Tomorrow is election day. As we prepare to hit the polls tomorrow, it's good to take a final look at the candidates for City Council and get their perspectives on economic development and the role of the Council. In the opening weeks of this site, we sent a series of questions to each of the candidates for council. All but three of the 10 candidates chose to respond. One candidate each from districts 1, 3 and 4 opted not to participate.
Commentary from Nick Parker, publisher of Link 2 Lee's Summit.
While I take into consideration this media site is in its infancy, there is some disappointment in candidates choosing not to participate in the Q&A introductions. Part of being a member of the City Council — or maybe just part of being involved — is choosing to show up. Running for office and participating in the future of a community is an active decision. It's a choice to show up, participate and communicate with the constituency. Aside from the fact Link 2 Lee's Summit has reached more than 15,000 people through its web site and social media channels during its first five weeks, one has to wonder why a candidate would choose not to participate with any member of local media. All candidates did show up to participate in the public forum hosted by the Lee's Summit Chamber, but take a look at the questionnaire submitted by the Chamber. Not every candidate answered those questions either. And some only responded to a few questions. When the Chamber's forum began, moderator Carl Chinnery opened the dialogue with a simple question, asking for a show of hands from the candidates who had attended a Council meeting in the past 3, 4 or 6 months. Shockingly, but maybe not surprising, there were those on the stage who did not raise their hands. Things get a little muddled here because it was at this point that Chinnery realized he had broken protocol and started his questions without giving each of the 10 candidates a chance to make their opening remarks. This seemingly minor gaffe set a tone for the entire evening. It is a shame, Chinnery either could not or would not return to the original question and follow up with those who didn't raise their hands and ask why they were running for a seat on Council when they hadn't bothered to attend a meeting in the past 6 months. To be fair, one or two candidates later offered on their own accord that they had viewed portions through either the broadcasts or videos hosted on the City's web site. That's fine, but I again go back to the point that being involved means showing up. It means active participation. Watching video on the internet is analogous to "phoning it in."
Link 2 Lee's Summit's purpose as a media site is to serve as a voice for driving economic development and doing business in Lee's Summit. So why pay such attention to City Council elections? Why take the time to offer a little commentary on the election process? Simple, business recruitment and retention and communicating to the masses all the City has to offer requires a leadership willing to take an active role in every facet of the government and its economic community. It takes leaders who understand the nuances of development and the relationship between the public and private sectors and how they must work together to foster continued growth and progress.
The District 1 race features incumbent Rob Binney against Susan Coffman and Franklin Tatro. While Tatro declined to participate in our Q&A, you can read responses from Binney and Coffman here. And below is video of each of the three candidates responding to a question on the role of the Council in the management of City Hall and holding staff accountable for direction from the body.
In District 2, Craig Faith is running unopposed. While Faith didn't participate in the Q&A portion of the Chamber's forum, he did attend and offered opening and closing remarks along with the other candidates. He also participated in our Q&A, offering his perspective on economic development.
Phyllis Edson, Todd Haynes and James Lloyd are each seeking the available seat in District 3. Lloyd did not respond to Link 2 Lee's Summit's attempts to reach him in regards to the Q&A. You can read responses from Edson and Haynes here. Below is video of each of the three candidates responding to a question on the role of the Council in the management of City Hall and holding staff accountable for direction from the body.
In District 4, Amy Fox, Mellissa Garris and Chris Moreno are each running for the seat currently occupied by Bob Johnson who has reached his term limit. Both andFox and Moreno offered their responses to our questions regarding economic development. Garris did not respond to the questions. Below is video of each of the three candidates responding to a question on the role of the Council in the management of City Hall and holding staff accountable for direction from the body.
We'll close this post with another note on participation and active choices. But this one is for the voters. In April 2014, the Jackson County Election Board reported a voter turnout of 12.31 percent. Turnout for local elections are always low, but to have a voice, and to be a part of growth, you have to speak when the opportunity arises. Decisions are made by those who show up. To voters and to the candidates: show up.