I am an ordinary citizen, like you, who lives in a neighborhood, worries about my family, drives a car with over 100, 000 miles. clips coupons for my groceries and stays awake nights wondering how I will afford to put a new roof on my house. So understand that my world as a political candidate is not about expensive, deal-making dinners or meetings set in exotic locales with famous celebrities. It’s about working as hard as I can to ensure that all of my personal and professional responsibilities are taken care of, and THEN getting out and doing all that I can to let people know about my candidacy.
My district is comprised of 1,100 square miles and almost 90,000 registered voters. Read those numbers again. And then think about the task of trying to directly reach out to at least half of those people to let them know that a) You are running for office. b) Why you are running for office c) What the office is and the district it encompasses (because truthfully, most people are woefully undereducated) d) Why, when and where they should/can vote.
If it sounds a bit overwhelming…it is. And it requires a candidate to figure out the most effective and reasonably affordable means of doing all of that. So when you are completely frustrated by that mailer or phone call or political ad clogging up your life in the weeks before primary/election days….understand that candidates are doing their best to COMMUNICATE with you the voter. And by the way….if there was a more effective way….I, for one, would do it in a heartbeat.
Going door to door is the proven way for a candidate to win voters and their votes. However, when you ask a campaign trail candidate your question about the current New York State debate on regulating semi automatic weapons, or repealing the Triborough Amendment or banning fracking, understand that they may not always know all the details of your issue—particularly if they are not an encumbent.
That does not mean that they are ill prepared to serve as your government representative, or uncaring about your constituent issues. It simply means that like any job, there are things to learn. So give some consideration to that candidate so humbly standing at your door. And while you’re at it….help educate them. There’s nothing better than learning from a teacher who is passionate about their subject.
Instead of spending your time in debates over which party carries the most clout or offers the greatest hope for our future….go out and meet the people running for office in your districts. Educate yourself about the candidates and decide those that you believe will best serve your community. Then spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors, using factual information, not political rhetoric. Help to build the political process up, rather than tear parties and candidates down.
Finally, remember that candidates are people too. It’s not easy for anyone to step forward and put themselves, their beliefs and their families under an intense microscope of public exposure and criticism. So think about that the next time you want to rip a candidate for not meeting your standards. And when you do not support a candidate, instead of verbally bashing them, use the most powerful weapon you possess….your vote. After all, ensuring quality government officials is in the hands of YOU, the electorate.
Thank you for your time and consideration.