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Olson: With election done, hard work should begin

The election is over.

Now comes the hard part: Doing the actual work.

The road ahead is going to be bumpy, and for those candidates who won election – whether they had opponents or not – the meter starts running today.

Whether the officeholders-elect will be going to Washington, D.C., Springfield, or just to the county seat in Sycamore, there are a couple of things they all have in common:

1. They work for the voters who have sent them there.

2. They have a lot of work ahead of them.

First things first, everybody who ran in this election needs to send someone around to pick up all those campaign signs that have been planted all over town. If there is such a thing as bad publicity, then a tattered sign with your name on it along the roadside in January is it.

Next, can we get down to the business of fixing the government, please?

The reformers need to get started reforming. The fiscal conservatives need to break out the budget scalpels.

They all need to find a way to work together, or we’re going to be sunk.

Our government at every level faces pressing challenges that have to be addressed now for the good of all the people, whether they call themselves Republicans, Democrats or independents.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the “fiscal cliff” looming at the end of this year for the Federal Government? Or the federal Alternative Minimum Tax that threatens to hit middle-income earners across the country? (Those would be the same middle class taxpayers whom everyone spent the past year cozying up to during the campaign, by the way.)

This problem is going to require a solution, not more standoffs and bickering that lead nowhere.

In Springfield, the referendum that voters considered Tuesday isn’t anything approaching a solution to Illinois’ staggering $83 billion public pension shortfall, it’s multibillion-dollar backlog of unpaid bills, and it’s continuing failure to provide enough funding for our local schools.

Those are problems our legislature – and dithering Gov. Quinn – absolutely has to address before it takes up red herring issues like whether Joe Sixpack should be able to carry a .45 under his jacket when he goes to the grocery store.

Here in DeKalb County, the county’s budget nearly doubled since 2004, and there are decisions to be made about paying for a new county jail, relocating residents from the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park, and the ever-present need to facilitate bringing more employers here.

Newly elected State’s Attorney Richard Schmack has the murder trial of William Curl to prepare for on Dec. 3, the day he takes office, and an ongoing battle to fight against crimes of every sort here.

Good luck to him in these next four years.

The thing about our government – and it’s part of the reason newspapers have been around for hundreds of years now – is that it can always be better.

That’s why we’ve elected the public servants who will be representing us for the next 2 to 6 years.

We’re putting our public trust in them to help us fix this thing. There’s a lot of work to do.

Let that work begin today.

• Eric Olson is the editor of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841, ext. 257, email, and follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.

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