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As the newly elected president of the Lake County Council, I would like to express my goals for the upcoming year.

First, I would like to thank my colleagues for being given the honor of serving as their president in 2018.

It is my thought that as we begin 2018, we must remember that “Civility Counts." By this I mean that regardless of the positions or views of any council member, we must respect each other as council members in a fair and equitable fashion and be professional in doing so.

This means that regardless of age, race, gender or political affiliation, we must always remember the needs of our constituents come first. The good people of Lake County are who we took an oath to represent. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree on issues as long as the needs of the citizens of our county always are taken into account first.

My goals are to work with the Lake County Board of Commissioners and the sheriff to meet the requirements necessary to have the U.S. Department of Justice mandate pertaining to jail conditions lifted.

We are close to achieving this goal, and with the continued hard work of Sheriff Oscar Martinez and the Lake County Board of Commissioners, I am confident we will achieve this goal shortly. We also have transitioned into a superb, consolidated 911 center as prescribed by law and are continuing to fine-tune the 911 dispatch center into the best and most modern facility in Indiana.

I have in the past couple of years worked with Superior Court judges to start a veterans treatment court, where our military veterans are rehabilitated and assisted for nonviolent offenses rather than being placed in jail or fined in a punitive fashion.

It is, and always has been, my thought that Americans owe this to our veterans. In a very similar fashion, I personally feel the need to attack the opioid crisis. Instead of throwing the nonviolent offenders linked to opioids in jail, we need to use the funding to get them off the terrible drugs that are plaguing our citizens.

It also is my belief that our county needs mass transit when it comes to commuter trains and a countywide busing service that allows our citizens to get to their doctor appointments and to do their shopping.

It is crucial that we take a regional approach to this issue so we can get from one community to another. This is an issue that should be taken up on a county and state level and not necessarily be reliant on our cities and towns for the dollars to do so. We are Lake County, after all.

Another priority is working with our fine Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. in making sure we are doing everything humanly possible to keep our waterways clean and free of debris to prevent the possibility of flooding.

My goals are to work hard, gather all of the information I can, be courteous and civil, and always tell the truth.

I would hope this would be the goal of every elected official. And it shouldn’t stop there. It should be the goal of all people as we move forward toward a better Lake County.

Again, thank you for allowing me to serve as your Lake County Council president in 2018.

David Hamm, D-Hammond, is a Lake County councilman serving the 1st District and was elected to serve as council president for 2018. The opinions are the writer's.