“Why can’t our elected leaders deliver on their promises to fix the problems facing our nation? If they can’t solve these problems, is there anything I can do that will make a difference?” As I have asked myself these questions, I have been inspired by the famous words spoken by President John F. Kennedy in his 1961 inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”

I believe President Kennedy’s words tell us that the government does not have all the answers. Instead, we have a role to play and can help our country by becoming part of the solution. We all have unique talents and perspectives that are important ingredients in addressing our local needs. As each community becomes more self-sufficient, the burden we place on our government will decrease and everyone will benefit.

Rather than shifting our responsibilities up the chain of government, we should reinforce and support each other, starting on the neighborhood level. I believe the very act of relinquishing our problems to others is what makes them unfixable. Taking ourselves out of the equation is like multiplying by zero. The answer is always going to be zero. If anyone tells you they can fix your problems “without you doing a thing,” then either they are naive or bending the truth, and in the end we will pay the price if we remain as spectators. Instead, I believe we must do our part.

So, what can you do? One way to find out is by coming and getting involved in your local neighborhood association. As the president of the Gubser Neighborhood Association, my primary goal is to create a framework where we can share our talents and interests, develop friendships with our neighbors, build networks of mutual support, and be a united voice in letting everyone know that we want to be part of the solution that our country so desperately needs. The West Keizer Neighborhood Association is also actively working to support its residents. With your help, our neighborhood associations can become a resource for supporting our families, our neighborhoods, our schools, our city, and our nation.

But what if you don’t live within either association’s boundaries? Both associations welcome visitors or are willing to help other Keizer neighborhoods to form their own associations. In addition, the Gubser Neighborhood Association is considering expanding its boundaries to match Gubser Elementary School (which serves the adjacent Hidden Creek, Country Glen, Verda North, and Chemawa North neighborhoods), and we welcome your feedback on this decision at our meeting on March 21.

If you are interested in getting involved, please don’t hesitate to give me a call (503-967-5793), send me an email (, join our online community (, or come to our monthly meetings (third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at Gubser Elementary School). You can also contact the West Keizer Neighborhood Association through their website (, on Facebook, or by attending their meetings (second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at the Keizer Civic Center).

With your involvement, we can be the change our country needs!

(Brad Coy is the president of the Gubser Neighborhood Association and lives with his wife and girls. He can be reached at or (503) 967-5793.)