcare desert. We’re not even talking about equity, access affordability. We’re actually just saying, even if you charged the highest rate, there’s not, there are not enough places in Oregon for children to have childcare. And especially with, the effect of Corona when the pandemic childcare centers actually are closing because they lost the, they lost solvency and solvency is simply like they, they’re not able under the current guidelines and restrictions to have enough students in their space to make money, to pay their bills. So they’re closing.
Shannon: Or sometimes they’re just not having legal processes. So we’re losing spots because of childcare centers going out, we’re losing spots because we’re a center could have served 50 students. Now they can only serve 25 or 30 students because of the social distancing. Like it’s just gotten worse and it’s been bad in Oregon for three. I was going to say 30 years. I don’t know what that, what I meant to say was three years, I’m adding an extra zero. So back Jack right there,
Doug: Like you’re attending. So depending on what you’re saying, Shannon, I, I’ve actually, a very good friend of my, my wife’s and my, and a good friend of mine, but she’s worked for, for quite a while. You know, she runs a preschool that’s turned into a, you know, helping center for say, like kindergartners first graders who are going through virtual learning. And what she’s experienced is that her density has just cut in half, but you can’t double her rates. And so, you know, and so basically everybody who’s running a childcare that, that that’s all right.
Shannon: Newberg, we have very energy efficient building processes. My office late didn’t think I was moving.
Doug: This is real life, everybody. It’s how it goes.
Shannon: Right I’m back.
Doug: See a small station break. So, but anyway, these childcare centers, what happens is, you know, a lot of them run on very slim margins to begin with. And now what happens is when you cut the amount of kids that they can have in half their costume cut in half, you know, the rent stays the same. They still have to pay their people. And so now, now what happens is now they’re all just being pushed into insolvency. You know, and as, as I’ve become fond of saying semi seriously, semi jokingly, is that there’s absolutely no evidence that there has been any plan at all in the way the COVID response has gone there. I see no evidence that anybody’s thought ahead about anything. It is completely reactive on all fronts. And, you know, because for everybody who says, Oh, I’m afraid to go into work. Oh, I’m afraid to do so-and-so or whatever. It puts the burden onto somebody else. You know, for every time we have teachers who say, okay, well, we can’t have kids in school because it poses a risk. Well, who do you think is taking care of those kids? Their parents have to work. All that burden is being pushed onto caretakers. And by the way, the caretaking facilities are all going insolvent because of social distancing requirements. Sorry, I ranted there for a second.
Shannon: No, that’s okay. Actually, your passion is setting me up very nicely to explain the next step. So we have a childcare desert. We know this. So one project, the city of Newberg is very focused on that. I am specifically assigned to kind of a project manager. I don’t know if we’re calling it economic health manager. We’ll just stick with that is project , Oasis, get it .
Doug: Much personality to be a project manager. And that is not, I know many project managers, I’ve been a project manager. It’s, it’s a pretty dry topic. It way too much personality for project manager.
Shannon: Thank you. It just needs to make over, I guess, for the infusion of energy. Okay. So we have Oasis and I wish I had come up with any project. We always, since the answer to childcare desert, that was not my idea. That was the idea of a private partner, a local manufacturing business, who came to actually Amish stone. Somebody I worked very closely with ed said, core strategic economic development corporation out of Shah Alam. They kind of do the County economic development and I would be the city economic development. So that’s how we work together. So I came to Amish at first option, went on vacation. It happens and then I was looped in and started to make progress with our private partner. And then the three of us came back together when I’m showing us back. And we realized we had a workforce issue. And for this particular manufacturer, they employ, they’re one of our larger manufacturers in Newberg, and they have the risk of losing highly skilled workers, because these workers are having to choose between taking care of their children at home, other childcare arrangements and coming to work. So that’s where it started, but it’s really grown into this great concept. So we’re officially creating a public private partnership where we have private investment. We have real estate available. We’re surrounding this project with public funding that is specifically set aside both. Well, there was some funds set aside before the pandemic, and now there’s a whole pocket of money specifically set aside by our legislators to address the childcare desert. So we’re pulling in that funding. And the project now is evolving into a legacy project that a pilot project to show the rest of the state how especially a small town can create a solution. We’re actually looking at a childcare center with community partners. And I, you know, this, we’re building the plane as we fly it, I think is the phrase that goes along. But we’re looking not just at basic childcare needs, but distance learning support, right? It’s not replacing the schools, it’s providing support for the schools until we can back be back in school in person we’re looking at health care, possibly dental care. We’re looking at maybe even a community piece in a clinic, other large community space, possibly addressing particular needs one big, big part of this center, not just a childcare project, but now the center is a very clear answer for affordable childcare and equitable access. So we’re actually looking at bringing in a state voucher program that childcare costs so that more families can participate. And so boy, if Newberg can do this and that’s not to downplay Newberg, cause Newberg is pretty awesome. If Newberg can do this with a private partner utilizing city regional and state funds on yes, Newberg, the city of Newberg, is backing this project as well. What could other communities do as well? So that’s, you know, that’s the happy news. The challenge is that we have the challenges and the challenges have gotten worse in the last six months. The positive answer is that we’re now learning how to reallocate our, our, our resources. And you’re exactly right. Doug Betty we’re transitioning out of crisis reaction into thoughtful, proactive responses. And,
Doug: And looking forward to seeing that.
Shannon: Right and that’s just one opportunity. We have, we’re looking at winter commerce because it, it rains in Oregon, not all parts of Oregon
Doug: What? It rains in Oregon?
Shannon: But it rains. And so if we’ve expanded out to our seating for a restaurant, if we have farmer’s markets so that we can support commerce in good weather, what are we going to do when the rain comes right? And so we’re exploring opportunities like that. Actually, we partner really well with our regional connections. So I’m learning from the city of Shah Alam who is also working on a solution for this problem. And I’ve consulted with the city in McMinnville, our other big city in Yamhill County. And so, you know, it’s kind of cool that once you get to know people around, people just want to be helpful, especially the people who are tasked with, again, being in the space on a regular basis, but turning it around so that we have hope and opportunity at the end of it. That’s what keeps me focused. So yes, I’m informed I will be a very informed voter, even if I wasn’t in that particular, you know, watching that particularly.
Doug: You didn’t miss that much. Trust me.
Shannon: Well like I said, I read the reports. I read the reports
Doug: There’s something we touched on. At some point we’ll need to wrap it up. We may need many to record a part two at some point. There’s one thing you touched on that I think is really profound, which is you were talking about public private and I’m a big believer in the idea of public private sponsorship or partnerships. Because I think in a lot of cases, there’s a tendency to think about business and government. Like they’re like, it’s an eighties pro wrestling match where you have your say, like Kogan against Andre, the giant I’m dating myself here. But and, but the thing is, I don’t know that government and business need to be at odds with one another. I really, I actually really don’t understand why they would want to be at odds with each other. Why can’t you work together? It seems that, you know, you’re going to be able to get your best, your, your, your best solutions are going to come when you get these public private sponsorships. I think that’s, that’s something that I’ve actually been pretty impressed with out of Newberg. And I’d really love to see more of, because I think that’s, that’s really what the future looks like. You know, I don’t think that it’s really, I don’t think that it’s workable to privatize everything and I don’t think it’s workable to socialize everything. And so I think there’s a lot of places where if you can build these public private sponsored partnerships, why don’t we keep saying sponsorships partnerships.
Shannon: Partnerships. Yeah.
Doug: You can do really good things.
Shannon: Yeah. It’s funny. We can get caught up in titles like capitalism and socialism. Right. And we can, we can pet against, and, you know, maybe you have a thesis right there for a doctorate in public administration. But you know, hindsight is 2020 vision, right? What we, what we wish we knew back then, um, I think we realized over the last few months that there are limitations to what government can do, and there are vulnerabilities to what private business or private organizations are susceptible to. And, you know, if you just look at the challenges that the employment department faced with this person of unemployment funds so rapidly, and just so many people, we just saw that there were restrictions and it took us a in minute, but enough of us figure it out that, okay, we can’t do this apart from each other. So how do we partner in new ways, which is why we’re starting to see these sorts of conversations. I think honestly, that’s one, that’s a big thought behind how this position was created the city of Newberg, because it’s really that business liaison. It’s that business facing internal. Yes. I’m a, I’m a government worker. Now the bad says it even then. But it’s that bridge it’s I spend all my day actually interpreting. I think I’m a professional interpreter between the business community and the public sector, private sector, public sector, and finding those middle places of engagement. So you have more places to win. It’s increasing our efficiency, it’s increasing our solvency. It’s increasing our hope. Our ability to succeed and spring is a really cool projects to our community in a way that we’re able to teach other communities how to do the same thing. You know, we’re not perfect, but we got some stuff to, you know, improve. We have opportunities, right? SWOT analysis, we have opportunities.
Shannon: But I am genuinely excited by this new concept of no, not new, this advancing concept of partnership that we’re seeing. Just as we [inaudible] the answers we had, they just didn’t give us the results that we want. And so now we’re pivoting and we’re finding, we’re just finding a better way to do it.
Doug: All right. Well, Hey, let’s, let, let’s wrap it up for the listeners. How can people get involved? What, what should people do to help? Because I’m sure the people who are listening are think, Hey, you know what? I want to get involved. I’m going to be out to do just like Newberg and a really engaged with my community.
Shannon: Okay. So I got three tips for you on how to get involved. Volunteer It can be on committees, ad hoc committees with service organizations, especially the ones that serve vulnerable populations. You know, food insecurity, housing issues, all of that volunteer. I mean, especially if you’re at home binge watching Netflix anyways, like maybe get off the couch, put a mask on, that’s the second thing wear a mask. It doesn’t have to be political. It doesn’t matter if you like it. Most really. It’s just how we have an opportunity maybe to keep our community safe. So wear a mask and then vote. Cause that’s coming up, vote your whole ballot vote with an informed process. And, you know, that’s actually one of the things that I’ve really come to appreciate throughout the last six months is how critical it is, how we choose our leaders and how those leaders then create opportunities, security, safety, or forward movement for us, especially when a virus or a fire happens.
Doug: And, and I’ll give you a bump on that vote the whole ballot, because you know, like a lot of people I used to focus on just the national elections and not really pay much attention to what happens locally, but the truth of matter is the reality happens locally. And because like, for example, where we’re in Oregon and Oregon, I think who Oregon’s electoral votes have gone to whoever was the democratic nominee ever since Michael Dukakis. Like it, it’s just been a complete sweep every time. So I know that whoever I vote for won’t impact the outcome in any way, shape or form, same thing with my congressional district, it goes 65, 35 every time. So, you know, the things that really matter are things like my County commissioners are going to be things like the school bonds. The school bonds will be things like some of the local circuit judges or things like the town mayor, the city commissioners, those, those local things, which everybody ignores are the things that really impact your life. And I think that’s, when you say vote the full ballot, I could not possibly agree more
Shannon: Good. I’m I’m glad I inspired you Doug. To name that out I’m going to vote my full ballot category.
Doug: Alright. Excellent. Well, okay. So last thoughts before we wrap up that way and then, yeah, we’ll have to continue this conversation again, sometime.
Shannon: This is a fun opportunity. I mean, really just volunteer, wear a mask and vote. That’s all I got for you.
Doug: Outstanding. All right. Well, everybody have a wonderful rest of your day.
Shannon: Thank you.
Doug: Following up on that conversation with Shannon, there are a couple of things that really stuck in my mind. One is the importance of, I think disassociating, the kind of public private good, bad Republican Democrat, the polarization that’s going on right now. It’s I think that there is just so much political fervor and everybody wants to blame everybody else for so many things that people have almost kind of lost track of their humanity. That’s a appropriate thing to say, or I guess I don’t care if it’s inappropriate thing to say. I just said it. Uh, but I think that it’s people really need to get back to just being people and connecting with other people in their community. And I think that’s just really, really important for us to keep in mind, regardless of who wins the upcoming election. Now, by the time you listen to this, the election may be long gone history. My assumption is that whoever wins the US 2020 presidential congressional Senate and all the local elections, that there will likely be some form of turmoil that follows and the political re-anchoring and strife will likely continue hopefully not indefinitely, but that’s what the trend currently looks like. So anyway, where I’m going with all this is that the solution to this can’t be national. It has to be local. It has to come from people working with other people. I think that’s the only way that real progress comes about. Anytime you try to do something at a big national scale, you end up having horrendous inefficiencies and then graft and corruption. And what ultimately gets achieved is usually very little relative to the cost and also very, very rife with people taking cuts off the top and handshake deals and other things that you read about that make everybody disenchanted with politics in the first place. So what I’d really like to exhort everyone to do is to really think about your local economy, your local community, and engage and also if you have a business that is local or regional and you’re interested in learning how you can drive your cost profile down to invest in the community. That is actually what I do. So please go to www.meetdoug.biz and schedule 15 minutes for us to talk. I would love to see if we can do some business together, if not, then maybe I can help you find some people to grow your business, and maybe you can help some people to grow my business, and then we can work together, you know, like, like it was originally intended. So please, again, that is www.meetdoug.biz. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much.
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