The Union Recorder

August 28, 2013

OPINION: Effective candidates must weigh risks, rewards for greater good

The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Qualifying began Monday for local municipal races. New candidates will set out to qualify for City Council seats and others will launch their reelection campaigns throughout the week.

Their motivation to seek public office should not only be welcomed but also invited; but the work doesn’t stop with announcing a candidacy — it’s in fact only beginning.

It’s imperative that voters have a pool of diverse, apt and capable candidates — well-versed on the issues this area is facing. As a citizen, as candidate, and even still as an elected official, it’s not enough to sit on the sidelines with a critical eye and not be willing to put in the work for a better community.

The local community needs candidates with diverse ideas and solutions and a drive and level of dedication to address the issues this city is facing — not just occasionally or when it’s personally advantageous, but for the long haul.

As city and county leaders continue to work on shaping a community vision for the future, who is present at the table when these ideas are crafted is vitally important.

City Council recently experience the filing of the first ethics complaint against a city official since the board’s ethics policy was enacted. How should these matters be addressed by Council in the future and where does the ethics board go from here?

The next Council sworn into office will shape the city’s policies and help formulate the vision for the local community’s future.

Running for public office is most always a commendable means to serve one’s community. Those who answer the call for public service in the political realm give up their time and energy and exert their personal resources for the opportunity to lead.

Qualified and effective candidates must have local interests and the interests of their constituents at heart, placing them ahead of their own. Running for public office must not be a self-serving endeavor.

Meeting the minimal requirements is only a precursor in taking on the role of effective public service. Candidates must weigh the risks against the rewards, both personally and professionally. They must be willing to give the best they have at all times in order for the community to reach its fullest potential. They must also uphold the office they seek in such a high regard that they never risk tarnishing its image or the image of the community.

Remember also that Milledgeville citizens carry a responsibility as equally as great and significant as holding a public office itself. Those who cast ballots in the November election will decide who represents the City of Milledgeville for the next four years.

Citizens can’t most effectively wield their power if they don’t vote. The last day to register to vote and be eligible for the upcoming November election is Monday, Oct. 7.

Qualifying continues through Friday at City Hall for city seats for mayor and City Council. All six seats on the Georgia Military College Board of Trustees are also open for qualifying this week.

Local voters ultimately decide how they chose to be represented. Those displeased with their representation, or lack of it, since the last election have a chance to demand a change — and demand greater for the city and the community.