Thursday, September 29, 2016

Last week, we had two stories regarding resignations from individuals in public offices. One school board member supposedly moved out of district, and one alderman resigned for apparent health reasons. I’m beginning to see a trend where our local politics are concerned.

Medical issues and other emergency situations aside, if you can’t serve the term, don’t run for the office. If you are interested in dipping your toes into the political arena, I urge you to educate yourself on what it is you’re getting into, what is expected of you, the commitments and the processes. Maybe attend some meetings to get a feel for what actually goes on. I can’t even begin to estimate how many school board meetings, public hearings, city aldermen meetings or otherwise I’ve covered where I am the sole community member in attendance.

Time and again I have seen people run for different offices whom I’ve never seen at a meeting, who don’t have any experience in government or education, and who are simply in over their heads from the get go.

Those who are committed elected officials end up feeling the burden of those vacancies. Running for office, in whatever capacity, is not a status symbol, a social experiment or a popularity contest and should not be taken lightly. A public office is a job, with deadlines, homework, expectations and commitment. It requires leadership, organization, time-management and people skills. Most importantly, it requires someone who will take the job seriously.

Our local governments deserve better. Our elected officials deserve better colleagues. Our community deserves better. Being elected to public office isn’t akin to winning a game. Elected terms are marathons, not foot races. If you cannot stand that simple test, don’t put your name on the ballot.

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