Meet John Doe: Traits and values I am looking for in our elected officials

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

We have examples of good politicians here in Winnebago County. Yes, I know I have written many columns attempting to inspire local residents to get involved in local politics to topple the oligarchy, but we do have some politicians with admirable traits in our own back yard.

Pat O’Donnell served as Cherry Valley Township highway commissioner from 1979 until his death last week. Pat put “servant” in “public servant.” He did his best to solve the problems residents brought to him, and did so with a positive, jovial attitude. Even at the age of 84, he was still active and doing highway-related road work with his staff. He was always on call and was rarely idle. Cherry Valley Township will miss Pat O’Donnell.

Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins embodies the trait of educated customer service. If Margie or her staff does not have the answer to a question, they will find it and get back to you. However, Margie can answer most questions put to her. Margie worked in the county clerk’s office for years before her first election. Margie knows her job so well that if we were to hire a county clerk, I would hire her in a second.

Being available and being smart only works if you communicate well, and State Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, with the help of his chief of staff, Mark Bonne, churns out press releases and informational pieces at a phenomenal rate. I have been the media contact for local political groups and involved in local news publishing for almost 10 years, and no one comes close to keeping his constituents as informed as Sen. Stadelman. Steve is working for his constituents, and his office shares those successes with you.

I like brave politicians, too. Democrat Randall Olsen, not to be confused with Winnebago County Forest Preserve District member Randy Olson, is running for U.S. Congress against incumbent Adam Kinzinger. Kinzinger’s district is clearly Republican, but Olsen is working to get his message out about jobs and veterans’ rights and benefits; Olsen feels Congress is neglecting these issues. It takes a brave soul to combat big money in a district that was carved out for a specific candidate.

That is not to say forest preserve district member Randy Olson is not a brave soul, too. He tried to overcome political baggage when he, a die-hard Republican, ran as a Democrat for Winnebago County sheriff. That was somewhat brave, but he lost that primary. I like Randy, but he could have demonstrated exceptional bravery by sticking with his party and working to win the Republican nomination in that race.

Unfortunately, some voters are confusing Randy with Randall, and this is hurting Randall Olsen’s congressional election efforts. That makes Randall Olsen look even braver.

I am looking for true public servants with a history of good customer service and solid communication skills, who are willing to stand up to tough circumstances. Let me know what traits you are looking for in your elected officials. Write a letter to the editor or post a comment online at

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper.

From the Sept. 10-16, 2014, issue

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