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Bouchat: Women should make up majority of Carroll County’s next Board of Commissioners | COMMENTARY

Now that the census is complete, political redistricting will need to be completed before the next General Assembly convenes in order for both congressional and state legislative districts to be drawn.

Here in Carroll County, the Board of Commissioners will appoint a seven-member redistricting commission for drawing the next commissioner districts with the help of our Board of Elections and both the county Democrat and Republican central committee recommendations.

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Three of the incumbent commissioners are term limited out, I stated two years ago I would only serve one term and the last one has not talked publicly about his intentions. Which means there will be at least four and quite possibly five open seats to be filled.

It is my determination to make the next commissioner board majority female for the following reasons:

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  • In the 184 years Carroll County has been in existence, only two females have ever served as commissioner, yet they represent 51.5% of both the population and registered voters.
  • The concerns of females in their roles as mothers, members of the workforce, users of county services and taxpayers need to be at the table of governance influencing the impact of ordinances upon their every day lives. The fact they are not, I find disturbing and wish to remedy with advocacy.
  • 2022 will be the first commissioner election, since the 100th anniversary of female suffrage and the women of Carroll County could do no greater an honor to the women who sacrificed and suffered to enact the 19th Amendment than to run for office taking control of our County government.

At present, the job pays only $45,000 a year, since 2001, but a salary increase will be proposed in the next General Assembly session to pay the job what it is worth. Thereby, attracting a more diverse citizenry from across the entire county, not just retired government employees already drawing taxpayer pensions.

I am not running for reelection, so I am going to be honest with you and not feed you a line of bull like others who have served in this capacity, trying to scare off possible challengers by saying how hard the job is.

If you have common sense, organizational skills, finance/budgetary knowledge and communication savvy this job is not hard. If you think it is hard after having served, then I don’t think you had the skills for the job in the first place and should not run for reelection. If you love your nation, community and thy neighbor this job is not work, it’s an avocation and honor.

In today’s dollars, $45,000 in 2001 should be $63,000.00 now to have the same consumption power. If we paid that salary and people knew that it takes Tuesday and Thursday hours with random evening and weekend appearances more females would run. It saves on daycare expenses and is a perfect full-time, part-time job for a mother to fill. Plus, virtual meetings allow mothers to care for a child at home and serve simultaneously. Excuses are being removed as to why females should not or can not serve.

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I may have failed to drag Carroll County into the auspiciousness of constitutional governance in line with our Founding Fathers via writing a Carroll County constitution, but I feel quite confident a majority female board will be intelligent enough to deliver the goods during the next board’s tenure.

Women, stop listening to men tell you how hard it is to be a commissioner — it is a lie or the office exceeds their skill set — and take control of our Carroll County government. After all, we know who runs most household finances anyway.

It is important to serve as if your mother is watching you and you will do just fine.

Christopher Eric Bouchat represents District 4 on Carroll County’s Board of Commissioners.

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