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It’s a brand-new year and we welcome 2018 from all of us to all of you.
I think it’s important to remember that, yes, we are all in this together and we live in a global economy and a world that is getting smaller and smaller each day in so many different ways.
It is demonstrated in many and diverse ways, whether it is a famine in African countries, people fleeing a war-torn country seeking safety or American aircraft corporations selling fighter jets to Israel.
We see unwanted diseases entering America from Brazil, discover new social media, learn that wheat grown in Iowa is being sold to Russia, discover we can get “face time” with a loved one in Germany on our iPhones and watch the debt of one country impacting the economic well-being of others.
So, we are all in this together to varying degrees.
Starting with world peace. Or maybe not
So, what do we hope to see accomplished — or avoided or started or ended — in 2018?
Let me mention some things that are on my mind and heart. Perhaps, you share some of the same hopes.
Let’s start with world peace: Just think of the positive consequences of such a blessing. While mankind has failed time and time again over the centuries to accomplish this goal, perhaps 2018 is the time for this to occur.
However, there are situations that indicate that peace is not probable. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un , continues to threaten the United States with nuclear war. The U.S.-Russia relationship is on shaky terms. President Assad in Syria continues to “fight to the death” among his own people.
Then there is ISIS and the Taliban, which remain active.
So, I guess we can scratch world peace for the time being, but hopefully one or more of these warring situations can be resolved in this new year.
Infrastructure is a priority
Next, I would hope that President Trump and Congress would come to a meeting of the minds and wills regarding needed legislation to move America forward. For example, improved infrastructure of American highways, roads and bridges should be a reasonable goal.
We see the increased traffic and need for expanded capacity. We have lost ground on the condition of our interstate, state and local infrastructure. The lack of sufficient funding at the national and state levels has plagued our governments’ ability to adequately maintain, repair or expand road systems. The same holds true for safe drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.
Supposedly now, the American economy will start to really kick into high gear with the Republicans’ tax reform package taking effect.
That would mean more jobs, more income, more tax revenue to fund infrastructure.
However, in case their theory flounders, Congress should raise fuel taxes in one form or another to generate needed funds to get on with patching, paving, overlaying and reconstructing roads, highways and bridges.
Resolve the plight of the dreamers
Another legislative goal that is on my list would be to resolve the ticking time bomb involving the DREAMERS who live in America, but don’t have a defined future here. Congress, along with President Trump’s support, should give these immigrant children and young people a clear path to citizenship.
Furthermore, Congress and the President need to show leadership in approving a multi-step plan for citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants. There is plenty of blame to share over the years that immigration was not adequately enforced. It is past time to point fingers. Resolve this issue.
Hope for humanitarian efforts
Looking beyond government, there are health and humanitarian issues which need to be addressed. The people of the world continue to suffer from a lack of a cure for cancer as well as other life-threatening diseases. Hopefully, 2018 is the year that researchers will finally identify the cure for cancer and its cost to implement will be within reasonable boundaries. Along that line, I hope progress can be realized on finding a cure for such debilitating diseases as ALS, MS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Regarding humanitarian causes, hopefully Americans will continue with their generosity in giving to human services causes. Under the new tax reform legislation with its much higher standard deductions, there is major concern among non-profit organizations on whether or not people, organizations and businesses will be as motivated to financially support such organizations.
Locally, The Salvation Army, Red Cross, FISH, Growing Home, Precious Child, CASA, Denver Rescue Mission and many others depend on our generosity to be able to provide needed services, food and other items. Let’s hope we as a society continue our generosity.
Finally, and certainly not least important, it is my hope that in this new year the state legislature will bring additional funding to K-12 public schools. With more people moving to Colorado (over 77,000 from July, 2015-July, 2016 with more coming every day), there is a higher need to reduce class size, attract teachers via higher compensation (but re-calibrate PERA pension contributions) and add more vocational training opportunities in conjunction with community colleges.
May the new year bring you and yours a prosperous and healthy time.
Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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