The Vote For Four

Of all the votes I’ve been asked to cast as the City Council Member for District 6, voting to replace Jonathan Schumm has been by far the most complex. There are quite a few issues to balance in this decision, none of them easy on their own. I thought I might run though a few of the issues that come to mind as I consider this vote. (These are in no particular order.)

  • Who shares the vision for the future of Topeka? Many of us have worked for years toward building a better community with safe and healthy neighborhoods, excellent schools, vibrant entertainment, and well maintained infrastructure (just to name a few and in no particular order). We’ve made great progress toward this goal and are already reaping some of the benefits. Much though, is left to be done.  While someone who doesn’t support the vision the community has set forth wouldn’t necessarily derail it, it could significantly slow it down and make it that much more difficult for us to catch up with competing cities.
  • Who would the voters of District 4 select to represent them? An obvious question with a much less obvious answer. I feel there are two schools of thought in how voters select their representative: (1. Who is the best of the available candidates and/or (2. Who would work best with others to accomplish something? The answer to the first might be a bit easier in theory as I could vote for one that has similar qualities and experience to the previous seat holder. Two, on the other hand, gets into the balance of the Council and is much more dicey. Mr. Schumm rounded out out team nicely and has left very big shoes to fill.
  • How might this change the balance of the Council? Having a good balance is vitally important. If everyone agreed all the time, we wouldn’t have the discussions that really help vet the pros and cons of each idea. That requires a diverse team with different backgrounds and values. On the flip side, if no one can agree on anything, nothing gets done and our City doesn’t get anywhere.
  • What qualities would District 6 like to see in a council member? Even though I’m essentially making this decision on the behalf of the folks of District 4, at the end of the day, I’m responsible to the voters of District 6. And their opinions are important to every vote I cast.

It’s a tough call to make and one I’m taking very seriously. All the candidates are excellent folks and would represent their constituents well. But who is the right one for the right time? That is the question at hand!

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