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Attentive voters means good government


Barack Obama has been quoted as saying "I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics." No doubt, the President had the United States government in mind when he said those words. They are, however, equally as applicable to municipal government in Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop's Falls or any other town as they are in Washington, D.C.

Barack Obama has been quoted as saying "I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics."

No doubt, the President had the United States government in mind when he said those words.

They are, however, equally as applicable to municipal government in Grand Falls-Windsor, Bishop's Falls or any other town as they are in Washington, D.C.

It is a tumultuous time in the Exploits Valley, with the recent loss of the paper industry and a drive to identify other ways to ensure the standard and quality of living the people here have enjoyed for a century is maintained.

We cannot be lazy.

As residents and voters, we have to look wisely to our ballots and be sure the choice we make is the right one for all of us.

The act of voting, in a way, defines part of who we are as Newfoundlanders and Canadians.

Many poll booths in this province are placed in Royal Canadian Legion buildings, which is very fitting.

The members of the Legion, past and present, were the men and women who gave of themselves to make sure we have the right to vote.

We have to pay attention as well, not only to the check marks we make on Sept. 29, but also the representation we receive after the election.

The decision to run for council cannot be an easy one to make.

Sure, we criticize politicians every day in the media. They are the topic of discussion in every coffee club and informal get together we have.

Criticism is not easy to take when it is constant and when it comes from all sides, but that is one of the considerations an Average Joe or Jane has to make when they decide to run.

It is our job, as the people who elect the politicians, to hold them accountable.

If we do not - if we become lazy - then shortcuts are taken and bad governance is the result.

It is a time of change for the Exploits Valley.

That change will have to take place not only in the way we do business or what businesses we operate here. There also needs to be a transformation in the way we all have a hand in governing our towns. If the complaints to politicians are that they are not representing us well, then perhaps we are all partially to blame.

We all have to become louder, ask questions, put forward suggestions, make demands and work together to improve our own lot.

We elect town councils to represent us, but we have to make sure they know what we want.

There is still time to jump in the municipal race if feel you have the time, energy and vision to contribute.

If not, you must make yourself heard on election day by exercising your right, privilege and carrying through on your responsibility to vote.

Don't be lazy.

David Newell

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