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CAF: Local action is often where we have real opportunity to make a difference. This article by Pete Heckman was originally published on March 8, 2009. It is timeless, so we are republishing to inspire you to shift time to your state and local elections and find opportunities to support excellent local leadership]

By Gary L. Heckman

Growing up in a small town in Northern Michigan, my family learned to become somewhat self-sufficient and not to rely on anyone except immediate neighbors for help in their day-to-day living. My Father worked outside the home for a gasoline company and my Mother and the rest of the family developed and operated a small resort. Northern Michigan was noted for its pleasant environment, especially during the Summer Season, and attracted many tourists and visitors and much of the local economy was tourist oriented.

We didn’t live right in town but just outside and looked upon it as our town. Most people didn’t rely on the local government for much other than to keep the snow plowed in the winter and to provide police and fire protection. There was no public sewer and water systems and the electricity was operated by a private company. The other local governments provided public education, although I went to the local parochial school which was funded through donations and contributions.

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