If you want to run for office, show up at the meetings
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
By Editorial Board
With May 18th’s primary elections just around the corner, many new names have thrown in for the competition throughout Gazette 2.0’s coverage area.
This is good news. New names, new ideas, new energy… all of this can prove beneficial, giving community leadership fresh spark and perspective, sometimes breaking through the doldrums and vision limitations that often arrive when the same leaders have occupied seats for years.
New names and ideas are great. Something else is critical though, as well.
New faces. If you’re running for school board, you should be at the school board meetings, chiming in with ideas. If they’re virtual meetings, the point still stands.
Want to be the mayor? Sit on borough council? Become a commissioner?
All of these seats have regular meetings that bring them in contact with the residents of the towns, boroughs, and townships they represent, and no one running for office should think this is just about campaigning.
There are processes to learn, solicitors to observe and get a sense of feel for dealing with, tax collectors and town department officers who serve as founts of information at these meetings, informing the elected leaders on matters upon which they must weigh in.
The simple truth is that if you’re too busy now for these regularly scheduled meetings, you’re too busy to properly serve if elected. We’ve had school board members who skipped every meeting for years, out of protest, and in frustration.
We’ve had commissioners and councilpersons who’ve barely served after being elected, often making excuses about how they’re “working in the community” and don’t need to be at meetings.
We know how ineffective that is, and frankly, don’t need more of it.
A title is nice. Being elected serves as a nice pat on the back, assuring one they’re well thought off in the community and folks are willing to trust them with a chance to lead.
This isn’t about affirmation, however.
This should be about bringing a bright, new, courageous voice from a person with ideas and
perspectives that bring gains to the community, and we truly hope it is.
If, however, the commitment and input only sit out there, promised as potential, waiting for the election win to catalyze the necessary life and time adjustments to bring the candidates into the arena and make the energy go kinetic, that’s a firm no from here.
Politicians don’t have a great record with promises and potential. Show up now and show you have the commitment and capability that will make you a good leader.