I think voting is so important and especially at the local level like to vote for city council or mayors office, but it can be difficult and stressful all at the same time.  In my little city of Westfield Indiana I took the time to meet with nearly all candidates for city council and was pleasantly surprised at the common ground most of them had and how little they seemed to vary in beliefs and future plans.  Sure there is the anti growth person out there or the candidate seeking a vendetta against a previous administration but in my naive way I saw very little of this on this go around.  So in a crowded friendly election I think it can be a hard choice for people to make a good decision and may even deter those wanting to vote but just doing know what to do.  Below are some suggestions on making the best decision for you and your family and whether you vote for your neighbor or support the new guy, you need to do it for yourself and be comfortable that you made the right decisions.

  1.  Don’t vote for your neighbor – Not really but here is my point.  Voting for someone because they are close to you doesnt make them the right candidate.  Sure they are great to share a lawnmower or a beer with but are they a good choice to lead a growing city?  Everyone wants to see their friends succeed but be sure you are voting for the cause not the friends ego.  Its very easy in a place where we all know each other to cast a vote for a friend instead of taking the time to choose who is best for the community.  Go ahead and vote for your neighbor but do it because they will be an awesome city leader.
  2. Do some research – I am not sure how much is in a newspaper but most candidates nowadays keep a fairly good social media presence and if not all of them will take a phone call.  Do some of your own research on topics that concern you.  For instance, I care about school funding and economic development so I spend a lot of time asking about a candidates viewpoint on these topics.  The last thing I would want to accidentally support is a candidate that is going to put a pause on aggressive economic growth so I ask that questions directly.  You can also look at past voting records through the city website to see if a current seat holder has voted for or against topics that you would have interest in.  Truthfully you could probably call each candidate and get a quick answer on any topic and if they cant give you an answer, that should probably be the first red flag.  Ask around, look online and ask direct questions to help you make your best decision.
  3. Vote For-not Against – I find it irritating when a candidates main platform is to stop what previous administrations have done as a whole.  I find it really attractive when they instead have a plan to take what has been done and make it better.  One of the best ways to discover who a great candidate is is to listen to their plan.  Is it focused on the bad from the current sitter or is it focused on a plan to do things really well in the future.  There is a difference and a competition should be won with planning and new ideas instead of just condemning what someone else has done.  This is a big one for me.  Keep it positive and plan for the future, long after we are gone.
  4. Vote for after they win – Ok so ou want to support Fred in his election but do you really know what he plans to do after that?  I am a big believer in asking about who they plan to bring in for support roles like public works, economic development and safety.  A newly elected official is only as good as their team and that team can make them look really bad quickly.  If they have no answer or are complacent on their current teams effectiveness you may want to reconsider.  If a councilor isn’t willing to listen to advisors on finance or zoning, I would highly reconsider.  Spend some time looking at these key positions and how they are using them to support their campaign and make a decision with that in mind.  Most of these roles require expert advice and support and those people should be taken as seriously as the candidates themselves
  5. Be Happy for the Winner – Spending the next years bashing the winner and their supporters gets no-one any further down the road.  Choosing a candidate and working hard for them is great but after the election we must respect the counted votes.

The local elections are really as important as any election and the first part is going out and casting your vote.  But it doesn’t end there.  I have always felt like the more people engage with local leaders, the better they understand the process and reasoning behind many of the hard decisions they have to make.  Be sensible and fair but vote for what you first believe in and second for what you are going to work hard for after the election.  Yes they may be the elected officials but in no way are they the only ones that get anything done.  Learn, Vote and Engage is all it takes for a smooth running community.

Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage.  He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments.  Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area.  Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time  volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.