Marta Belt, this year's Madison Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors president, had strong words for our public officials who have been unable to agree on an economic development plan for the county.

Belt didn't mince words when she spoke at the Chamber's annual meeting Wednesday night.

"Is anyone else here as frustrated as I am at the current situation that caused the Chamber and economic development to stagnate during this past year," she asked.

"If you share this frustration," she continued, "please join with us in encouraging our leaders to work together, put aside differences for the economic future of our community."

Belt spoke with clarity and vision, two essentials we've seen very little of during the year-long debate over the best way to structure economic development efforts.

We support what she said.

Though her message was strong and dealt with the failure of our local leaders to ... lead ... she ended on an upbeat note.

"The Chamber is relevant for Jefferson County," she said. "We are sticking to what we do best. We are the voice of business!"

The Madison City Council's vote Tuesday to deny future funding for Economic Development Partners was also a blow to the Chamber's plans. EDP and the Chamber have an alliance, sharing resources and ideas.

That alliance, Belt promised, would continue despite the city's vote. She said the Chamber and EDP would continue to work with the county and Hanover who both voted to continue their funding of EDP.

Others need to adopt Belt's style ... Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Nothing Belt said was left to individual interpretation. That's not the case with much of what we've heard from the city and the EDP board.

We appreciate a leader with fortitude; a leader who gets to the point, and an organization that is able to work together to accomplish its goals.

Best of all Marta Belt has found the strength to maintain a positive attitude even though it's clear the road ahead will have plenty of twists and turns.

We challenge others engaged in this dialogue to adopt Belt's spirit. Let it serve as a call to action.