People my age are connected to each other. We are busy fighting to grow business and hang on to the diminishing American dream. We also contribute to community growth through business location, taxation and endless passive promotion through social media. But we are also quickly losing representation in a way that supports what we are trying to accomplish. My generation is no different than any other one that has preceded us in sincerity and commitment but we are also very different in how we think things should operate. So why are local City leaders so slow to adapt to how we want to be involved and what matters most to us. I have zero friends my age that are involved in their local political system. It would surprise me if any of my friends even know who their specific representative is and what they stand for. It is not because it is not important at all to them though. It is because they know they do not have a voice and until someone in leadership begins to account for them or actively seeks out our opinion, you will never capture the attention or talent of the future generations. We want to volunteer, we want to invest, we want to mentor, we want to support, we want to see progress, we want to protect history and we want someone to value that. If I was a local leader I would be concerned that younger generations will never be involved and try to figure out a solution to this. In my business if I am not continually adapting to the wants of my customers, I am gone real fast. So why doesn’t my elected leader feel the same way? Why does my elected leader show up each Monday, quickly reading the meeting agenda and then sit silent for the next 90 minutes? Why does my elected official not have the passionate desire to connect with me and my neighbors? No idea but here is what I feel would help. Other than a little effort, taking the time to get out of a comfort zone and be available would be a start. I love to support my community but until a few things I list below are worked towards, I can’t imagine my neighbors, colleagues or friends will ever be represented by our local leadership.
- Learn to communicate with us: We don’t go to meetings. We actually hate meetings. With today’s endless ways to share information, we will not take time away from our families to show up to an antiquated way of doing business. Tweet, post or blog, but get your message out there and we will sell it.
- Be present: If I am not your neighbor I probably don’t see you anywhere around town. We want to see our reps digging into the pulse of our community, not coasting through retirement protecting a product that doesn’t exist anymore.
- Listen: I may not be the guy paying the most taxes and I probably can’t do you many political favors, but that’s not the point. Act like we matter and take the time to hear our concerns. This is not a poke at rich vs. poor; it is a poke at the natural progression of a politician losing touch with the person that got them to their post.
- Learn: Product development and research is a huge part of business. Well it should be in politics. I hope my elected leader would be asking questions or study other ways of doing things. We don’t want you swaying with the wind, but we do want you open to new ideas and maybe a better product that we can use.
I am not saying my generation is perfect or that the day you show an interest we will be involved. But we do deserve to have the option and unless the process of politics is changed locally, the opportunity for future generation’s involvement will continue to dwindle. Please connect and relate to us. We voted and elected you as a representative, so represent us, Please!