But Ron Angle quickly established himself as the county's pitbull. Heads rolled. Is he a bastard? You bet. Just listen to his radio show if you need any proof. But over the past eight years, at least on county issues, he has often been the sole voice of reason. While the rest of council rubber stamps tax breaks for a developer who is already wealthy, Angle will vote no.
Last Thursday, he offended other council members by "grandstanding" after a host of county workers made clear they're not being treated fairly. He's the only one who bothered to speak to them. "We actually run because of you. ... It's the core services of this county that we're in business for, not the craziness." This is nothing he hasn't said before, both on his radio show and during council meetings. And his words certainly cheered people up in the peanut gallery. But his council colleagues thought he was playing to the crowd. At one point, the usually exasperated Council Prez Wayne Grube told Angle, "You got your audience out there. Go back to your radio station."
In November 2006, the voices of the voters at the polls came through loud and clear. They told public officials to respect the needs and concerns of the people, and not to bow to special interests or use their elected positions to line their own pockets. Voters said they want open, responsive government. They want the least expensive government that can provide good, essential services. And they want to hear the truth from their elected officials, not political hogwash.
Unlike some members of Northampton County Council, who see their job as simply a stepping stone to some future position or as a way to promote a special agenda, I know and understand the importance of county government. Throughout my years on Council, I have always fought for the "little guy" and the taxpayer of Northampton County. I continue to be an outspoken advocate for those who have to foot the bills. I have never, ever voted for a tax increase.
Almost every day I hear from residents who tell me they appreciate my efforts and my willingness to fight for them. My goals are the same as they have been since I was first elected in 1999: to represent the best interests of the taxpaying residents of our county and to work toward more open, accountable, streamlined government.
Many important decisions lie ahead. Our tax dollars must be spent on essential county services first. We must constrain spending so we don't tax citizens out of their homes. Our challenges for the future are many. The prison expansion has already been declared inadequate. Our debt payments on the 2001 mega-bond are coming due. Open space must continue to be a county priority. You can count on me, as a member of Council, to continue to find and promote solutions to these challenges that are in the best interests of the taxpayers of this county.
There are those who wish I'd just shut up or go away. They'd like nothing better than to silence my voice because I'm the one who asks tough questions and shines the light on how our county government works. The anti-Angle contingent is fighting harder than ever this year to see that I'm not re-elected to County Council. They've started early and they're going to throw everything they have at me.