More People Should Run For Public Office
Politicians can ignore yard signs, phone calls, public opinion polls, editorials and griping constituents on Facebook groups. The one thing they cannot ignore is the majority of voters on Election Day. We the people decide whether a candidate has a job in public office come January. We help decide the fate of our country, state and even our own community by casting a ballot for candidates best aligned with our own values. This November 8th, voters across Cuyahoga County will make important decisions on a host of local issues, deciding everything from school board seats to funding for local schools. The individuals who hold elected office affect every part of our lives.
It's a shame then, when I look at the Candidate List in the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website that so many people are running unopposed. The upcoming election may not draw the headlines that the bigger races do, but they're just as important to shaping the fabric of our community, and it's high time more people get involved in local politics and get out there and VOTE!
Over the weeks since July when I was walking the streets, or along Pearl road, or in the barbershop, after a brief conversation, people usually wrap it up by saying, "Thank you for running" When I ask residents and friends if they would run for political office, they most often reply, "'H$%#&# NO! I can't raise that kind of money, they manipulate everything, and nothing will change!'"
Elected officials manage millions of tax dollars and they make our laws. Two excellent reasons why I think it's worth fighting for even a chance at change. And every city should be committed to providing the fullest access possible to public records. I have been waiting since June 15 for a public records request. Access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in any city because it gives the public an opportunity to monitor the functioning of their city government. And many residents and myself strongly believe that the Parma Heights library should become a historical site. Parma Heights was the first municipality in Ohio to pass a bond issue specifically for the construction of a library, and the "Googie" architecture of the building is unique and becoming rare. This makes the Parma Heights library a significant part of the history of the State of Ohio.
Run for Public Office and if you see something you don't like, bring it up! Always. Some politicians don't like criticism, don't like residents disagreeing with them. Sorry, not sorry. Every city needs dissenting voices too, or else those in the establishment get a little too complacent with their jobs. The most important thing anyone needs to do running for office is to talk to voters, your potential constituents. You need to talk to people who do not know you, who have different opinions than you, and it can be humbling. I've listened to a lady whose lease will be terminated in sixty days, people who have been cited by the city several times, residents who have continuous basement flooding, and one person even asked why am I running when I am not a homeowner!
Refusing to vote because you’re tired of politics or think all the candidates are “the same” is a lazy cop-out. Candidates are not the same. I am very different than the 3 other candidates running for Council At Large in Parma Heights. Why am I running? I want to give back. Why am I running? I want to do good. Why am I running? I want to advocate for causes. I started 2ND Fridays Parma Heights 3 years ago to help promote local businesses and it has been growing. Many challenges and important issues face every level of government. Anyone, and I mean anyone can have a real impact by running for office, even if you lose, simply by drawing attention to specific issues and persuading the electorate to share your passion. Running for office will make you a better person by listening, by surrounding yourself with empathetic, hardworking and committed people, and by showing that you care! It is an honor and privilege to talk with residents all over the city and carry their hopes and dreams, to earn their trust, and most importantly--make their voices heard!!! Win or lose, I will never regret it.
Worked in marketing research, marketing, and was a Librarian and Bookstore Manager. Advocate for small businesses. Member of the Dig, Plant, and Grow Garden Club and 2ND Fridays Parma Heights