Some of you may not know that not only do I work as Lanthier Winery’s Human Resources Manager and oversee many campus safety and security programs at Hanover College but I’m also a candidate for Hanover Indiana’s town council. This isn’t my first race. I’ve been elected several terms and am honored by the trust the people of Hanover have given me. I took a break for four years because I wanted to step back and see if maybe a new prospective from someone else coming on the council would have new idea’s. I felt a little discouraged that from small towns to presidential races; voter turnout was at record lows. Governing is not for the weak of heart. Things grind at a slow pace; change hurts even if it’s something small and any movement can be very hard.
People usually think there’s only one Election Day. That day in early November is the only one most of us think matters. They don’t think about how important the primary races are. The primary election is used so political parties can nominate their candidates to run in the general election. The Republicans and the Democrats decide which of their candidates have the best chance of winning so they can put them up against the other party’s candidate in the general election. I think this is one reason why people aren’t always interested in the primary race because it didn’t used to be about selecting the best candidate it was about select any candidate that might win. Also in many states including Indiana people refuse to vote in the primary election because they don’t want to register as being affiliated with one party or the other. You can’t vote in both primary elections- just one. Sometimes people don’t want to stand in line. We are lucky at Lanthier Winery. Tami and Chris give paid time off to vote, they ask all staff if they are registered and if not give paid time to go register to vote. They invite candidates to speak to staff and visit the winery. As a result we understand our local government and the issues and people involved. Things are changing. Primary races are becoming more important, people are beginning to realize that declaring a primary vote isn’t the same as declaring a member of a party and more businesses are giving paid time off to vote.
I’ve filed for my districts town council seat on the democrat ticket. I’ve always won my race on the democrat ticket and I hope to win again this year. I don’t have a primary opponent at this time but in the fall I could have a republican file in June. It’s expensive to run for office; yard signs, mailers, ads in papers and on radio, and even distributing promotional items like pens or note pads all add up to lots of expense. Yet, when voters cast a ballot it’s about who they name or which name they recognize and not so much who is the better candidate. So yard signs, banners and mailers are sometimes the only way to reach large numbers of voters. I always walk and make time to talk to voters, but if your candidates don’t knock on your door, call them and ask questions.
But remember, if you want the best people running for office in the fall you have to vote in the primary in May. Because so few people vote in the primary the decisions about who will eventually be in office is left up to a very, very small group. I guess I’m saying voting in the primary means your vote carries more weight – you get to decide one of the two people who will get a chance to win the office. I want voters to be invested in their cities and towns and to help make sure the right people are getting into the local offices of government to help make our communities great. So, come May 7th, please think about getting out and voting in order to help your community grow, flourish, and prosper.