Leadership means viable solutions

I first ran for Homer City Council more than three years ago, because I wanted to put a simple idea to the test — Could an elected official be someone I could trust and respect and still get re-elected? Can a politician be transparent, clear on his position, approach each issue with regard for evidence rather than preconception? Can people tolerate or even appreciate issued-based discourse?

I want to believe that an elected official can do his homework, take an informed position on issues, make his position clear to citizens, listen respectfully for factual feedback or new data and then, in the end, vote consistently with his positon.

My goal is simple: grow our community’s long-term health, resilience and economic sustainability. Families, young people and elders deserve a beautiful place where their lives have purpose and where people who work hard can prosper.

My own experience as a citizen and a small business owner has shown me that people thrive when government focuses on creating a clear, safe, and simple playing field where everyone can interact. Focus on the things that unite us and sustain us: (1) Public Safety — without it, nothing else matters. (2) Clean air, water and healthy land — these are the root of our individual and communal health and vitality.  These are also the foundation of our economy.  Without these things, we have no fish, no tourists, and no retirees supporting our hospital.  (3)  Basic city services that allow people to live here — roads, trails, water, sewer, affordable clean energy and healthy food. (4)  Our Port and Harbor — the majority of our local economy is rooted in our port.  Without it, we’re sunk. (5) Public facilities, parks, art and organizations that support us all or those amongst us who need a helping hand — government can’t and shouldn’t try to be all things to all people, but supporting a community’s ability to express and appreciate itself has value beyond what can be quantified.

As one of your City Councilmen for the past 3+ years, I have put these principles and the health of our people and our place first.  Doing the job well means treating it like just that: a very important job with real consequences for bad decisions or inaction. 

There is a horrible norm in our society today of putting punditry, popularity and political expedience above straight-up competence. Our crumbling national economy, our broken healthcare system, our deplorable social and wealth inequality are all rooted in voters’ decisions to elect politicians who wanted to pander, not lead. True leadership means offering concrete viable solutions. For a leader, taking a position inevitably means making some people unhappy.  

Maybe I’m naïve to think so, but I’d rather my doctor, my car mechanic, or my teacher be competent, than gifted at flattery. Both would be nice, no doubt. 

But when you go to the polls on Nov. 3, ask yourself which candidate is going to put good decisions and good results for our community ahead of his public image. Listen to the recorded candidate debate forums. Look at how I’ve voted. Look at any concrete solutions my opponent has offered. 

Then ask yourself, who is going to help make Homer a better community in the long-term?