Pass the torch to a new generation | Letter to the editor

Posted 8/7/20

I’m a 72-year-old gray-hair and I’ve lived here in Jefferson County since 1999. 

It was easy then to find an available carpenter, handyman, contractor — otherwise known as a …

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Pass the torch to a new generation | Letter to the editor

Posted

I’m a 72-year-old gray-hair and I’ve lived here in Jefferson County since 1999. 

It was easy then to find an available carpenter, handyman, contractor — otherwise known as a Shed Boy. I couldn’t figure out why there weren’t any young women or for that matter a whole generation of age 30- to 45-year-olds in town.

It was odd to move here and have it be a predominantly 50- to 75-year-old population. Some of the young high school graduates who didn’t move away and remained to be our service people (clerks, waitresses, waiters, bartenders) were the ones who remained.

Our elementary school could not pass a bond for new improvements, no matter how many students were there or how worn out the old school was. All of the members of the city council, county commissioners, hospital board, management jobs for the city and for the county were all taken by 55-and-older residents, some who were selected from out of the area.

Just when we all expected those people to retire, the 2008 real estate market, and therefore the stock market, hit the skids. The gray-hairs clung to their jobs, their positions in the city and county.

And then something magical happened. The women, who left for college, for new job skills, came back to town. I assumed the Shed Boys were pleased, because the pairing began and babies ensued.

There is something to be said for a completed circle. I won’t rap on the door of inclusiveness for people of color just now, but having a town without a full generation missing, was and is very heartwarming and rejuvenating.

What has taken awhile, and our town has not fully done it, is for us to get out of their way, as they assume positions of leadership. Each generation holds a unique perspective, a reference point that moves them personally, and guides and informs their vision for themselves, and our city/county as they hold leadership positions.

I believe now we not only need fresh ideas, and fresh vitality, but a vision that moves our community forward. How quick the older generation (no matter what era that is) is to lay out the given obstacles as if they are carved in immovable rock, while the younger generation not only has a new approach, and tools, but is thirsty to solve the long tired conundrum — whether that be affordable housing issues, creating more jobs for families, or taking on the GMA (Growth Management Act).

Let’s just get out of their way and stop electing 50-, 60-, 70-year-olds into office. Let’s give these more than qualified 30- and 40-year-olds, not only a seat at the table, but give them the chance to shine.

Let’s just get out of their way.

Jan Marquardt
PORT TOWNSEND

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