Fairhaven: Get to know your elected officials
The small town has a dilemma. In cities like New York, Boston…even Providence and New Bedford you have the luxury of voting and being able to hide. However in Fairhaven we vote and we run into you at Stop and Shop; we see you at school pick up; we say hi to you at the coffee shop. We can’t hide. Our elected officials see us regularly. The loser of the election sees us and wonders if we, their high school English class neighbor, voted for them or the other candidate.
Because of this we tend to vote for our friend. We vote for the nice guy because he’s nice and well “why not”. We vote for the small business owner because he has a business and “how different can it be”. Guess what? It can be very different.
Being nice in the face of a bully doesn’t always get it done. When turning the other cheek doesn’t work you have to be willing to dig in and push back. Being a small business owner doesn’t mean you can work with others. In fact it can often mean the opposite. Arguably my best friend spent 15 years working for companies before he realized he simply wasn’t cut out to work for someone.
He decided to go out on his own and be his own boss. It’s admirable but would I elect him to work in a role where he has to answer questions? Probably not. That mentality could work for a mayor (not really) but certainly not for a group of people who have to work together for a common goal. That common goal is the people.
Can we look at our elected officials and say they work for us? Is it easy for us to get our issues addressed or at least answered? Have you tried to get an item on the agenda? I have (3 to 4 weeks ago) and it hasn’t been addressed.
You could look at me and say I happen to be 6’3 300 lbs and it’s easy to stand up for myself but that’s not it. I did the work. I graduated from Boston College as a math major, yes I said math major. I attended University of Chicago Booth school with a finance and strategy concentration. It happened to be the number one school in the country the year I was admitted. I’ve been a father, climbed the corporate ladder and the best husband I can be. I’ve been elected to student government at every level. Those of you who have worked in student government know all student activities and issues go through you.
The point to all of that is we have a story. Get to know your officials and make them answer questions. Voting for your neighbor or friend gets us where we are: the punchline of a local government joke; embarrassed by our town officials.
I wasn’t born in Fairhaven. I chose Fairhaven and I love Fairhaven.
Leon Correy, Fairaven
Mr. Correy is a member of the Fairhaven Sustainability Committee and the Wood School Council
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