This local newspaper has been using lots of ink to discuss the importance of being politically active. We live in a time when too many people simply sit back and hope that other folks will run for an office, or other folks will elect the right person. There’s no doubt that some of you reading this article probably haven’t placed a vote for anything in the last 5 to 10 years. I don’t know how you can shirk that kind of civic responsibility.
As we get ready for local elections, we need good people to help move our community and our county forward in the future. We need people who have ideas for growing jobs and opportunities. We need men and women who are willing to be leaders… not just followers.
In many small towns, business people feel uncomfortable getting involved with local politics. They will not run for office. They will not publicly agree with or oppose political issues. They don’t want to offend any special groups of people in fear that there will be negative repercussions to their business by those special interest groups. As we live in an age where you can dig up almost anything about people on the internet, whether it is true or not, it gives people great pause to become involved. And that is a shame… no, it is an embarrassment that this causes very good people to refrain from seeking a political office.
Some people say you have to have thick skin to be in politics, or you have to be that special person that doesn’t make too much of being slandered and ridiculed. And it’s not only the candidate, but the candidate’s family has to be able to turn the other cheek as well. And that’s pretty darn tough.
I admire and respect any person who runs for public office. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with their views, but I still give them the due respect for being willing to sign the candidate form and run for office.
So why do I say business and politics do mix? I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times I have heard business people get upset about a local law that has a negative effect on their business or a new government regulation that causes problems for their business. Yet when it comes time to run for an office that makes those rules, they are silent. Sometimes when the issue comes before an elected body prior to voting, and the public is allowed to make comments… the business person never stands up for their business or their industry. That just allows an action to move forward, only to complain about the new law after the business professionals have done nothing to change it.
So how qualified are people to serve? In the past two weeks, I have been told that you can run for a judge’s position simply by living in the State of New Mexico for five years and being of adequate age to run. You don’t have to be a lawyer. You don’t have to know anything about the law. You just have to meet the two qualifying points and get the most votes. (I will admit I got this as second-hand information, so if I am proven wrong… I apologize).
I don’t have enough time! I learned this week from a current county elected official that an elected official for the county can receive their paycheck as long as they work at least eight hours during the month. Wow, no wonder there are some elected officials who are never in their offices… well except during those eight hours that they have to be there to collect their pay. If you think this sounds crazy, I do, too.
So how do changes take place? Good people have to be willing to take a stand. Good candidates have to be willing to run for office. Think about, there is time for you to sign up to run for an office or volunteer to sit on a community committee. Want to talk? Give me a call at (575) 538-3785.