As a candidate running for office last year, Otsego County Rep. Ed Lentz, D-New Lisbon, said he garnered significant input from citizens in local communities about their ideas for changing government for the better.
Now, he said Tuesday, he wants to continue the dialogue by hosting a series of community meetings in the towns he represents.
The kickoff meeting will be held at 7 p.m. April 24 at Milford Town Hall. Lentz has enlisted County Treasurer Dan Crowell and Milford Town Supervisor Chris Harmon to participate in that discussion.
“I want to make sure I stay in touch with the residents of our local towns,” said Lentz, a patent lawyer and part-time farmer.
Because of the county’s weighted voting system, the freshman lawmaker’s individual vote is worth more than any other on the 14-member Otsego County Board of Representatives.
However, that doesn’t mean Lentz can make changes in county government without collaboration and compromise, as has been shown by his unsuccessful advocacy on behalf of county managerial workers who’ve gone six years without cost-of-living raises. The majority of the board has signaled county finances are too fragile to grant raises at this time.
The agenda for the local meetings will be determined by what’s on the mind of those who attend.
“It’s important that we have exchanges with our local people and find out what questions they have and what concerns they have,” Lentz said in outlining his plans for a series of three public forums this year. “I learned a lot from going door to door, not to mention that it’s a great way to meet some really nice people.”
He said many people have strong ideas about how to improve government, but because of family and employment obligations lack the time to get involved in local civic affairs.