Choose best person for the job
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Thanks to all of you who reached out about my column last week about how to research candidates. I have spent a great deal of time in the past 10-12 years attending workshops, seminars, conferences, and conventions to educate myself on the undercurrents of elections.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many people who are candidates or elected officials, who work on campaigns either as paid staff or volunteers, and/or have been involved in politics for years. I’ve tried to listen and learn from all of them even though sometimes the views differed. I don’t claim to be an expert on or to know everything about elections but, I do know 100% more than I did in 2008.
I no longer choose a candidate on how well they speak in public, how nice looking they are, whether they are the “cool” candidate, if I agree with everything they say, or if they play a mean saxophone
When I realized how uneducated a voter I had been and how many really bad choices I had made, I determined to change my approach. It’s not easy, it takes time, and it takes an open mind, but I feel much better about how I vote now. That doesn’t guarantee that the people I vote for are always right on every issue, but they are as close to my values as possible.
Some of the things I pay attention to in their paid political ads are what issues they push as their main goals. Are those issues even something that falls under the office for which they are running? Do they say “I will” or “I will work towards”? No one person can change ANYTHING! It doesn’t matter if they are running for a local, state, or national office.
Even the president of the United States cannot truly change anything. Executive orders are temporary and don’t actually change the laws themselves. And those orders can be reversed by the next president elected.
So, if a candidate at the state or local level is talking only about issues in the country as a whole, they cannot control that. They need to be talking about issues that are controlled by the state or local governments.
A candidate for a federal office can’t do anything about what happens in a specific state or city – just like someone running for a county office cannot do anything about what is decided in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, or in their state legislature. SO, immediately ignore any of those claims and listen for the things they could actually do something about.
Yes, someone running for the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives represents the citizens of their state or district so they would be able to “work with” others to change federal laws that affect their own constituents, but, again, one person cannot do it alone.
County commissioners in Coosa County cannot change anything unless at least two of the five agree with them. And then, sometimes they then have to depend on the state to fund what they want.
A couple of major things on the local level. Our county commissioners ARE NOT road commissioners anymore. That changed years ago, and the counties now EMPLOY county engineers who are responsible for scheduling, arranging the funding for and how roads are worked on.
And our superintendent of education and school board members cannot make any major changes without the approval and/or funding from the state and/or federal government.
I think the main thing I have learned through the years is to not make my decisions based on if a candidate is a friend or relative. Granted, I WANT to support them. But, they may not be the person who comes out as being the most experienced for the job.
Remember, you are acting as an employer when you pick a candidate. YOU will be paying part of their salary, providing towards their benefits and giving them the responsibility to speak on your behalf.
You need to choose the best person for the job and then also realize that, as their employer, you have a responsibility to communicate with them on how they are performing.
My thoughts also turn to the issue of voter registration. If you are a citizen of the United States, it is your right and responsibility to participate in the selection of our “leaders.” There is NOT currently an effort to prevent legal American citizens who meet the legal requirements to do so from registering and exercising their rights to vote. There IS an effort to allow non-Americans, illegal immigrants and people who have lost their right to vote by other issues to register and freely vote in our elections.
If this is allowed to happen, YOUR vote and MY vote will not matter anymore. Elections will be decided by people who have no history or relationship with our country, who may not be able to speak or read English and who have no understanding of our form of government or how it operates. In other words, OUR rights will be taken away from us if we don’t stand up to this effort.
So, again, I hope some of this information will be helpful to you. Probably on the front page of this edition of “The Coosa County News” you will read about the candidates who have qualified to run for election in the May 24 primary elections. Now, go out and learn about them. Good luck!