Another municipal election campaign has come and gone.
While there were a few big surprises, for the most part things went the way many of us thought they would across the region.
Overall, some new faces, some returning and with any luck, a new season of progress is on the agenda.
In some areas the roster remained unchanged, or nearly so. Other areas saw a complete turn-over in cast members.
In my mind, perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the high level of voter interest and participation that I'd never previously seen, particularly in my own circles. That alone strikes me as a big win for all involved - the current (now previous) council, and all of the nominated candidates and not just those that won a seat.
I've never been one to dig much into the political foray of things, I always joked that it wasn't my "thing," which in hindsight seems more foolish than funny but alas, it is what it is.
I attribute a lot of it to awareness. I'm in and about with a variety of committees, and local events moreso than I was during the last election. The more we're out and about chatting with others, the more we learn, the more we know -- and awareness is key.
Some of the candidates were known to me. Some, I met on various committees and projects, others in the pursuit of a story, a few I'd only heard of but had never met -- and even more still were simply names on a candidate list that meant nothing to me until I was able to meet them at the all candidates meeting and put a face to the Ad-mail.
I found it particularly interesting to note a few of the candidates speaking about the importance of community, and service in that community but try as I might I couldn't think of a single thing I'd ever seen or heard about them having done. An informal poll of friends and acquaintances garnered the same response.
Will it be everything we hoped it would be when we made our mark on the ballot? That remains to be seen. Here's hoping that the current council has heard the people's wish for open lines of communication and that the voices that we have collectively chosen to speak for us, will do so in a manner that we are able to live with.
I'd like to take pause to thank all of those who put their names into the hat. Many of you stepped up to the plate and were successful, others not so much -- either way, you stepped up to the plate and made us question what we wanted, what we valued, and what our community ought to look like. We may not have always liked what you had to say, or didn't say - but you stood up and put yourself out there, and for that you should be proud.
It takes a certain kind of person to put themselves out there for all to poke holes in and pick at. That's even before you get to make it to the big comfy chairs of office. Much of the banter in the days leading up to the event came across like a playground mud-fight, and certainly not a group of adults plotting for the best possible representation of things. I suppose in some ways they are one in the same.
I did mention that politics have never really been my cup of tea, right?
In my mind it's not as much about politics, per say, as it is common sense. Much as we all advocate the act of putting ones money where their mouths are, perhaps we ought to adopt a policy of putting our efforts where our house is. No matter whose name you choose on the election ballot, if you have no community spirit, or civic mindedness - your council cannot give that to you. That my friends, has to come from within.
It takes you to light that spark. May I offer you a match?