Weekend Buzz | Barriers to Running for Public Office
Do you identify with any of these?
Good Mor—wait, no. Good afternoon and happy Saturday, friends!
I spent the morning at the library and the early afternoon doing book things, so I’m getting a bit of a late start today.
I tend to do less logistical and more thoughtful pieces on Saturdays, and since election season is upon us, I wanted to say something about running for office. But, I also want to get this into your hands. So I’m going to move a little more quickly than I usually would, but know that I’m going to come back to all these things soon.
We need more people to run for office in Burlington. Last year, we didn’t have candidates for all seats, much less contested races for all of them. And while the folks who ran—particularly those in contested races—were very passionate and articulate about what they hoped to accomplish if the made it to office, it’s really not cool that we ended the election with any open seats, much less more than one.
Not to mention that the candidates for office didn’t fully represent the diversity of our town in age, race, and other characteristics.
So. We need more people to run for office. We need more variety in the candidates we are seeing. But finding folks to run for some offices can feel like pulling teeth (I’m looking at you, Precinct 7 Town Meeting).
Why is this? Lots of reasons. I know when I first started, despite the relative small time commitment of Town Meeting, it felt like there was SO MUCH to learn.
I’ll lay some more reasons out right now, and I’ll visit them more deeply (along with, hopefully, some ideas for overcoming these barriers) in future editions.
Some reasons folks don’t run for office:
They don’t feel connected or invested enough in the community.
They don’t know about each office, what it does, and why it’s important.
They don’t believe they have the experience required or the power to make a difference.
They don’t have the time, or they are concerned their other commitments (job(s), dependent care, others) will interfere.
They are nervous to place themselves or their family in the public eye.
They don’t see themselves represented in existing government offices and fear not being welcome.
Once again, I’ll say some of these out a little more thoroughly soon. In the meantime, feel free to add your ideas in the comments.
This Weekend in Burlington
Meetings and Events
If you missed the STRIDE Fitness Member Appreciation events today, you can catch the injury prevention clinic and the gait analysis tomorrow; see their website for details!
Tomorrow at 3PM, join the library for a Zoom talk: Sunflowers and Starry Nights: The Genius of Vincent Van Gogh with Jane Oneail
Sports and Activities
In basketball, our Varsity Boys improved their record to 7-1 yesterday with a 60-48 win against Watertown. Girls pulled out a last-second 60-58 win over Watertown, as well! Boys’ Gymnastics also brought home a W yesterday, coming out over Braintree, Lowell, and Newton at Braintree.
Finally, I have some more detailed results from Wednesday’s wrestling meet in Wilmington. According to coach Paul Shvartsman, the Devils won 6 of the 8 contested matches, all by pin with Junior Ian Larson winning his first Varsity match. 🎉
The Red Devils are now 5-4 overall and 2-0 in the ML Freedom. Great work, team!
Wrestling and hockey are on the schedule for today:
10:00 AM - Wrestling at home vs. Winchester. I’m seeing scores already and it’s looking like mixed results for the Devils.
2:30 PM - JV Boys’ Hockey takes on Arlington at the Ice Palace
Our Varsity hockey teams are in Stoneham today, with girls playing at 4:00 and boys at 6:00.
Alright, Burlington, I’ll see you tomorrow (twice if you’re a Hive member)!