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A time for optimism
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It seems you can’t open a newspaper or turn on the television these days without being clobbered with “bad news” -- news about tragic natural disasters, sky-rocketing gas prices, national unemployment rates that continue to climb, and political strife in Washington. It’s an unfortunate fact that positive things are overlooked too often.

Yet there's plenty of “good news” happening all around you. Churches are quietly helping those who need assistance and civic groups are donating time to work to improve our local quality of life. Scouts are developing leadership skills and learning the keys to success in life. Parents, grandparents and businesspeople are volunteering in local schools. Students are celebrating achievements, and families are celebrating reunions.

I bring this up now because this is a special time for our community, our state and, indeed, the entire nation. It’s a time of “good news”… a time of optimism, of young people celebrating accomplishments, and of a new generation preparing to meet life’s challenges.

It’s graduation time.

Across the country, new grads from high schools and colleges are moving into life’s next chapter. It’s a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, and exciting expectations.

Sure, times might be tough, and this year’s college graduates face the frightening reality of continuing economic uncertainty and tight job markets. But this crop of graduates could certainly help pull America out of this economic uncertainty. The new generation entering the workforce could well be the one that charts a new course, the one that leads us in a new direction of prosperity and a brighter future for generations to come.

I’m also optimistic about the next generation of public servants -- the young men and women who'll soon be making policy decisions that impact our daily lives.

Of course, as an elected official I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet many new graduates. They sometimes ask me for advice, although they more often ask for advice related to my experience as a CPA rather than as an elected official.

In meeting with these young people (and some older graduates as well), I never cease to be impressed.

Today’s job-seeking graduates need courage, patience and resourcefulness -- but from my experience, they’re more than up to the challenge.