My Plans as Councilman

Note: This is the fourth (and final) of a series of posts to hopefully help expand on my candidacy for Clinton City Council. You can read the first piece here, the second piece here, the third piece here, Like my campaign page on Facebook for other updates, or follow me on Twitter to learn more. Thanks for reading!

When I first decided to run for City Council earlier this year, I didn’t really have a reason why I thought it was a good idea. I was a little frustrated with the election results from November and wanted to make a change. Since I can’t really participate in partisan politics due to the Hatch Act, I decided to get involved locally, and as my lawn signs* say: “All politics is local.” I truly believe that, and some of the most direct impact we can have as citizens is by talking to our municipal officials.

*If you would like on of these signs for your yard and you live in Clinton, let me know!

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Isn’t it fancy? Available for free if you want one!

This was reinforced at one particular city council meeting that occurred earlier this month. As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, a group of citizens were present at the August 8th City Council Meeting when the council voted on something that they had fought for. It was a simple ordinance matter, requesting that the rules be changed on the construction of carports at homes in Clinton. The situation arose out of a widow wanting to build a carport so she didn’t have to clean the snow of her car every morning, or rely on the kindness of her neighbors to help on those winter mornings. Unfortunately, the ordinance in Clinton required every carport be built with storage space of a certain size, which drives up the cost and space needed to do so. A group from her neighborhood came together, spoke to the planning commission, and ensured that the change was made allowing for a covering to be built without a storage area.

This is why I believe that “All Politics are Local.” A group of concerned citizens can affect change a lot easier at this lowest level because we live in the communities. Asking for help from a state or federal official might also accomplish something, but it is much slower and has to go through a few more layers. This is why one of my platform positions is community involvement, and what will influence my actions as Councilman. With that, here are three things that voters can expect from me should I win election in November:

1) I Pledge to Work For Free – When I initially considered my run for office, I expected the position to be done for free, out of the kindness of your heart and for the good of the community. However, as I reviewed the city’s budget documents, I saw that members of the City Council (and Mayor) draw a small monthly salary for the work they do for the city. This is great, as I think that people that work hard for our city should be paid for their time. But at the same time, I hope that I can donate my salary back to the city for use in other programs.* Whether this is to pay for the Arts Council, Clinton City Heritage Days, or other community events, I would let the citizens choose where my monthly pay went, as long as there aren’t restrictions in place to prevent it from happening.

*Note: This isn’t to say that anybody in city leadership that takes this money is wrong for doing so; I just don’t feel like I need it and I want to support other programs in Clinton instead.

2) I Pledge to Serve Only One Term – One of my platform positions is “Community Engagement,” and what better way to affect this by only serving one term on the City Council? Municipal governments, especially in small cities like Clinton, tend to not have a lot of turnover from year to year. This can be a good thing because some of the things that city management work on – like roads and other development projects – can take years to fully execute. Having some continuity helps those projects along.

That said, that continuity is also happening with the full-time employees of the city. The city council should be a revolving group of concerned citizens that assist these full-timers in the management of the city and be a person that people can reach out to in advance of city council meetings. The city council should be the voice of the people to the mayor and city manager, and help alleviate the burden of those full-time employees in dealing with issues – a prime example of this is water pressure concerns with sprinkler systems. While the city’s employees can and should handle those concerns, this should be the realm of the city council, at least in my humble opinion.

3) I Pledge to Work with All of Clinton’s Stakeholders – This goes without saying, especially based on my last point. But stakeholders of Clinton should include the businesses within our borders and anybody that visits for an extended period of time. We must weigh the concerns of all these stakeholders to help make Clinton a great place to work, live, and play. I have some specific agenda items that I may get into later (after I review all the city code and ordinances), but Clinton should be a place where everyone can afford to live and work comfortably without concerns for basic services. Anything that the city provides, however, should be weighed against the cost of providing the service and the long-term impact of all concerned.

We should all care for our community; where we live should be something more than the place where we rest our heads at night. But it takes multiple people to make a community feel like home, and Clinton already does this well. That does not mean that there isn’t room for improvement, however. I hope if I am elected to the Clinton City Council that I can affect change where it is needed, but also be a voice of concurrence when that is needed as well.

We are less than three months from the November election, so I hope that I can give you a reason to vote for me when you receive your ballot in the mail. If not, I plan on having some events around town where you can meet with me and address your concerns, so keep an eye out for those.

Until next time…

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