In this age of extreme partisanship and political divides, it was refreshing to see candidates for the Baileyton Town Council taking the high road in their comments Monday night. Let’s hope they, and other local candidates continue to take this path.
When asked to speak at the Baileyton town council meeting, most candidates did. And while they acknowledged differences, they all spoke of wanting to move the town forward and noted that progress has been made. It was a nice reminder that running for office does not necessarily mean running against an opponent. It’s okay to have a different vision for the future - and we look forward to hearing those visions - without tearing down someone else’s plan. In the end, it will be up to the voters to decide which plan and which candidates make the most sense to them.
It’s also important to remember that while running for office is an individual effort - one person seeking one seat - governing is a team sport. Once elected, candidates become the governing body and they must work together for the betterment of their communities.
This does not mean everybody on a council always has to agree; in fact, it’s not healthy for there to never be any debate about issues. It’s possible for well-intentioned people to agree on a goal, but differ on how to reach that goal. When those conversations occur, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, they need to take place in public. Transparent government is good government, and our local elected officials can set the example for other levels of government on how to handle disagreements without being disagreeable.
The same should be said for supporters of the various candidates. We applaud those willing to put themselves out there and take on the mantle of leadership. It can be an especially difficult thing to do, particularly in the age of social media and anonymous commentators. We hope people will remember that the candidates are our neighbors and once this election cycle is over, we’ll all continue to live in the same communities.
Over the next few weeks, candidates will have the opportunity to lay out their plans and make their case for why they should be elected. Residents will have the opportunity to ask questions of them and voters will have the final say on who takes office.
During this time, let’s all remember that we are neighbors and members of the same communities. Keep it civil, keep it clean and may the best candidate win.