It's Official, We Have a Race
In case you missed the news, last week I filed to run for re-election to the County Council. It’s been an honor to serve you and I work hard every day to earn he trust shown to me by voters.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my opponent, David Olson, for stepping up to run. I exchanged messages with him last week wishing him well on the campaign. Having run against incumbents twice in the past I know it’s not an easy task.
I believe that campaigns move policy. Without an opponent, we wouldn’t get the chance to put our message to the test with voters. If we win, we get to move those ideas forward. That’s how we were able make behavioral health a top priority for the Council and pass bills protecting Puget Sound.
Democracy Requires Respect
Perhaps more importantly, I think those of us running for or holding elected office must find a way to debate, disagree, and compromise with our political opponents without resorting to tactics that undermine the very process we’re participating in.
We’ve seen an alarming trend nationally of politicians and organizations questioning the legitimacy of the other side. Tolerance for other ideas and welcoming their participation in governing is the bedrock principle that makes democracy work. In countries around the world, democratic backsliding has become a worrying trend. We tend to notice after the party in power denies the other side access to the ballot, or dismantles institutions that safeguard democracy, but it always starts with rhetoric denying their legitimacy.
Here’s the problem, politicians have learned that overheated rhetoric is an easy way to get people to take action. Fundraising emails take on an apocalyptic tone because testing shows it prompts more donations. Mailers and TV ads smear the good name of candidates because, the theory goes, angry voters are likely voters.
Seriously, these steaks can't get any higher folks.
I think there’s another path.
As your County Councilmember, I work across the aisle to get results. Now more than ever, we need people who have demonstrated the willingness and the competence to make government work for the people.
The News Tribune’s “Nose” column once said about me “at times, he comes off like a genial, bespectacled accountant determined to explain the niceties of compound interest regardless of your lack of interest.” I think that’s a polite way of calling me a nerd, but I took it as a compliment because that’s the way I think things should work.
Don’t get me wrong. I will be arguing passionately for my beliefs and my Council colleagues will probably tell you that I’m relentless in advocating for my district, but there’s a way to do that without tearing each other down.
So please join me in doing our part to dial back the rhetoric a bit. We have a great record to run on. Let's keep it focused on the issues that matter to Pierce County.
Want to get involved?
We have some upcoming opportunities to help, starting with Harbor Grande Parade at the Maritime Gig Festival, next Saturday June 2nd, at 9:30am. Click here for details and to RSVP so we have an accurate count.
Can’t make it to the parade but want to help us out in other ways? Sign up to volunteer here.
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