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As we watch another group of very talented individuals graduate this month, you have to wonder how they will make their choices about their futures and what paths they may choose for professional employment.

We can only hope that some will choose the path of public service and give of those talents as they return to their communities, states and the federal level to make a difference in the years to come.

They may take the opportunity to become planners, educators, building professionals, forestry experts, principals of our schools and yes, some may go into government.

Public service at the local level is fulfilling because employees see the fruits of their labors. Daily, local government employees see street and other infrastructure improvements, new buildings coming out of the ground, safety improvements, and happier and more fulfilled children, families and senior citizens.

Making a difference through public service can be one of the most meaningful, rewarding and challenging of pursuits some of our graduates chose to take. There are the advantages, but if you think your hard work and dedication to your responsibilities will always be rewarded with praise and thanks, you might decide to look elsewhere if you come into the job wearing rose-colored glasses.

Our world is filled with those that find it easier to find fault or to dwell on the negatives rather than see the good that can be accomplished. They are less likely to look for solutions than they are to find fault. They would rather lay blame than work toward a resolution of issues that can benefit the majority.

If a community, county, state or even our nation is to continue to thrive, we must find people willing to work together for positive results in both the staff, elected and appointed positions. They should be prepared to seek out solutions to bring together differing sides to find a resolution to challenges, rather than attempt to land a knockout blow to those we differ with in an effort to feed out-of-control egos.

One of the best ways to accommodate differing opinions is not become so intransigent in our beliefs that we cannot see some of the merits of other opinions. By opening our eyes to those with differing views, we get a clearer assessment of a way forward.

We as an island face a number of very difficult choices that will be made in the future. We can ill afford to continue to kick the can down the road on these issues any longer. Many of those choices that will be made may be contrary to some of the positions we've held over many years. However, it may be that the solutions to challenges can be found in a collaboration of ideas and philosophies, not in inflexible positions and personal attacks.

These challenges will require that we all take a step back and realize we are here to legislate for all of our citizens and not along any particular philosophical lines, or to cater to any special interest group.

We must understand that life is not black and white, but does in fact have shades of grays and unknowns. We await a discovery of sorts of the solutions that may have alluded us for so long.

We must also compartmentalize the mistakes of the past and base our decisions on what is right for the future. We must not look back in disdain on those who may have erred in their judgments years before, but ensure we make learned and fair decisions as we go along. What counts is what we do today and the future; we must concentrate our thoughts on that formula if we are to be successful.

It is my hope that the sharp tongues of those who can find nothing but negatives are turned into the proverbial "plowshares" that will bring forward a crop of solutions rather than continued dead ends and darkness. I hope through the illumination of the solutions we seek, that we might better find our way through the substantial challenges ahead.

It was Michael Faraday who said it best when he observed, "It is right that we should stand by and act on our principles; but not right to hold them in obstinate blindness, or retain them when proved to be erroneous."

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