I attended the All Candidates Forum on Thursday (Oct. 6) at the Della Herman Theatre, and I have to admit I was impressed.
I had concerns after the last few years, maybe the tone could have been a bit combative, but I was pleased the event went off with respect given to each candidate, and from the questions posed from the public. I thought it was a fair exchange of thoughts, ideas and visions on the direction people would like to see Smithers take.
It was a fair democratic process and I for one applaud all who took part on stage. Being in front of a full Della Herman Theatre is not a small feat. It takes some guts to be up in front of the public in such a setting. The element of unknowns always makes folks nervous in anticipating and participating in this kind of event.
As our paper was one of the sponsors, I too spent more than a few sleepless nights playing the “what if” game in my head at night. Instead, it was thought-provoking, interesting and as diverse as the people answering the questions.
The topics covered were as we expected, homelessness, housing, infrastructure, crime, climate with a few pointed questions on specific issues. These are tough issues, and every person on the stage knew the enormity and complexities of these topics, but I knew no one had the golden answer to any of them. If they had easy solutions, then they would not be an issue now.
I did find each person had a unique perspective to share, and I think that is what it takes in municipal government, and a willingness to listen.
Every one of us has ideas and experiences to share with those we elect to lead us. It takes all of us being willing to listen and share, so we can all make local government work.
I don’t think any of us believe our elected officials run for the job for the heck of it. They are dedicated, they work hard, they commit to being present and accountable. We as citizens are responsible for holding them to that. All of us want to know what’s going on, because when we don’t know, as things go, we assume nothing is being done, and many times that could not be further from the truth.
Go to or tune in to council meetings, they are open to the public and publicized and broadcast. Ask questions, be informed. It is not “what are they doing for us,” as much as it is how can we help our officials help us.
And if you don’t like how things are being run, get involved to make the change, don’t yell and fuss and rant. Be involved, be part of the solution we all have a part in solving.
Remember there is no golden key to change. When you look in the mirror, you’re looking at the answer.
Make sure to vote on October 15, and good luck to all who have chosen to represent us, and thank you for stepping up.