This is the fourth in a series of blogs throughout September and October!
Municipal Level Politics
What I like most about municipal level politics is that as a Councillor, one sits as his/her own person. There is no political party rhetoric and no political partisanship to which to adhere and uphold. As a municipal Town Councillor one feels no 'rein strain' on speaking for the people. The municipal Councillor can vote on his own intuition and discernment for the benefit and best interest of the taxpayer. That's the easy part!
Once elected to Council he or she discovers it is not always that easy. The Councillor needs to work as a team member with fellow Councillors. The Councillor must consider the advice, suggestions and recommendations put forth by Town Staff. After all, they are hired for their education, experience and expertise. At times it can be a real balancing act calling for much deliberation, analysis and scrutiny. As much as we would like to get our own way, I imagine each Councillor must be pleased about the fact that at the end of the day, he or she is just one vote. And, that's democracy in action!
Running for office, whether Council or Mayor, many newbies campaign by telling the people what we tend to already know are the issues of the day. It can be housing, jobs, infrastructure, municipal services and such, and tackle them as if no one ever thought so already. They impress upon the voter that they can fix things - accomplish their goals. Their hearts are in the right place and I am convinced for the most part of their sincerity and true desire to change what is wrong. I suspect I may have done the same thing when I first ran in 2014. Again, it's just not that simple. Once elected for the very first time, one quickly learns about all the moving parts, good reasons why good things can't be done at a particular time. There is compromise, give and take and processes involving public input and it all takes a great deal of time. For good, bad or indifferent, yes "city hall can move very slow" a great deal of the time!
It can take a couple of years before a new Councillor really learns the ropes and begins to understand the hurdles, prerequisites and to properly navigate the processes.The immediacy of being newly elected is that you instantly become a voice for the people and that in itself is most rewarding.
I wish all candidates good luck in this municipal election. When you vote, I hope you will consider that a great, effective Council is one that is strong on vision, focused on the horizon, dedicated to planning the big picture and are truly engaged in their work as a Councillor.