Accepted wisdom is that people don’t get engaged in elections until about two weeks before voting day. That’s now 10 days away, and with advance polls opening this week, there’s no time like the present to consider what to look for in a local government candidate.
Candidates make a lot of vague and broad promises. But in our experience, specifics are a lot more telling than generalities. In the case of incumbents, specifics are easier to come by in the form of voting records. Actions always speak louder than words. Meanwhile, many candidates promise things they can’t deliver – often because those issues fall outside the scope of local government’s power. View those promises with a dose of skepticism.
When it comes to the makeup of council, a diversity of opinion is often a healthy thing, especially when it reflects that of the community at large.
Because name recognition is such an important factor in elections, incumbents understandably often have the upper hand. That’s certainly proven to be the case on the North Shore in past elections. But this time, a number of familiar faces aren’t running again – including all three current mayors. That’s opened up some space for new voices.
In considering those, look for signs that a candidate has the wider interests of the community at heart, rather than those of a narrow constituency.
Look for people who have their facts in order. People who are not afraid to ask questions. People who understand the issues beyond the surface and have done their homework.
We get the government we deserve. Until 8 p.m. on Oct. 20, that’s in the voters’ hands.
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