Sunday, January 3, 2016

More Reason to Run for Political Office

I disagree with Mr. Lazaro in his posting made through LinkedIn. His rhetoric that there is "a cancer of negativity" or that to run may put you in harms way. Ironically, he admonishes the negativity but then takes part in it by being critical of one of his former council colleagues.

During my time in office, the Purcellville Gazette has been critical to Mayor Fraser and myself, their bias no less visible than the bias that was lodged against the Blue Ridge Leader by former Mayor Lazaro. When I feel a response is necessary to what is written in the Gazette, I have done so (I did when a Leesburg Today article was full of inaccuracies). However, in this time, I have not had anyone disparage my family or me personally. If I am criticized due to my votes or my opinion, that is simply not personal. If a person can not in any way handle those criticisms that come with the political spotlight, then yes, this isn't for you.

Former Board of Supervisor Janet Clarke expressed to many that I was "mean" to her while she was in office (this, before I had ever met her). Her successor, current Supervisor Tony Buffington, has taken up this juvenile sentiment. It bothers me none because they clearly do not understand the difference between personal and professional criticism.

First, while it is necessary and important to develop a thicker skin, we in political office should not become so resistant that we ignore powerful lessons or fail to listen to those who criticize us. Second, do not let criticism dampen your passion for a valid objective. Successful leaders typically combine passion with courage and dedication to achieving results, no matter the challenges.

The philosopher Plato said, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." And this holds true today. If you don't participate in politics, you risk not having a say in what happens and allowing people with less experience, skill or knowledge to influence the decisions being made around you.

I spoke up and out about my local representation because I felt myself and those around me were not being heard or represented. If you feel the same, regardless of whether you agree with my politics or not, stand up and run!