As we head into July and the dog days of summer the election process will be ramping up in the city as we have a primary for both the City Council and the School Committee. Will this year be the year we see change in our city?
I used to be a political junkie. I used to love reading up on candidates and throwing my support behind candidates. I have been soured on this in recent years because of the political climate, and yes, both sides are to blame. I no longer publicly voice my political opinion and I don’t have discussions regarding policy or politics with people I don’t know, and some people I do know. It’s a sad state of affairs.
However, I do enjoy the local elections and I think this years races are great and I am excited about the primary and general elections. I have voted in every primary and election in Worcester since I became a citizen in 1994. I don’t see it as an obligation or right, I see it as a requirement of citizenship, no citizens should sit on the bench for an election.
I do have some advice for the candidates as they try to earn MY vote this year. If you follow the below six points, you have a good shot at earning my vote come September/November. These are in no particular order:
Don’t assume you either have or don’t have my vote – I have found this to be very annoying. I have noticed that people determine my political views and who I support based on my social media posts. That’s why I have basically stopped posting or commenting on anything remotely political. Have a conversation with me on the issues, you will be surprised to find out where I land on certain issues. You probably will not be very surprised on other issues. I disagree with some of my best friends and people I respect the most, it does not mean I will or won’t support you.
Knock on my door – You increase your chances of getting my vote exponentially if you just show up at my house. I live in a somewhat low voter turnout area of Worcester and I very rarely see candidates come my way. I like to be engaged by the candidate. I like to know where you stand, why you are running, how you came to decide to run. Tell me your story. I am one of the few votes that every candidate is not going after, take advantage of that. There are more of us than you think. Never be afraid to ask to throw a sign up on my lawn. I live in a remote area of town, so it may not get much visibility, but I would be happy to for the right candidates.
Hand me your collateral – I actually put up a sign on my door asking not to leave any materials in my door. There is nothing on your rack card that I can learn about you that I haven’t already researched. I want to talk to you (see above). Plus, I will most likely be getting something in the mail from you. We have a recycling problem in the city, lets not add to it.
Phone calls – I’m ok with phone banking, but don’t have the person on the phone ask me who I am voting for, that’s my business. I will ask questions, I will ask for clarification. The person on the phone is a reflection of you and if they cannot answer, I will assume you cannot either. Be cautious
I will listen to your top issues, if you listen to mine – I will listen to your elevator speech, I will listen to your “Top 3 issues”. But keep in mind, your top three issues, won’t necessarily be my top three issues, and that’s fine. But I will ask you where you land on mine, and it’s ok to say “I will look into that” if you don’t know what I am talking about or haven’t even thought of my issue. But if we meet again I will expect some sort of answer.
Enjoy – Have fun with this. You are going to meet some amazing people over the next couple of months. If you gain anything from this experience is that your voice is being heard and believe it or not people do remember that.
These are the things I look for in candidates. Other voters may have other things or none at all. Each voter is different and that’s what makes this process so great.
Thank you to all the candidates that are running. It is hard work, and if you don’t win it will initially feel unfulfilling. But when you go back and reflect you will realize it was well worth it. This is a great city and you will only confirm that by getting out and meeting Worcesterites.