Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Got Qualifications for County Executive?

It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any Government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.
- James Madison, to an unidentified correspondent, 1833


Have others noticed that three of the four candidates for County Executive required strong encouragement from 'others' to commit to run for this important office, despite the incumbents decision to step aside?
I took note of that, and it is certainly is not unusual in our political system, because running for elected office is not something that comes easily to most people I know. [including yours truly] Of course, some do seem to actually enjoy political campaigns, but don't you have to wonder why, unless their ambition is to be popular and powerful enough to become career politicians?

But one candidate seems to have had sufficient internal encouragement from himself to willingly throw his hat into the ring, knowing the challenges that would certainly bring; first in campaigning and then, the task of actually serving the public in an honest and responsible manner.

Now, why would Tom Anderson be the only one to do that, you might ask? And, it is no surprise that Tom was the only one to declare his candidacy BEFORE the incumbent opted out of the race. [Jack Louws announced his candidacy the same day that incumbent Pete Kremen decided to opt out -coincidence?] That is because he has come to know that Whatcom County has needed better leadership for years, and simply decided to run himself, despite the odds of competing against an entrenched incumbent.

There is a big difference between running for office and actually serving in office!
If I had the choice, I would always pick the person who would serve us the best, never forgetting the public's expectations of trusting their competence, integrity, willingness to listen impartially, and the personal courage to take timely and necessary action.
But, I -and everyone else- don't get to have that happen without going through elections first. There's the rub; an ideal candidate remains just that until they actually garner the votes to be elected. If someone with lesser qualifications, visions and administrative skills gets elected, then we are stuck with our choice. Thing is, we don't want to waste our vote on charlatans, unelectable candidates or career political wannabes if we can do better!
And, in this election we can do no better than elect Tom Anderson.
So, with that conclusion in mind, here's a short summary of the important traits people have told me they prefer to see in their County Executive, in no particular order of significance:

• Credibility

• Good Listener

• Intelligent

• Sincerely Cares

• Selflessness/Self Effacing

• Leadership [Low Key]

• Thoughtful & Analytical

• Works for Common Interests

• Achiever through True Collaboration

• Puts Money Where Mouth Is

• Confident in Ability to Make A Difference

• Sees Job As Opportunity to Serve & Give Back to His Community

For comparison, this is a list of what I consider to be Tom's main strengths:

• He has authentic integrity. Can be trusted with managing public fiscal affairs, including budgets & funding methods.

• He is personally intelligent & competent & a registered P.E. [professional engineer].

• He has business experience, both as employee & owner.

• He has an informed grasp of a range of important local issues.

• He has seasoned/local life & administrative experience- both in public & private sector.

• He is independent-minded & innately bi-partisan - as is also required by the County Charter for this office.

• He has good health, energy, enthusiasm & courage.

• He is an excellent communicator.

• He has a pleasing, quiet, low-profile & unassuming manner.

• He is the type of service & family-oriented citizen that every community needs.

Based upon these desirable qualifications & characteristics, plus knowing and observing Tom fairly closely since my own elected public service began in 1999, and recently spending some time talking to him, I have decided to strongly support his candidacy.

I hope other people will give this recommendation serious thought and also decide to support Tom Anderson.
You will be surprised to learn how many people in Whatcom know Tom and respect him a lot!
In my book, that's exactly the type of principled citizen we need to represent us in this important position.

But, remember, enough votes for Tom in the August primary elections will be necessary to ensure his inclusion in the November general election.
It is only after those two required hurdles that we will know whether the best candidate has been elected.
Now, its time to put all candidates to the test!

In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority. - James Madison