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Time to change the status quo in local politics

POSTED: July 30, 2011 12:30 a.m.

Why the good guy never wins in politics. It's a narrative that we see over and over again every election cycle.

Good, wholesome candidates running for the absolute best intentions and with a vision in mind, a vision that they can truly make a difference in their constituents lives.

However, what tends to happen is that because people are so associative with names, the candidate who has sold his or her soul to the devil in order to progress to the top of the polls typically will win because they know that in our elections today, it is about who has the most money just as much as who you know.

In a recent viewpoint in The Times, the writer suggested that some younger individuals should start stepping up to run for public office. Not only is this a good idea, but is a practical idea. The way that our current system works is on all levels of government, we are being told what to do by leaders who represent generations almost as old as my grandparents, but certainly as old as or older than my parents. Where this creates a fundamental problem is when people start thinking, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."

When people ask me why I want to go into politics, I get a bit disheartened by the word "politics." I don't want to become a politician; I want to become a public servant. People have laughed before and will probably continue to laugh behind my back at the fact that such a radical thing could happen; a normal, nonwealthy, 20-something could win out in an election. I see it as motivation.

I do have one problem though; I don't want to have to run as a Republican or a Democrat. Heck, I don't even want to have to run as an independent, but that's what I would probably have to consider myself. I'm an American, plain and simple. I believe in having everyone sit down at the table and express ideas and thoughts, and being able to come to a point of common ground.

Perhaps one day soon I will be able to run for office, and if I win, then be able to show constituents how an elected official should operate: by telling the special interest groups to take a number, get in line and wait to voice their opinion just like every other citizen out there.

By holding weekly public forums and by engaging daily in blogs about specific business, my seat would be involved in keeping the public engaged and in the loop. By making personal visits to homes in the area where concerned constituents live or operate and not just potential campaign donors. By actively writing to The Times so that the issues at hand can be displayed openly and uncensored for the public to see how their elected officials personally feel about certain conundrums.

Yes, maybe in a perfect world or with the right candidate.

Steven Ellis
Gainesvile



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