Our January “Best of” magazine has become one of AFM's most widely anticipated issues because it highlights those people, organizations, and elements in our community that are truly exemplary. The two most repeated characteristics that define something exemplary are the aspects of “excellence and perfection” and “setting an example or being a model” that should be emulated by others. It is to our credit as a society that we have an interest in such things, because it demonstrates that we can be inspired to adopt positive aspirations for ourselves.
In the business of publishing, the idea that “words matter” has special meaning. With the explosion of human content and its ubiquitous electronic delivery, the precision with which we communicate has never been more important. Even more challenging than navigating the media morass is the daunting task of evaluating the credibility of the content which threatens to smother us. What ever happened to the idea of “telling it like it is”? “Spinning a tale” used to be the purview of grandfathers entertaining their wide-eyed grandkids in front of a crackling fire over marshmallow-laden cups of steaming hot chocolate. Now, we need “fact checking” on everything from groceries to political platforms, and the struggle to avoid being cynical is real.
Enter Susan Combs, Texas’ Comptroller, and a proverbial breath of fresh air. No nonsense here. Combs lives in the world of data and facts, especially those that affect our pocketbooks. At a time when transparency is often an unkept campaign promise, Combs has been unrelenting in her quest to keep Texas citizens informed about the financial state of our state. Among her top priorities is “keeping our children safe,” and she has identified one of the key elements in that commitment as childhood obesity. Not only is the economic impact of this problem staggering, but the human suffering it creates is unbearable.
What is so exemplary about Combs’ work is her untiring commitment to change the future for our children. She has simply been out there “walking the talk” and driving change her whole career. During my time in Austin, I have had the great pleasure of having Susan Combs speak at a number of health and fitness events in which I took part. She never hesitated to find a way to support these activities, and her message was always honest and actionable. She has made it a point to engage with Texans to understand their challenges and developed real programs and interventions that work, while always measuring impact and reporting results. And she has had a very real impact on the health of our children.
We are delighted and proud to have Susan Combs in our issue this month as one of the city's “Best of” who truly is exemplary, and we thank her for protecting our children over these many years.
Keep Austin Fit,
Lou Earle, Publisher, CEO