02/02/08 — Tired phrases: If you want to run for office, be willing to deal with specifics

View Archive

Tired phrases: If you want to run for office, be willing to deal with specifics

As you probably have noticed, the dance card for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners race is filling up rapidly.

In addition to the incumbents seeking re-election, there are also a couple of newcomers — well, figuratively anyway — declaring themselves candidates for the upcoming races.

And if you have read what they are saying about what they will do for you, Wayne County’s citizenry, you realize they all have one thing in common — much ado about nothing.

The incumbent commission candidates in particular seem to be reading from a script — and it is the same old song — education, infrastructure, development, keeping a rein on taxes, not necessarily in that order.

And while the words sound good, it is amazing how similar the messages seem — lots of good thoughts, but not too much stepping out on a limb.

The incumbents are also praising the way they work together and how much they have accomplished as a team — and how important their continued stewardship is in the completion of some of the projects they have already started.

Sorry gentlemen. That is not enough.

The men who want to continue to sit on the commission need to do more than just hand out the standard lines. Voters want to see leadership, new ideas and a willingness to not just fade into a crowd. They want a candidate with the gumption it takes to say: “Anyone can say they are for improving education, but here is what I think the problem is, and here is what I am going to suggest we do about it.”

And the same is true for those who would be the county’s new leadership.

It is fine to say you would make sure county taxes stay low, but what are you going to do about the school and infrastructure bills that are coming due? How are you planning on paying for improvements that will secure this county’s future? A bake sale, perhaps?

So, as the campaign begins, voters need to listen carefully to the rhetoric and the catch phrases that have long-dominated politics at every level — and discard them.

And just as pretty speeches and rousing calls to arms are not enough to win a national election, they should not be enough to take the helm in Wayne County either.

Beware candidates: This time we want real answers to real questions about real issues facing this community. And while we appreciate that you are all good and honorable men, that’s not enough this time. We want what you really think and what you see as the way to address the challenges we face.

So get your thoughts together and give us some real, honest analysis of where we are and what you think will get us to the next level.

And be ready to answer some tough questions, too, even if you do not end up with a challenger for your seat this Election Day.

If you want our votes this year — and in the future — you are going to have to earn them.

Published in Editorials on February 2, 2008 6:39 PM