AN INSIDE LOOK - Commentary and opinions on local politics and life in general in Southeastern Massachusetts! Featuring the writings of Bill Gouveia, newspaper columnist for the Sun Chronicle and local cable TV talk show host. Feel free to read, comment and enjoy!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Bill's Top 5 Reasons To Run For Local Office
AN INSIDE LOOK
By Bill Gouveia
seem to be a big deal these days.
I look, there are lists.Blogs,
newspapers, magazines – they all seem to feature the top (pick the number)
things you should or shouldn’t do or say to someone in a specific position or
condition.You know, Seven Things You
Shouldn’t Say to a Pregnant Lady, or Nine Reasons Why a Tropical Vacation Beats
a Ski Vacation, and things like that.
I decided to try engaging in this phenomenon and doing a few lists of my
own.And since I primarily write about
local politics and public service, I figured I would start there.
please find “Bill’s Top Five Reasons to Serve As Local Elected or Appointed
1.It’s a true form of public service.I am not one who does well volunteering in a soup
kitchen.I can’t hammer a nail straight,
so helping to build affordable homes is out.But I don’t mind giving of my time in an effort to make my local
government and my community better.I
actually like studying a complex municipal budget, considering ways to be more
efficient, or working with others to get a better value out of our tax
dollars.So that’s my form of public,
charitable giving.Of course, some would
like me to stop being so generous.
2.It makes you a better, more well-rounded
an appointed and elected official has taught me a lot of life lessons.It has helped me understand people, and
served me well in my own business experience.You get to listen and talk to a wide variety of folks, and you learn
something from almost every one of them.If you can be an effective local official, it builds a foundation for
you to do other good things with your life.
3.You can make a direct and immediate
volunteer to work on the campaign of someone running for governor, congress,
senate or even president, you feel good about your efforts to make a
difference.But the truth is you
directly affect a lot more lives by being involved in the campaigns of local
officials.A selectman, a school
committee member, or planning board volunteer official can have a huge
influence in what happens in your neighborhood.The issues they deal with may not be as “sexy” or glamorous as those
facing the national politicians, but the impact on matters directly connected
to you and your family is probably greater.
4.You really don’t need to be a skilled
officials have many roles in town government.Some are highly visible leaders who need to influence voters to be
effective.Others are more
behind-the-scenes types who do the important but less publicized work which
makes your government possible.If
serving as a selectman isn’t your cup of tea, you can be a finance committee
member or perhaps serve on the local zoning board.You probably won’t get the recognition – good
or bad – that others do, but you will know you contributed to your town by
serving the taxpayers and residents.
5.It’s a relatively inexpensive hobby.While serving as a local official certainly can
consume a lot of your time, it generally doesn’t have to consume much of your
income.Campaigns can be expensive,
especially considering most local positions pay nothing in salary or
stipends.But for the most part local
election expenses consist of a few campaign signs, some newspaper ads (we’d
really like you to remember those), some web page construction costs, and maybe
a party to celebrate on election night.It is relatively easy in this technological day and age to get your name
and qualifications out in front of the voters.In most instances, money is not really a huge factor.
are a few of the reasons why you should consider getting directly involved in
your local government as an appointed or elected official.Maybe next week we’ll discuss the reasons
people generally don’t do that very thing.
of course, I can come up with list of the Top Five Reasons Chocolate Ice
Cream Should Be The Official Dessert Of Columnists Everywhere.
me. I’m off to do
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and
longtime local official.He can be emailed
at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at