Opinion: Elected officials in Howard County could use electronic resources to better inform our community on important issues and legislation

I will start this article noting this is my opinion…not a news / information article.

Yesterday Howard County Councilmember David Yungmann made a post on social media that was covered by this blog…and in that post he noted the following:

“I know how hard it is to find factual information about local issues here in Howard County. We no longer have a dedicated local newspaper and social media is filled with rumors, conspiracies and inaccuracies. Posts get reposted over and over until they become accepted as fact. I wish I had a solution to that larger challenge, but for now I hope this summary provides some understanding of this particular situation.”

The part of the statement noting “I wish I had a solution to that larger challenge”…well here is my suggestion for all elected officials in Howard County….provide more details to the community using the various electronic resources all elected officials use today (like social media, email blasts, press releases as a few examples).

There are regularly high interest items (legislation, events and other important news) happening around our county. Some of those items are posted and others are not by our elected officials.

One of my biggest frustration points is legislation. We are told go look at the legislation…go watch our meetings…if you want to know what is happening. That sounds good…but not always the best for everyone.

  • Go watch the meetings – well not all of us have time to watch the MANY hours of meetings when they happen…or even after the fact.
  • Go read the legislation – heck…there is so much in some in those pieces of legislation it is easy to not fully understand all aspects of it when reading it.
    • On that point (“read the legislation”) – the number of amendments submitted to legislation can make significant changes to it after the legislation is submitted – and tracking all of those changes can be confusing and challenging.

If elected officials do not want social media filled with rumors, conspiracies and inaccuracies…it is an easy fix…provide your updates and information to our community. Give us a simple explanations of high interest legislation and issues. Let us know where you stand on legislation or happenings.

While we might not have the type of dedicated local news resources in the community, we still have the Howard County Times (for those that want to pay for it), we have the various online “Patch” news sources and even a few news and information bloggers that will share the information you provide to the community to help spread information you share. I know for a fact that the community likes it when we (bloggers) do share information you (the elected official) share online:

All elected officials have staff members. Many utilize those staff members to help run social media  and other electronic accounts. Maybe more use of those staff to help inform the community would be a good thing for the community.

This article is not meant to be a dig a Councilmember David Yungmann. He and I are pals and we have had a number of wonderful conversations about questions I have had since he has been elected. This is just answering the question and providing some suggestions to all elected officials in Howard County. If you want real and accurate information shared to us in the community…you have the resources to do so.

This has been my opinion on this topic.

Have suggestions or thoughts…let me know in the comments.

Scott E

One comment

  1. I wish they would release the closed caption files as a separate entity. Then the meetings would be searchable. You would still need to watch the meeting–to make sure the file is accurate and to understand inflection. But at least you would know where to focus attention. Because, I agree, watching hours of a meeting is not ideal.


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