To the Editor:
Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting has already begun. By Nov. 3, we will likely know the winners and losers. By Nov. 4, many of us will put it behind us and go about our business until the next election comes around and we do it all again. This is where the electorate drops the ball.
An election is a beginning, not an end. We should not throw our hands up in the air if our candidate lost or our issue failed. If we win, we should not step back and assume a candidate’s promises will be kept or approved levy money will be spent most efficiently.
It is the obligation of the electorate to keep our elected officials focused and accountable. Putting them in office and walking away seldom results in good outcomes. It makes them more readily influenced by administrators, businesses, and special interest groups. If that’s all our elected officials see and hear, that’s the direction their decisions will steer.
In my opinion, the electorate needs to be quicker to vote out a politician at the Federal or State level that is not engaged in meeting the needs of its constituents. Term Limits likely will never happen. The powers that be will not vote in a measure that essentially gives them an expiration date. Likewise, if we do get a politician that does a good job, we should be able to keep them in office. In this regard, if ideology and party is important to you, the time to remove someone is during the primary.
Locally, we need to view or attend meetings. We need to communicate with our elected officials, we need to ask the tough questions, and we need to measure the results. We also need to not be afraid to run for office if needed. We need to insist that local bond issue funds are being used properly and that the investments are maintained to get the biggest bang for the buck. I live in a community that has seen public facilities closed because they failed to maintain them over the years and deliberately let them be run into the ground instead of addressing the issues in a timely manner. They will have to demonstrate otherwise before I will consider renewing a levy or approving a new one.
Again, electing officials and deciding on issues is not the end. It is the beginning. It begins and ends with us.
— Thomas Beck