Thank you, candidates

Published 5:12 pm Monday, July 22, 2013

Thank you, municipal candidates, for caring enough about your respective communities to file for office and an opportunity to help govern those communities.

To the first-time candidates, we appreciate your courage and commitment to put you on the campaign trail. To the incumbents, your dedication to helping make your city or town better is deserving of praise.

Whether you are an incumbent or a first-time candidate, please take your campaign to the public. Voters need to know what you stand for, what vision you have for their city or town and how you would go about accomplishing that vision. Take your message to the voters by appearing at meetings of civic groups. Let voters know what you want to do — if elected — for them by going door to door in neighborhoods in your city or town. Explain your platform by way of advertising. Hold a town hall-style meeting during which voters ask you questions and where listen to voters’ concerns.

The more voters know about you and your platform, the better your chances of getting their votes. The more you interact with voters, the better they understand why you are running for office. An educated electorate makes better choices when it comes to who will represent their interests before a city council, a board of aldermen or a board of commissioners.

And for those candidates who are elected to office, remember you were chosen to represent the people who put you in office. When making decisions that affect them, you must do what is best for them, not what is best for you. You must be the advocate for people who want their concerns addressed. The more you listen and the less you speak, the better off your constituents will be.

Again, thank you, candidates, for having the desire and willingness to serve others as a public servant, for that’s what elected officials are — servants of the people. And if you are not elected this fall, don’t despair.

After all, Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections. Later, he was elected president of our nation.

That should inspire you candidates.