Being a resident in Allegany or Cattaraugus County has its advantages. We are far from the maddening traffic jams that city drivers endure. The landscape that surrounds us is a gift that keeps on giving. Folks are friendly, and chances are that you know your neighbors. We tend to look after and help each other out. The quality of the air we breathe is much cleaner, and our crime rate is much lower than that of city and urban areas.
Living here, however, does present challenges. Some of these challenges are met and are handled with commendable ability. I tip my hat to our winter road crews – we certainly get more than our fair share of snow here. To our volunteer fire, ambulance and paramedic crews – I salute you. You exemplify the true spirit and heart of the rural community.
Unfortunately, our counties do face issues such as job growth rate, stagnant population growth, and poverty. We also face issues that many citizens in the United States are now facing. Senior citizens are trying to cope with the new Medicare D plan. Parents and/or students are struggling with trying to pay for their higher-education tuition. The “No Child Left Behind Act” seems to be having unwanted consequences in school districts across the nation. Gasoline will soon be $3.00 a gallon and will probably continue to rise. Health insurance costs, if you are lucky enough to have it, seem to rise every year. Have you received a tax cut and is it covering these rising costs? Most of us can say, “No!”. And the new bankruptcy law has made it more difficult for those who are in dire need due to medical/unforeseen costs to receive relief.
It doesn’t matter who we are – Democrats, Independents, Republicans, No Party Affiliation, etc., we are all affected by these issues. What is decided upon at the local, state, and federal levels impact each of our lives.