The deadline passed Monday of this week for you to register to vote in this May’s primary election. Hopefully you are signed up and are ready to participate in the first of two important steps this election cycle, the primary election in May and the general election in November.
Undoubtedly, you might already be overwhelmed by television and radio commercials touting the merits of one candidate or the alleged shortcomings of another. Prepare for an onslaught of additional spots over the next several weeks. The summer might offer a slight reprieve before a repeat performance in the fall.
On the ballot this year are positions such as US and State House & Senate races, County Commissioner, County Council, Sheriff, Auditor, Assessor, Clerk, School Board, and other local races. In St. Joseph County, I counted at least 161 candidates on the ballot for various races.
The business community is pretty tuned into the elections and the candidates seeking public office, but not because it loves politics. Businesses know for this region to thrive, we must have forward thinking, business-minded problem-solvers leading our various government units. Those leaders will play a key role in influencing the business climate.
Elected leaders make critical decisions on how our tax dollars are spent, what priorities advance, and what improvements are made. Depending on their level, they have over site over thousands, millions, or even billions of dollars of tax revenue. Business people know qualified candidates are necessary to fill these important roles.
Businesses know that some of the most important decisions they can make in their own business are related to hiring the right people for their team. Significant time, energy, and resources are invested in attracting, screening, and hiring top talent. And they view elections through the same lens, knowing that the elected officials that communities “hire” will be critical to the success of that government unit.
With that in mind, think about this overall process. A number of people have “applied” for the public offices up for election this year. Citizens are busy sifting through resumes, doing their due diligence, getting to know the candidates for the positions, their backgrounds, and how their skills measure up to the positions they seek.
Your May vote will effectively determine who makes the first cut and who comes back for the “final interview.” Will you invest the time like a business does carefully considering who is most qualified and who is the right fit? Or will you be swayed by a catchy ad, fancy mailer, or sharp looking billboard? Or will you sit this one out and leave this important decision to someone else?
Primary election day will eliminate some candidates and will advance others to the final consideration and “hiring” that will conclude in November. The summer and early fall will give you additional opportunities to meet the candidates and see how they stack up with their competition. On November 6 we get to make the final hiring decision.
This “hiring” process requires a lot of us to participate. Traditionally, only a small portion of those eligible to participate have. It would be nice to reverse that trend, especially during a time when less people seem to be participating in the voting process and more people seem to be complaining.
The process is relatively easy and convenient, and only takes a short time.
The success of our communities much like the success of our businesses depends on the quality of people that we hire. You’ve got some important decisions ahead, take the time, get to know the candidates, and make the right choice.