It brings up a critical problem that every community faces: awareness and engagement in community planning, political and government affairs and business issues. Both mayors implored our emerging leaders to get involved, even if it meant taking turns attending city council and community meetings and reporting to others.
Once in a while, issues arise for city council or mayoral consideration that seem like "no-brainers." As such, no one shows up to support them, and one lone detractor (or a group of disgruntled individuals who look at the short-term rather than long-term outcomes) can derail issues that are of benefit to the greater community. As Mayor Womack put it: "if you emerging leaders will attend city council meetings, for example, you can assess issues where your city leadership might encounter some whitewater and use a grassroots effort to inform and engage your peers and the community. That can make all the difference."
We see it locally with bond issues and school millage elections, nationally with candidates for office and a million places in between. Another point raised by the mayors counteracts the statement we all hear often that "there are no good politicians." Most people do not run for political office with anything but the best of intentions. Admittedly, some lose their path. But by all means, do not complain about the process, the politicians or the problem if you're not willing to participate.
It's one of the reasons we still get excited about the political process at the Chamber - each and every individual can affect it personally. The idea that your feedback, your ideas or your vote don't matter is antiquated, and certainly not characteristic of the future. Don't assume that "good" ideas will pass, or that the "right" candidate will be elected. It's not your position or your opinion that matters to us - it is your participation.