Credentials and character — choose wisely

Karen Hirst

We now know who has chosen to enter the race for the honour of occupying one of the seats around the Mississippi Mills horseshoe … each seat occupied being of utmost importance to the future of Mississippi Mills.

Before casting our ballots in October, voters need to scrutinize each candidate to determine whether or not they represent what we think is best for the governance of our community at this particular moment in time.

The passionate interests within a community are many…there are the policy wonks, the arts & sports enthusiasts, the needs and desires of youth, working families and seniors. Some will feel passionate about economic growth & development, fiscal restraint & support for our commercial district. Others will emphasize safety & infrastructure, environmental management, historical identity, access to a broad scope of professional service providers and facilitators for health and well-being. Combined rural and urban aspects expand further the focus of unique interests and passions … all pressing for attention by someone, somewhere.

Each need and passionate interest is represented by a tax paying citizen, each eligible voter specific as to what, in their opinion, constitutes their quality of life and each one requesting participation in the decision-making process.

These pockets of passion, for any number of voiced reasons offered by opposing sides, have in the recent past proven to be minefields of division within Mississippi Mills with no side winning the rightful claim to a perfected use of collaborative problem-solving methods.

My only intent here is to emphasize, in the interest of our future, the need to elect those candidates with the best credentials for managing skillfully such a broad range of passions and interests throughout our diverse region.

It’s my belief that before we cast a ballot in the next election, we should examine each candidate for their demonstrated ability in managing differing points of view, and through inclusive, collaborative processes reach a satisfactory conclusion for the benefit of the “collective whole.”

Having said this, the electorate must realize that nothing ever ends with perfect satisfaction for everyone but it is possible to respect the decisions made and move forward in a spirit of civility.

In today’s political climate we need elected officials who can stretch themselves across the divide and lead people towards the fulfillment of everyone’s common purpose which is the continued well-being of our community and to do so in a manner that is responsible, respectful, inclusive and transparent.

In order to accomplish such a feat one would believe that tremendous energy, commitment, leadership, communication and conflict resolution skills are high on the list of attributes. Words and actions that promote hostility and tactics of divisiveness and striving for one-upmanship only make us grow increasingly apathetic … our town is deserving of something better.

Choose wisely…and thank you to all candidates for stepping forward and offering yourselves for consideration.