Ballots for the General Election will soon begin to arrive in your mailbox.
As we all know, the first three words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution are “We the People.” We enact that phrase by voting. It is an honor and a privilege to cast your vote, but it carries a responsibility to study and consider the candidates.
Not long ago, I attended a meet the candidates event where I had the opportunity to learn more about those running for Lehi City Council. One question I had was, “Why are you running?” People run for office for various reasons, and I like understanding their motivations. Often, candidates have a single issue in mind, and some are looking to promote themselves; some genuinely want to serve in a way that will better their community and others, well, are angry.
At that event, I recognized that almost all the candidates could identify problems in the community. Still, many did not understand the background related to the problem, nor could they identify a practical solution to enact change. It is relatively easy to recognize where issues exist, but potential solutions require knowledge of the situation, creative thought, and a rational proposal. It requires an understanding of what’s possible. I am not suggesting that you should expect candidates to have solutions to all the problems, but rather, take an interest in those who can say what they know with credibility, what they believe with a critical desire to learn more and have the confidence to admit what they do not know.
Generally, our municipal elections are non-partisan. This is a good thing because it means our local elected officials should listen to all voices in the community. It is essential to have representatives who will consider all the information on each issue, using truth-based analysis and can perform their duties without prejudice and in consideration of their oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States and this state.
A good candidate needs to demonstrate the desire to work hard and complete their task. They should be able to graciously interact with their colleagues and practice critical thinking and conversational skills. They must hold a non-biased mindset and be brave enough to modify their opinions when a better alternative is proposed.
Look for candidates who don’t criticize their opponents. I learned long ago that backbiting and dishonesty go hand in hand. Often, we learn more about the person criticizing than the one being criticized.
Finally, a candidate must understand good governance and the operational affairs of a city. Citizens benefit enormously when a city attains a certified high financial rating, which cities earn when leadership demonstrates excellent financial management practices. This rating reduces debt service obligations significantly, resulting in reduced financial burdens to the citizens. It is in everyone’s best interest to have elected officials willing to make wise and often difficult financial decisions.
The right to vote has always carried the responsibility to research candidates and issues. In the next few weeks, you have some work to do.
Lehi City Mayor