What makes a great candidate? There seems to be plenty examples out there of what we as Civil Citizens don’t want. Yet, what qualifies someone as a great candidate?
Someone who is forthcoming.
The term forthcoming is used instead of honest because honesty in politics can get into a gray area. Especially in today’s fast paced technological world how can you quantify truth when situations are fluctuating so rapidly take the major changes happening in the Middle East or the ever changing information of natural disasters or oil spills for example. There are times quite frankly that the public cannot be told everything due to national security and other such factors. However, a candidate can always be forthcoming. Aspiring public officials need always be open and candid about the current state of affairs whatever that may be. Trusting the public to have the information they need, based on facts, in order to make the best decisions possible for the community. That applies from School Board to The President of the United States.
Someone who is knowledgeable.
It is arguable to say what particular education a candidate must have to be a great candidate. It seems the best resume is a person who has served their community and has hands-on knowledge in the management of the city, county, state or nation they are interested in helping to run. Someone who has done actual work and shown positive results. A person who is always interested in gathering knowledge, learning about different perspectives on issues, and one who is able to effectively problem solve and communicate those solution oriented ideas effectively to the public. The background can vary however the experience factor cannot. Look at the voting and public service record of anyone being considered for public office to see whether they have shown competence in leadership before promoting them to public office.
A statesman or stateswoman.
It may seem like a pipe dream in this world of hyperpartisanship to reminisce to the times of the statesman. The public official that knew when the election was over and when the work of putting the needs of the people above party with the intention of getting the work done, began. In the world of 24 hour cable news, internet, Twitter and the like it seems like campaigning never stops and that is not a benefit to our country. Always choose someone who stands for their principles yet also knows how to give a little for the greater good. A statesman treats all with respect whether or not he agrees with the person, he takes the time to listen and to do his best to come up with a solution that works. We need more statesman in government today.
Someone who will stay in touch with constituents’ needs.
This has a lot to do with being a humble candidate. It becomes dangerous when an elected official is not in touch with his constituents. Those given power need always remember where that power comes from and that it can be taken away when abused. It is difficult to know ahead of time exactly how someone will behave when in office however it is the voters obligation to get out to some public debates and see how a candidate preforms in that setting. Be wary of candidates who do not show up, especially local candidates, to forums and town hall meetings as this can show a tendency to shoe less attentiveness to constituent needs.
Each constituent needs to decide for themselves who best represents their needs in government. As a Civil Citizen you are invited to look past the general labels given to a candidate and do your best investigative work to look at the substance of a candidate. This can save you a lot of headaches later after the election when making a change is not as easy.