It is difficult for me to count how many people have mentioned the tension they've felt throughout this election season. And how frustrated they are with the confusing and contradictory messages they hear and when will the electorate get back to talking about what's really important? That's why when our statehouse reporter Dan Carden sat down with veteran legislator U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky, there was plenty to talk about besides the drama at the ballot box. I was surprised, for instance, to learn that though we hear a lot about the Cline Avenue bridge, the bridge over the Kankakee River between Jasper and Porter County is only one of 4091 bridges in Indiana that are obsolete or deficient and badly in need of repair. There are big infrastructure challenges out there that touch many of our lives in fundamental ways. And we probably don't think about them much, or won't until we run over a pothole or get delayed when there is a roadwork emergency crew blocking the quickest route to wherever it is we're going. That is the job of responsible leadership, as he says.
But the most interesting idea that the Congressman put forward from my point of view about the future was when he said that he is “hopeful,” and that a person who has a career in public service has got to be hopeful. That was a word I had not heard much lately and it echoes a fundamental belief I have that a person in any leadership position has to be hopeful.
It reminded me about my own sense of optimism and purpose. While the problems and opportunities are different in every industry---media, manufacturing, healthcare, gaming, retail, energy, real estate are just a few that come to mind--- every industry faces hurdles going forward. Timing is everything, competition matters too, but there is one unavoidable aspect of shaping a successful future, that is, a mindset in the company's leadership that has hope, that the people who work for that company believe there is a way to pull together and make something happen. By that I don't mean daydreams or fantasies about the hard work and sacrifices that come with investing for the next generation, I mean a realistic view that gets past the cynicism and negativity that too often drown out new ideas or other voices.
Our thriving and growing healthcare industry in Northwest Indiana is one of the best examples I can think of where there is a sense of cooperative collaboration. On the one hand there are the new, robust, ultra-modern full-service, comprehensive care facilities using the many innovative and transformative technologies that are changing the way medicine is being practiced at every level. But at the same time you see strategic acquisitions among the competitive leaders that manage to creatively fill the gaps in the industry. What we end up with are clients and patients with amazing outcomes. Caregivers who help and teach people to manage serious illness and prevent injury and disease starting in childhood. To find out more just read our wrap-up on the year we brought home the best health care.
With my usual sense of optimism, I hope that we can emulate one of our leading industries in that spirit of doing our best for the common goal---an enhanced quality of life for our families and our communities.
Bill Masterson Jr.
The Times Media Company