In this election cycle we are hearing from candidates across the wide range of issues and positions. I saw a web site the other day listing 356 people who are running to be President of the United States.
However, it is certain not all of these people are on enough state ballots to ever think they could possibly become the President. As I am at the Capitol in Atlanta a great amount of time, it causes me to think about the reasons a person would offer to run for elective office. I am sure the political answer most office holders would give as to why they ran is they wanted to make a difference. Others might admit to being unsettled, even angry with the way they see government functioning and they believe as an office holder, they will be able to impact the direction of the government. I suspect there is a very small number of people who ever run for office with the intention of being corrupt but that could be the motivation for some. It is difficult to always determine what causes people to take certain actions or why they make certain decisions.
More important than being able to determine why a person runs for an elective office might be what we as voters need to look for in a candidate who asks for our vote. We can directly ask a candidate why we should vote for them but with that question will come the answer they think we will want to hear. The best way I have found in making decisions regarding the person who will receive my vote on Election Day is to get to know them personally. That is not always possible with national elections, but it should be expected and carried out on the local and state level. Being a good listener is important to find the candidate who best represents the values and positions to which a person adheres. Attending forums, debates, or planned events where the candidates will speak takes advance planning, but is vital to be able to hear what the candidates have to say about their dreams, wishes and desires once they are in office. For many years I have lived by the truism; “If you listen to a politician long enough you will hear them tell you what they believe, and the truth will come out.”
I am looking for an honest person with family values and with experience that will be seen in the mature decisions they have made before offering to run for office. A person with a long history of making wrong choices and decisions in their personal and business life does not cause me to want to cast my vote for them. The pressures of serving in elective office are greater than most people understand. From where I stand, voting citizens have a major responsibility to vote for the best candidate possible for the job needing to be done.
Follow Ray Newman on Twitter: @RayNewmanSr