CNCounty News

Now I over-communicate

Oklahoma County, Okla. Commissioner Carrie Blumert (right) speaks with Oklahoma Heart and Soul radio hosts Launa West and Terry Monday about the location and construction of the new county jail in 2023.

as told by Carrie Blumert, Oklahoma County, Okla. commissioner

People just want an elected official who is honest and transparent who listens to them.

I don’t necessarily have to vote every way that they want, but the fact that I try to communicate with the public as much as possible, whether that’s social media, newsletters, town halls, going on the radio, going on TV, writing an op-ed, speaking to different groups… people just want correct information, and they want an elected official who they can trust. 

The longer I do this job, the more that piece of it becomes super important to me. 

I didn’t realize before I got elected how much mistrust people have in some of their elected officials, and rightly so. Some officials have really not done right by their community, so it’s very important to me to do my job well. I almost feel like I’m over-communicating with the public and with my constituents and taking their input. 

Anytime I get a request for a speaking engagement, an interview… write a column here, write a column there… I almost always say yes because I want people to know what I’m working on and I want people to be able to trust county government and trust their county commissioner. The more I can be out telling folks what I’m doing, the better. 

There are times that selfishly I wish I could just do my job and go home, but that’s not the life of an elected official. We have to be out in the community telling folks what we’re working on and there may be something I’m working on and I go present it to a group and they said ‘Oh. We don’t know how we feel about this,” and it gives me some input I didn’t have before. It’s part of having 300,000 bosses. 

Before I was elected, I worked at our Oklahoma City County Health Department, and I didn’t really have to promote what I did. I just kind of showed up to work, did my job and I loved my job. I think the general public now understands what public health is. It’s talked about a lot more, it’s understood that more decisions are made with some public health input. So just having that background, it did come in handy during COVID, because I felt like I was able to make pretty informed decisions. Yes, it was unprecedented and none of us had ever lived through it, but I at least understood the concepts and the framework of how to respond to the major public health event. 

Now I Know shares bits of wisdom from the perspective of a county official on the job, written by Senior Writer Charlie Ban from interviews he conducts.

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