This post is part of a series:
- Chris Hardie Announces Council Candidacy
- The dance of newcomer and incumbent
- Demystifying running for office
- Put another white man in office?
- Going door to door
- Scenes from Primary Season
- Scenes from election day
- Chris wins in the primary!
- Post-primary analysis
- Why THIS city election matters
- On the 2012 City Budget Process
- Chris supports local challenge to ballot law
- Chris responds to public access questions for candidates
- Political parties and the "So What?" test
- Our 'insufficient' answers about hope
- A Plan for Richmond
- The balancing act in political candidate debates
- A Pledge to Voters
- Violent crime in Richmond
- Chris's campaign concludes, work continues
All elections matter in one way or another. Every elected official, no matter how unglamorous their office might seem or how routine their work is, has an impact on the lives of citizens in their communities. The City of Richmond has had many elections before and will have many to come, and they will all matter in some way.
But we can't let the shared pastime of grumbling about the machinations of politics and the wearing complexity of government trick us into forgetting that, right now, for the future of our city, this is the election that matters.
As I campaigned during the primary season and met with concerned voters, business owners and community leaders, and as I've observed the economic, social and cultural forces at work in our area, I've come to see that the next four years are going to be a critical time in the history of Richmond, Indiana:
- We're having basic conversations now about "what are the essential functions of a city government?" that will affect policy, legislation and quality of life for decades to come. The decisions we make now about what government should do for us, and what it shouldn't do, will determine the path that Richmond takes when it comes to economic development, upkeep of infrastructure, and caring for the needs of all citizens who live and work here. And when we decide now that something is or isn't a part of what we want the City of Richmond to do for us, it will be much more difficult to change that decision later.
- Richmond faces unprecedented challenges in unprecedented economic times. Things we've taken for granted in the past about the way job creation, governance, energy costs and community building (and how you fund those) are changing right under our feet, and the way we react to those changes could make all the difference between barely surviving and thriving as a city.
- Citizens are looking for new models of leadership and collaboration at all levels of government. The frustration with national, state and sometimes even local leaders is palpable - voters are tired of broken promises, wasteful spending, political bickering and unwieldy government agencies that, in the end, don't work for the people. The people we elect to serve in City government now will determine whether Richmond sets its own course and actually works to serve the people who live here, or whether we slip back into business as usual.
Of course, these factors are just the beginning. Every time the Mayor's office decides how to spend the time and resources of City employees, every time the City Council meets to discuss a proposed tax abatement or new ordinance, or to set the budget for the coming year, we will be making decisions that ripple throughout the community and into its future. Richmond is not a fragile town, but it is a place that needs those ripples to be of energy, creativity, and new perspective, not "wait and see" or "that's not politically expedient" or "here's how we've always done it, there is no alternative."
I'm running for City Council because I think I can be a force for good at a critical juncture in the history of a community I love and call home.
I'm running because I can see no greater calling at this point in my life than to help make Richmond a stronger, more vibrant place to live.
I'm running as one way to celebrate the fact that, at least for now, the voters of Richmond still have the power to set the course for our future, and put into office officials who will honor the hope and trust placed in them.