Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Six Steps to Getting My Vote

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Ah, yes, it's the political season again, and we're faced with a particular case of voter fatigue here in Plano. Last weekend's election to fill a vacant City Council seat will require a runoff. We have March primaries, a school board election, and oh, yes, the runoff. The runoff can't be held on the same day as the primary election because it's too soon. The rules mandate a specific period of time between the two elections. It's confusing and not terribly helpful to the electorate or the city and county coffers, who have to pay for these elections.

Yet, the law must be followed. To do otherwise would risk a lawsuit that would cost more than the election.

So, our candidates need to stand out. How do they do that? By sending out mailers that look just like the ones every other candidate is sending out - except for the name and the picture.

I've already made up my mind about some candidates. Their track records speak volumes to me. But how about those candidates I'm unfamiliar with? The following list won't guarantee my vote, but they'll guarantee my respect. Of course, if you don't have my respect, you don't have my vote. That's the best I can offer.

Now, here's what you can do:

1. Tell me how you plan to address the issues facing your constituency. The ones that your office can fix. As much as I appreciate your passion, you won't influence something like US monetary policy from your seat on the school board.

2. Avoid attacking your opponent. The other day a mailer arrived full of statements attacking the incumbent for a particular office. The name of the candidate who was seeking my vote only appeared in the fine print. That's chickenshit, if you'll pardon my language. If you must attack, do it in the open.

3. Be honest. (Oops, there went a truckload of candidates.) Case in point: Our city is facing a budget crisis. I'm not sure any candidate can promise no new taxes. They certainly can't promise a tax cut. Be honest about how you plan to approach these issues. We're not stupid. Don't pander to us.

4. Don't use the Conservative label. We live in the reddest city in the reddest county in the reddest state in the union. The liberals here are conservative. It just smacks of pandering. I will respect you if you use the word as part of a description of how you plan to approach an issue. For example, if you state that you'll take a fiscally conservative approach to the budget, that tells me something of substance.

5. Ditch the robocalls. I actually had a call earlier this from a real person supporting a candidate. I appreciated it, even though I don't plan to vote for that candidate.

6. If you're an incumbent, listen to your constituents at times other than the election cycle. That's why one officeholder isn't getting my vote.

That about covers it, I think.

Yes, this is boring, and not as much fun as watching the mud sling, but when you stop the trash talk and respect the voters, more people will get interested in going to the polls. We all win - even the losers.

Tags: Politics

Filed under: Politics            
2/5/2010 12:17:00 PM
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