On Friday, Nov. 8, Lake County Commissioner James Williams held his first ‘Coffee with a Commissioner’ event in Christmas Valley at the Farmhouse Café and Bakery, an informal chat session with local residents he hopes to replicate across Lake County on a routine basis to better understand concerns.
Williams describes the event as a low-key way to meet with people in an informal setting, as often people can feel intimidated if they are meeting with him in a more formal venue such as at Lake County Commissioners meetings.
Williams met around 40 people at the event, many of them regulars to the café, who took the opportunity to talk and discuss Lake County issues.
He talked to a mixture of groups, couples, and individuals throughout the restaurant. Often he got called from table-to-table once conversation stopped at the table he was currently visiting. Often Williams would go back to a previous group when they had additional questions.
Williams feels the effort was a success as an opportunity to have more direct communication with the residents he is tasked with representing in a governmental position. Christmas Valley residents were appreciative that he took the time to sit down and have meaningful conversations with them, according to Williams.
At this time Williams is looking at continuing his Coffee with a Commissioner sessions in other parts of the county on either Fridays or Saturdays. He is currently in talks with restaurants in the northern part of Lake County to find one that best fits, and provide ample advance notice of his intended attendance so that the event can be better advertised and attended.
Williams does not want to hit the same location two times in a row, but provide variety to reach as many different residents as possible. Some of the areas Williams wants hopes to hold future informal chats include Plush, Adel, Fort Rock, Silver Lake, Paisley, and Summer Lake.
Williams was encouraged at the response from the initial effort, and looks forward to meeting more Lake County residents in a similar setting.