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Susan Haralson challenges Mike Moon in Missouri’s 29th Senate District 50 years after double valve surgery, Erie native receives a new heart

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TThe day after this issue, our biggest of the year (featuring our 12th annual 40 Under 40 class), is July 4th. Independence Day. The day we celebrate America and our freedom – our patriotism in all its glory.

However, if you’re one of the growing number of Americans Jeff Bloodworth talks about in his op-ed this month, or someone who watched the recent presidential debate/debacle, or is feeling rattled by a spate of Supreme Court decisions, then you may not be feeling so proud of our country these days — and the Fourth of July celebrations may seem a little gross and contrived to you.

This issue also marks the publication of another opinion piece two years ago — which resulted in our state senator suing this publication and one of its contributing editors (you may also have read a recent article in the Erie Times News about how Senator Laughlin pilfered hundreds of copies of this print edition from various distribution outlets in Erie County). And as this costly litigation continues to drag on and our First Amendment rights continue to be curtailed, so too does our collective trust in elected officials to do what is right for the American people.

Join Erie’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2024.

To quote one of our new inductees this year, Anna Lindvay, “You don’t have to be an elected official or have a lot of money to make a difference.”

If we feel like our government can’t make meaningful changes, we have to do it ourselves. One piece at a time, one person at a time. And if 40 people do something at the same time? Then we can be proud of where we come from – proud of our people working for the success of their community, trying hard, fighting for the good cause and – as cheesy as it sounds – making a real, measurable difference.

As our class this year has shown, definitions of success can vary widely. Success can be achieved in traditional ways—we have high-powered lawyers, CEOs, PhDs, successful, forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and those highly decorated with awards and accolades. But we’ve also featured many people whose level of success is less obvious—those who provide comfort, work to make a neighborhood more welcoming, raise money for an often-overlooked cause, or inspire change through art. All of the accomplishments of the 40 individuals featured here help make our city more vibrant, equitable, and welcoming—and that’s cause for celebration.

So This weekend, as we watch the fireworks and wave our flags, think of the young people in these pages who are working so hard to make our city (and by extension, our country) better for everyone. And let them inspire you (at any age) to do the same as we work together to make Erie the place we can truly be. proud.