I was told 11 years ago that in order to serve in the political arena one must grow a thick skin. Criticism comes with the territory, and one must learn quickly to deal with dissenting opinions. I also have learned that there are times to compromise and times to stand on principles.
One of the obstacles to establishing trust with the public is misinformation and secrecy. I have always strived to be open, honest and advocated for the community and in city government. City Council meets twice a month and there are countless meetings all open to the public and the media.
I believe anyone following our local affairs has had the opportunity to observe my service to the city, through open door policy and through the media. My opposition on many issues has been well documented; proposals have been openly presented and debated.
I have been called upon to share my opposing views that may not have been popular, or explain my decisions, many times over the years and I obliged. Recently, I have been chastised for not being open and not debating issues, when in truth, I have debated for seven years. When reporting the news, I have requested my comments be published verbatim because in the past they have been snippets of statements and easily taken out of context.
If professional courtesy was extended to the person being interviewed, and not under hostile situations, one could feel free to share their thoughts and opinions so that when the public reads the news, it should be fair and informative. If the media shows honesty and prints the facts, then I will extend professionalism and courtesy to them. I will have no problem in working with the media.
I hope that in the future through professional courtesy on my part and professionalism shown by the media we can once again begin an open dialog that will keep the flow of information available for our community.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sharyn Tallman is a candidate for mayor of Parkersburg.