When I leave office
Every politician has a shelf life. If you stay too long, you get rotten and you make people sick. And someday—maybe soon, maybe waaaay later—I will be out of politics. And when I am, I know what I’m going to do.
I’m going to shake the hand of the man or woman who replaces me. I am going wish them luck, sincerely. I will also work hard to prepare them to take my place. And when they finally do take my place, I will look them in the eye and say, “This is the best job you’ll ever have. Congratulations!”
And then, I am going to disappear. Where? Who knows. It’s a big, wonderful world, full of all sorts of fun activities and interesting pursuits. I’m not saying I will detach from politics altogether, mind you. There will be issues I care about, and I believe it is the duty of the citizens of a nation to be actively informed and involved.
But I will not remain embattled and bitter. Life is too short to live like that. If you are, I beg you to reassess, for your own happiness.
What I will not do
I will not spend every waking hour scheming of ways to undermine and belittle the person who takes my place. I will not delete files, bar my office from entry, and use half truths and lies to whip misinformed people into a frenzy.
And I will not stand at the pulpit reading the holy works of the man who said, “Forgive seven times seventy” and “love your neighbor” only to step down from that high place each Sabbath to enter the low place of gossip and conspiracy.
For a town to thrive, new people must come and change must happen. Local politics should never be a career. Leaders can stay involved and active, but every leader should have the courage and strength to pass the baton.
Please remember, I am the Supervisor who advocated for AND PASSED a term limits law. No town be deprived the lack of energy and passion infused by new ideas and new leaders. Jefferson said, “A government . . . elected by the people at short period of time was our object, and our maxim . . . [when] election needs, tyranny begins.”
We are moving forward despite the angst
I have been Supervisor for less than two years. I know I’m talking about what I will do at the end of my time in office, but in the big picture, I’m just getting started. And what a start it has been. We have obtained millions of dollars for sidewalks, secured change at the tolls, put in term limits, encouraged high tech investment, and got the old Dunlop building almost ready to open (the DEC just approved most of the sewage system, which is what we have been waiting on).
But each step of this progress has been only achieved after much struggle. Martin Luther King said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
And although it may seem a bit dramatic to apply a quote used for such a profound and important undertaking as the civil rights movement to the comparatively small challenges we face on Grand Island, the principles can uphold and uplift good and decent endeavors of any sort. Let us strive Grand Island. Greater goals are in sight.