In June of 2019 a dozen citizens will make the pilgrimage to the Cumberland County Board of Elections and announce their candidacy by registering. But they won’t be legitimate candidates.
Every other June we’re faced with the same plague of people who suddenly and inexplicably feel a deep abiding love for this town. They’re compelled to run, to better a broken system and right the wrongs. But who are they…?
More often than not…they’re the guy/girl who gets together with friends 2-3 times a week to discuss politics over a breakfast burrito. Their version of politics is the few articles they managed to read while skimming for sports scores and obituaries. Their friends have uttered the magic words ‘you should run’ often enough it’s gone to their head. They’ve convinced themselves they’d be a great public servant, or they won’t be worse than the current board.
Maybe they even have a caucus behind them…Dixie Youth parents, local first responders, the booster club. They’ll get enough votes to bolster their resolve and feed their ego…and in 18 months they’ll crawl out of the woodwork to profess their deep and abiding love for Hope Mills…again.
The ideal candidate is already involved. They’re serving on committees, they’re familiar with the current and past issues, they know Robert’s Rule of Order, they volunteer their time and fall asleep exhausted from do-gooding while mentally listing everything they need to get done tomorrow. If you’re thinking…I don’t have time for that…then you don’t have time to be a Commissioner. Most of us love Hope Mills and want more than the elected have provided. But most of us realize…that alone doesn’t make us a great candidate.
Disliking the current board does not make you more qualified for their position. I can’t stress that enough. Everyone dislikes someone on the board. A recent Mayoral candidate based his entire campaign on this premise…twice. And he lost…twice.
There is an assumption that, because we are a small town, we don’t require educated candidates. This isn’t true. The internet and cable television closed cultural gaps 20 years ago. Hope Mills has gangs, murder, mayhem, corruption, collusion and financial problems. But we also have a history of vastly unqualified candidates who, having attained office, let hubris take over. They start to believe they’re smarter than the very citizens who elected them into office. When your elected officials are busy pushing their own agendas, nothing gets fixed. Small systemic problems become large systemic problems. This is a cycle we have to stop!
I’ll be taking a much closer look at our elected officials overt the next 12 months and I’ll be reporting on new candidates. And I’m going to be harsh. If we don’t raise our standards and demand more from the elected, we won’t get more!
There will be a link to voter registration forms on the right side of this page for the next year. Just click and print.