Troy and I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be grateful for.
One thing that I am thankful for is the opportunity to call out government officials for wrong doing and advocate for reform. In some parts of the world people face severe repercussions for rebuking their government “leaders”. Sadly I too often hear from people who are afraid of retaliation if they challenge that courthouse clique that exists in local government. Good people who initiate no harm should not live in fear of their governments.
I encourage everyone during this time of thanksgiving to give serious consideration to your knowledge and involvement in state and local governments. In general people are too focused on federal politics. The main stream media bombards us with drama and endless controversy in Washington DC.
Give some consideration to taking a break from media sources that focus solely or mostly on national politics and put some time and energy into learning what your local and state governments are doing. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of people can’t even name their local and state officials.
While I stood in a very long line to vote in the November election, I noticed someone willing to wait in the long line to vote in the Presidential race who hadn’t voted in the local government primary election held in May of 2014. The reason this stood out to me is because this person had my sign in their yard but they didn’t actual take the time to vote in the local election.
If you voted in the presidential race this year, your vote was one in over 120 million votes. If you voted in a county commission race in the local government election in May of 2014, your vote was about 1 in a thousand. Some districts had more than 1,000 votes and some had less. Many people don’t vote because they don’t feel that their votes matter. Where does your vote have the most impact, a race with over 120 million votes or a race with about 1,000 votes?
If you still aren’t convinced that your vote matters tremendously in local elections, let me put it another way for you. 3 of the 21 county commission races were decided by less than 25 votes in the May primary election in 2014. Jamie Daly won her race by 21 votes. Archie Archer won his race by 12 votes. Kenneth Melton won reelection to the Blount County Commission by receiving 6 more vote than his challenger.
These local races are often very close. Do you vote in the local elections? If not, why?
The unofficial results on the county’s website show 53,260 votes in the November election while only 12,061 voted in the August election. If you are one of the many people who voted in November but not in August, please reflect upon why you didn’t vote in August.
Yesterday and today I posted several articles about the difficulties and unresponsiveness that I deal with on a regular basis as an elected official serving the community through local government. Contact information for the appropriate people is provided in these posts if you feel so inclined to provide input on any of these matters.
It has been said that serving as a county commissioner is a thankless job. Actually its not. I receive several thanks on a fairly regular basis. What is more accurate is to describe it as a helpless job because there are so few willing to help promote better government locally.
What would make me even more thankful this Thanksgiving Day would be to see more people take an active role in what is happening right here in our county.
Blount County Commissioner