The fact that there are no opponents to the three Sparks City Council incumbents speaks to the fact that the residents of Sparks are happy with the representation that they are receiving. Reno had a much different ballot, as four City Council incumbents (a majority of the council) are being forced out of office by term limits. The primary narrowed the long list of candidates for those seats down to eight. The voters of Reno have some big decisions to make as far as the future of their city is concerned.
I have never been one to cry and gnash my teeth about low voter turnout. While a lot of folks believe that every eligible voter should vote no matter what, I am of the opinion that only educated voters should cast ballots. A responsible citizen would take the time to talk to and learn about the candidates asking for their vote. Why are they running for office? What do they stand for? Do they understand the issues that are facing the jurisdiction that they are looking to represent? Do they have specific thoughts and ideas, or just offer boilerplate clichés about creating jobs and valuing education? What individuals or groups have publicly endorsed them or have given them money?
Now, I realize that my job allows me the unique opportunity to meet with all of these candidates, get to know them and find out all of the above information. I get to do this during the workday and get paid to do so. I know that the last thing most normal people want to do after a long day of work, picking up the kids, running errands and fixing dinner is to sit down and think about politics. But you must make time for it. You can’t afford to base your vote on the whether or not the candidate is a nice guy or whether she friended you on Facebook. I have met a lot of nice candidates for public office who you would not want anywhere near a gavel or voting button.
Whether you are an employer or work for one, your vote can have a definitive impact on your bottom line.
Your school board hires the superintendent who sets the standards and creates the culture by which your children, grandchildren and future workforce will be educated and expected to learn, thrive and succeed.
Your city council and county commission determine business license fees, how, when and where a business can operate, and can affect the rate you pay for your phone, water and power bills.
Your state Legislature determines how much you will be taxed, determines how you can hire and fire your employees, what your health insurance policies must pay for and how much control public employee labor unions have over local governments.
Congress and the president make policy concerning a lot of the same issues listed above and cast decisions that can have a huge impact on our entire economy and national security.
Don’t just vote for the nice guy. Don’t base your decision on who has the prettiest sign or the flashiest commercial. Vote based on what benefits your family, your business and your community. Voting affects your bottom line. Take it seriously.
Christi Quatro is the director of communications at The Chamber. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.