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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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A view from the other side


Fri, Nov 14th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Over most of my adult life, I have been a faithful follower of politics with my own strong held opinions. I've grumbled at times in disgust with some policy decisions and/or personal actions of people serving in public office at various levels.

With my recent and first attempt to win public office, District 1 Fillmore County Commissioner, I had an opportunity, in a small way, to see politics from the other side. I've reflected on the ups and downs of seeking political office since my defeat on November 4.

I decided to run many months ago. Like many who make a decision to run for office, I consulted family and others that have held this office and those that are close to it.

The real learning process started when I started going door to door. This in itself is a difficult task for a beginner and a relatively introverted personality. It is like writing a story or an essay which requires the writer to reveal a part of herself or himself, giving up a modicum of privacy. It is for some the biggest hurdle to get over. Fortunately, I gained some cheerleaders who encouraged me along the way and I thank them.

The campaign process has given me a greater respect for those who put themselves out there and seek office. The candidate is in effect interviewing for the job each and every day of the campaign. I can well imagine that the higher the office the more intense each of these days will be.

This office happened to be a nonpartisan office. I was dismayed at the number of people who asked me what party I was with. Some of us tend to be a little lazy and prefer to vote party line rather than study an individual candidate and make a decision based on the person rather than party affiliation. In my opinion party labels, in selecting qualified people for public office, often contribute to voters making poor decisions when they enter the voting booth. All points of view need to be sought out to arrive at a fair result beneficial to the whole community. Compromise where possible is for the best.

A county elected official told me early on that running for a local office takes courage. At first, I disagreed, but now I think there is a degree of courage involved. Most run for office with good intentions and a desire to improve the workings of government. Unfortunately, some over time loose perspective and allow those good intentions to dissipate.

Many who would excel at public service do not run because of the rigors of the campaign and the incompatibility of campaigning with their personality. I would recommend to any who have contemplated a run for office, but have "chickened out" because of the campaign to take the risk of public rejection and reconsider. All elected positions need good people.

Even in defeat, it has been a good learning experience increasing my awareness of the community and its people and the problems we faced. The experience also makes me reexamine my own views and priorities. I'm down this time, but not necessarily out. Given the opportunity I may risk it once again.

Karen Reisner lives in Fountain.

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