Municipal elections affect daily life

Municipal elections affect daily life

Another local election year is wrapping up this coming Tuesday, Nov. 5. 

For many, this may be the first time participating since you became eligible to vote. In this election, you have a voice in choosing those who will help lead the city for the next four years. 

Many people don’t give much importance to local elections. They think that because, after all, the city doesn’t deal with the big issues the federal government deals with on a day-to-day basis.

Nothing is further from the truth.

No other election affects your daily life like a local election. 

A good friend of mine and a member of the Goshen City Council, Julia King, said it very well, “Vote local, because it’s right here, in Goshen, where you get to build a community that makes you proud. We can be rational, fair and predictable in our local processes. We can negotiate our differences in good faith. We can strive for integrity and demand that our system works for everyone. We can be forward-thinking and creative. Whatever cause moves you, it’s here: economic justice, environmental protection, public safety, infrastructure development, land use, housing, diversity and inclusion — your local vote touches it all.”

What happens in Goshen affects all residents, including those who live within Goshen College’s campus. Students in the past have recognized this and have participated in the decision-making process. Just this year, members of EcoPax (Goshen College’s environmental club), attended Goshen City Council meetings to express their support for the passing of a resolution laying the groundwork for the city to create a Climate Action Plan. The Council passed the resolution unanimously after seeing overwhelming support for it. This is just one example of the ways students and other members of the college have become involved in guiding the city forward. When it comes to our community, we all pitch in. 

Voting in local elections is an important and essential element needed to build a strong community.  Goshen is a community that is thriving and progressive.

This is no doubt something I value, but it is also something that requires hard work in order to continue.  

We have grown to what we are today through the work of many people and the participation of thousands more. We have done this with only 30% (in a good year) of us voting. Just imagine what we could do if 50%, 75% or 100% of those eligible to vote used that right, that privilege.   

We see a little more than 10,000 people (Republicans, Democrats and everything in between) who vote in national and state elections and do not vote for local government, which is closest to their day-to-day lives.

We need to change this. We need to come together to help direct our community.

During my first term as Mayor, I have worked hard to build on the great progress achieved through the leadership of Mayors Allan Kauffman and Mike Puro.

My goal is to continue to build on that progress, making Goshen an even more vibrant community.

No matter whom you plan to vote for, find the thing that motivates you, educate yourself on the candidates, and come participate in growing your community by voting. The more we participate, the stronger we grow.  

I look forward to seeing you around campus or around our community. Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out and say hi to me or any other elected official. We enjoy connecting with, learning from and listening to those in the community we serve.

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Written by Jeremy Stutsman, Mayor of Goshen

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