DeKalb County, GA, October 23, 2015 – Commentary by Van Pappas, Chamblee Resident – Well it’s local election time. The home stretch for all those local councilmen and mayoral races. I love local elections so much more than National or State races. When most of us vote for a President or Senator, we often vote based on their party affiliation. Whether they are a Republican, Democrat or Other party, we believe that their affiliation to that party means they think or feel the way we do. But local politics are not about Parties. They are just about people.
These candidates are often times our friends or neighbors. While we may disagree on how we achieve some issues, for the most part they want the same things we do. A better, safer, more connected community. Voting for these individuals becomes much more difficult as we really have to know what the person is like. For that I have put together the top 9 traits I want to see in my local candidate. So to those running for office in November, pay attention.
- Trustworthy. You don’t have to tell me what you think I want to hear. Just be honest. I can respect an opposing view more than to find out you lied to me.
- Communication. We live in a world where it is really easy to communicate to the community. Some of you do a good job at this, but often the silence from our officials is deafening. Lack of communication means I’m going to form my own opinion of what you are thinking.
- Proactive. Don’t just react to situations. Look around the community at what needs to be done. This can be a hard one if you do not know what you are looking for, so use those communication skills to find out from the residents what they need.
- Conviction. Have the will to make that tough decision even if it means it will make you unpopular. Do the right thing not the popular thing.
- Accessible. Just because this may only be a part time job, you have to be available to those that elected you.
- Respect. Give respect to the residents, the business owners and the local government employees. Without all three of those groups, you would not have a job.
- Listen more than you talk. This is just a good idea in any job. Make sure you listen to both sides of an issue.
- Be willing to change. We all have our own ideas, but it is the representative that can put aside their personal views for the greater good that I want representing me.
- Be a Leader. We hired you to lead. If you do not know how to lead, then maybe this is not the job for you.
Follow these 9 traits and you have my vote. And probably a whole lot of other votes.