I can still remember the first time I walked into a voting booth. I was a young child and my grandmother took me with her as she cast her vote. I remember being in awe of the idea that everybody got to help pick who the president would be. As I got older, my passion for politics grew; I was fascinated by our government – the election process, the balances of power, and varying levels from local government to the state and national stage. And I think what I love the most is that our system is truly a representational democracy. As citizens we have the power to participate, whether as a voter, an organizer or even an elected official. We have a say in the process and the ability to form our government at all levels in a manner that we feel best suits our needs and values. All we have to do is participate.
We may not always get the results we would like, but we have the opportunity to have our voices heard at every level – city, county, state, and nationally. While many only participate in the state or national elections, it’s often the city and county elections that have the most direct impact on our lives. The more people that participate the better it is for all of us. Whether it’s choosing to run as a candidate for the school board, the city council, mayor, supervisor or other elected position, or turning up to vote and make your voice a part of the process; it’s incredibly important to participate.
We have been fortunate in our community to have people step forward as candidates to the point that we have rarely had an open seat without someone on the ballot. However, frequently we have seen occasions where there is only one candidate running, including for the seat I currently hold as mayor in this year’s upcoming city election. And while I am hopeful that as a community you would like me to serve another term, I am a firm believer that a representational democracy only works when we have options in the voting booth. I strongly encourage everyone to consider becoming more involved in local government. Talk to someone you know that is currently engaged to learn what it’s all about. Ideally, we would have multiple options at every level for local elections.
Again I encourage everyone to get out and vote – every time you have the opportunity to do so. At the local level, each vote has quite an impact. We have some great people from our community that have stepped up to serve over the years, and I am hopeful that we have many more who will become involved.