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Coming together for community

Two longtime Wooster residents from different spots on the political spectrum will lead the first WooTALKS community discussion on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of Spoon Market & Deli, 144 W. Liberty St., Wooster. Conservative Republican Greg Long and Liberal Democrat David Broehl will share their collaborative experiences working together for the good of the local community.
The event will be hosted by Concerned Citizens of Wayne County. The goal of CCWC is "to bring together all sides of the political community into an arena of dialogue and sharing," CCWC's Dia C. Miller said. The group plans to host monthly events.
"We started WooTALKS because our political discourse on a national scale has deteriorated into something unrecognizable and dysfunctional," said Oliver Warren, co-founder of CCWC. "We have to learn how to talk to each other."
With an emphasis on bipartisanship, the group searched for locals with differing viewpoints who have maintained a focus on the community good. "[We] found Broehl and Long, who have been working with one another for around 20 years despite being on separate ends of the political spectrum," Warren said.
Long is a CPA and owner and partner in Long, Cook & Samsa, a local accounting and financial advising firm. He has been on many local nonprofit and community boards including the Humane Society, Historical Society, Red Cross, Wooster Community Hospital and College of Wooster.
Broehl was a social worker and administrator with government and nonprofit organizations, a management consultant, and the director of Children Services and a Family and Children First Council. He also has been on many local community and nonprofit boards including the Historical Society, Head Start, Wooster Youth Center, Red Cross and O'Huddle.
Long and Broehl have worked together on several capital campaigns and other community projects including the Historical Society, Red Cross and the Cornerstone PlayLab.
When asked to comment on their participation in WooTALKS, the two chose to answer jointly. "Currently our national and state political landscape is greatly polarized with little to no communication," Long and Broehl said. "However, our experience locally is that politics usually does not enter the picture."
The two have seen local individuals from varying political backgrounds come together with "positive synergy in the planning and decision-making process when helping to improve the local community."
The pair explained that they have been brought together by a love for their shared community. "This does not mean that we think alike," they said. "Instead, through our mutual trust and listening to each other carefully, we use our individual experiences and find that our combined thoughts and actions are better than as individuals."
"We hope people from all walks of life who are open to learning and being constructive will attend. All are welcome," Warren said.
Miller said, "We are asking and encouraging everyone from the community to join us: Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Conservative, Liberal, everyone."
Warren will moderate the evening. Snacks will be provided. Attendees are welcome to purchase their own beverages.
Another WooTALKS will be Sept. 19 at Spoon at 6:30 p.m. Angie Bos and members of the political science department of the College of Wooster will be guest speakers. The evening will focus on understanding government.
Long and Broehl said, "We have one question for Republicans and Democrats: If we think of people of different political persuasions working together locally arm in arm, listening to each other and helping our community, could this help us to begin to find common ground in the state and national political arenas?"

Published: August 10, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170809907