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Safety in Polk

Commissioners speak on unrest in nation

COLUMBUS—Following the Capitol being raided on Jan. 6, Polk County Commissioners sent a message this week that they condemn any violence. 

Commissioners met on Monday and heard from commissioners, as well as approved a resolution to assure that Polk County citizens’ safety is their top priority and to support their constitutional rights. 

Polk County was recently mentioned in a Washington Post article following a Facebook post from the Polk County Republican Party. The post was mentioned in the Washington Post speaking of a bus trip to Washington with #StoptheSteal. “If your passions are running hot and you’re intending to respond to the President’s call for his supporters to descend on DC on Jan. 6, LISTEN UP!” wrote the Polk County Republican Party. The post was taken down later. 

The Bulletin emailed questions to Polk County Republican Party Chair Timothy Koch about the headquarters’ role in the bus trip, but was not returned. 

Following is commissioners’ full responses on Monday night regarding the resolution and what occurred in Washington. 

Tommy Melton: 

“I grew up in Polk County, graduated from High School here and have formed many life-long friendships with the good people of Polk County. This is the best place on earth to live, in my opinion.

As I sat the other day and watched the violence unfolding in Washington, DC, I was stunned to realize this was actually happening in our beloved country. I had tuned in to watch the debate concerning objections raised over the votes in the swing states.

However, this was all stopped until the wee hours of the morning because of the invasion and violence at the Capitol building, and most Americans were deprived of the opportunity to see our members of Congress have this debate. From this point on, all the focus had shifted to the protesters.

I must say that I am fully supportive of peaceful demonstrations and protests, but I am adamantly against lawless and violent protests, destruction of property and especially loss of life. Each life is precious to God and cannot be replaced.

As Chair of the Board of Commissioners, I have been in conference with our Sheriff,

Chief of Police and County Manager; and we are all in complete agreement that this type of violence will not be tolerated in Polk County. We are very committed to the safety and well being of the citizens of Polk County, and will do everything in our power to make sure they are protected.

The year 2020 was a year of hatred and destruction, as we watched cities being burned to the ground, business owners lose their places of business as they saw their lifelong dreams destroyed right before their eyes, and our great law enforcement personnel threatened, injured and killed all across this country.

We can do better than this and we must do better, for the sake of those coming along after us. This is not a left vs. right problem, not a Liberal vs. Conservative problem; it is good vs. evil. Let us not get caught up in the anger and hatred, but remember the great commandment: Love God with all your heart and love others as yourself.

I challenge you this week to seek out a law enforcement officer and tell him or her how much you appreciate them and that you are praying for their protection and well-being.

Let’s determine in our hearts that we won’t allow Polk County to become infected with hatred and anger, like some of the rest of this country has become. We have an obligation to our children and young people to be the best example that we can be to them.

Paul Beiler: 

“Let me first start by addressing some things that are taking part in our

Nation tonight. This past year has been a very dark and trying time in our nation. The Covid 19 pandemic , the social and racial unrest last summer , and the intense and contentious election season that we are still seeing unfolding before our eyes. I want to speak specifically to only the citizens of the greatest county in our country. Polk County. A couple of months ago, a friend of mine asked me, you are always bragging about that Polk County is the best place to live, what makes this county so special? I told him that is easy. It’s the people. Our citizens are what make this a special place to live. When I was elected as a Commissioner I was elected to work for the best of ALL of our citizens. It does not matter what letter you have behind your name, it does not matter if you have an R or a D or if you our an independent.

Society today wants to put us in boxes, right, left, black, white, Hispanic it does not matter what skin color you are, I am here to work for your good and what is best for the citizens of our county. Tonight I want to tell you that I do not care what your party affiliation is, I will fight for you and I want the best for all the citizens of this county. I call on our citizens to take inventory of what WE can do for each other. Lets rely on the best part of what is on the inside of each one of us. Lets take care of our neighbors and people that we come in contact with each and every day. Let’s focus on the 80 percent of what we agree on and not the 20 percent that we disagree on. When we focus on what divides us, the division gets wider and wider and we began to feel like our neighbor is our enemy. I call on our citizens to engage. Engage to help those we see in need. To treat others fairly. As someone who is much wiser then myself said. “treat others the way I want to be treated”. I look at what is happening in our beloved capitol in our beloved nation and I ask. Is this what we have come to? My heart breaks for our nation when I see violence playing out in our streets. I do not care what the cause is. Darkness will never drive out darkness.

Violence will not quell violence it will lead to more hate, anger and more violence. I understand that we all have difference of opinion but that is what makes this country great. We can all have a difference of opinion and still love each other. We have somewhere bought into the theory that if you do not agree with me then you are my enemy.

Enemies are hated, enemies are meant to be defeated. We need to see that our ideology and the boxes we put people in are meant to divide.

We the citizens of this county are better than that. Let us lift one another up, let us defend one another. Let us have civilized conversation with one another, but let us leave our anger out of these conversations. Let us focus on what unites us rather than divides us.

These values are things that make this county great and the greatest place to raise a family. God bless the United States Of America and may

God bless Polk County.”

Andre Overholt: 

“To echo this resolution, I could not be more proud of our county and the way we have handled and responded to the current state of affairs in our Country. Whether it be our response to COVID or our response to the civil unrest that our Country is experiencing all over the Nation. Polk County has always risen to the challenge and has been a great example what it looks like when relationships are more important than disagreements.

My encouragement to Polk County is that we would not lose sight of that in the coming days. The relationships we have in this County is why we have been so blessed and why we have had the success we have had. We have worked together despite any political differences to accomplish what is best for the citizens of Polk County. I am proud to live in this county and I know we will continue be an example for those around us.”

Commissioner Myron Yoder said he appreciated all the comments and everybody is a little tense right now. He said it behooves us as leaders to speak out and challenged citizens to help each other. 

“There’s all kinds of things we can do to help each other,” Yoder said. “Have a heart, give a hand, not hate. That’s what I want to leave with you tonight.” 

Commissioner David Moore was not at the meeting but was on Zoom. He said he was elected to work for all the citizens of this county. 

Following is the resolution unanimously approved by commissioners on Monday: 

Resolution to assure Polk County citizens their safety is our top priority and to support their constitutional rights

Whereas, the United States is going through troubling times of civil unrest at the National Level; and

Whereas, the COVID-19 situation seems to be accelerating with more infections and deaths on the horizon; and

Whereas, the COVID-19 response tactics are changing to a focus of vaccination from a focus on testing; and

Whereas, most of the Polk County Employees are deemed “essential” employees and have worked continuously throughout the entire COVID-19 event. 

Therefore, be it resolved, that the Polk County Board of Commissioners want to assure all the citizens of Polk County that they have and will continue to keep Polk County’s needs as their top priority through the difficult times that we are facing. 

Further, the Polk County Board of Commissioners want to thank all of the employees and elected officials in Polk County for the outstanding job they have done and will continue to do throughout this time of crisis to keep the citizens of Polk County safe and secure. 

Further, while we support the right of all citizens to peacefully protest, we wholeheartedly condemn any action that is violent or criminal in nature and encourage our state and federal leaders to work together for the betterment of our nation.