If 2012 stood out for extremes of violence, weather and political divisions, 2013 stands before us all shiny and new and ripe for reconciliation and progress. Here are three hopes for the next 365 days:
• That leadership and compromise will stop being scarce in Washington, D.C. The Republicans in Congress and the Democratic president share responsibility to govern a country that increasingly looks ungovernable. This needs to be the year when brinkmanship gives way to statesmanship on deficit reduction, entitlement reform, immigration and more. Because they all sit in safe Republican seats, the members of the Kansas delegation are well-positioned to step out front and pursue legislation that not only reflects their principles and solves problems but actually can pass in both chambers. President Obama needs to stop singling out private jet ownership for verbal abuse and taxation proposals.
• That Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature will govern with care and caution and without doing harm. They must balance their responsibility to fund public education, social services and other priorities with their zeal to cut taxes and spending, mindful of the likely impact of their actions on local governments and school districts. They must provide strong oversight of the KanCare system, in which the poor, disabled and vulnerable Kansans on Medicaid will be newly served by private managed-care companies. As Kansans continue to work toward a stronger economy, and make the most of the exciting new opportunities for oil drilling, they should pool their prayers on behalf of an end to the devastating drought. Let it rain.
• That Wichita and Sedgwick County will see airplane sales rebound and downtown reborn, as the economy heals and area families find new stability. True, Boeing will finish its painful exit this year from the city that has been its second home for eight decades. But Southwest Airlines is coming (to what soon will be a new and better airport terminal), Koch Industries is expanding, and things look promising for local employers including Spirit AeroSystems, Cessna Aircraft, Bombardier Learjet, Airbus and NetApp. Hawker Beechcraft is well on its way to charting its course post-bankruptcy. And $50 million in Project Downtown projects are scheduled to be completed this year, with the Kansas Leadership Center and Kansas Health Foundation Conference Center on Douglas the most visible example of how the core is being reinvented as a place to live, work and relax. Local leaders at the city, county and school district must continue to seek new ways to be collaborative and enterprising as well as tightfisted and foresighted, but things are looking up at last.
May this new year turn out to be one to remember, not for hardship and strife but for joy and prosperity.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman