Reality Check

Less Government, More Community

Evergreen is proof that local issues can be resolved with grassroots efforts, great volunteers, limited overhead, and no bureaucracy

By Tammi Fisher

When Republicans talk about less government, we mean that government can’t fix the ails of society. The government does very few things well. As Ronald Reagan said: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” The government is run by politicians whose motivations are not always public good. And even if faithful public servants ran the government, they typically are not in office long enough to create meaningful change in the bureaucratic behemoth. So before asking the government to do one more thing, Republicans look outside of government to address issues like community, churches, private business, neighbors. 

Evergreen is the perfect reflection of this concept. Evergreen is unincorporated; it is simply a named community. There is no city council and no community governing body. There is a very strong community, with highly invested community members committed to keeping Evergreen great, retaining economic freedom, and implementing only as much government in the residents’ lives as is necessary. The people of Evergreen are enormously independent, self-reliant, and fully vested in the community. When a park in Evergreen needs upkeep or new equipment, the community comes together with groups like the former Lions Club and Rotary and provides. When Evergreen needed a fire station, the community decided the investment in our fire department was worth the expense and voted for a levy to build a new fire station. When business owners in Evergreen became concerned that the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce was not catering to Evergreen’s economic development and business support needs, Evergreen created its own Chamber of Commerce. To increase Evergreen’s safety and recreation opportunities, the community developed a non-profit organization called the Evergreen Community Partnership. 

The most recent issue being tackled by the community is providing safe routes to schools. The Evergreen School District doesn’t provide buses for kid transport, so most kids in the district walk to school. Sidewalks are virtually non-existent, leaving kids to walk along the curbs and on streets, dodging traffic. With the explosion in population, traffic has increased, making walking to school without sidewalks a hazardous endeavor. The Evergreen community came together, applied, and was awarded a grant to build sidewalks. Now they need our support to bring this vision of safe routes to schools a reality. The Evergreen Community Partnership is charged with raising $50,000 as its match to the grant funds. The cause is worthy; the kids deserve our support. Donate at www.evergreencofc.com. 

Evergreen is proof that local issues can be resolved with grassroots efforts, great volunteers, limited overhead, and no bureaucracy. Evergreen needs our community support to make safe routes to schools a reality. Few investments are as impactful as those made in bettering the lives of children. Please donate today. 

Tammi Fisher is an attorney and former mayor of Kalispell.

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