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The question of the year is this, “Can I trust any one who runs for office anymore and will the voting system be rigged?”  There are numerous organizations stepping to the forefront on the subject of election fraud and we believe this situation will be fixed.  We will await their findings and pray all measures are put in place to ensure free and fair elections.  It is an absolute must to get to the bottom of this travesty!

What we can do in the meantime is become better at choosing who will “serve us.”  Yes – serve us.  That is what a political position was meant to be by the framers of our government.  They were to be public servants – not servants to special interest groups who fund their coffers with cash.   

The next race for Mayor of Jacksonville is underway and we believe holding political office should be a privilege given only to those who choose to run because a) they feel a calling to serve the people; b) they have experience that can be used in public service; and c) they want to make a difference and leave their community a better place.

To assist you in bubbling the circle next to the best candidate, we have put together an in-depth template of qualities we believe are vital for choosing a true public servant.

Enjoy the list and share other thoughts with us if we missed something:

  1. Integrity – Do an online search and dig deep into the candidate’s background.  Does their resume match what they are putting on their website?  If you can find out what their peers, neighbors and friends say about them – that would be helpful.  Have they come clean on any issues that may have happened in their background?  Don’t just use their website to find this information.  All candidates paint pretty pictures of themselves and unfortunately we know sometimes they are not who they say they are.  
  2. Courage – Have they done anything to fight injustice or an illegal activity, or public corruption?  Have they risked their name, money or reputation to stand for what they believe in?
  3. Beliefs – Do their values match yours. As an example, “Is the candidate a fiscal conservative or does he/she think the government should use taxpayer dollars to fund social welfare projects?”  Check what you believe a public servant’s role is against their beliefs. Also check their voting records if the candidate has held another office. Did they vote your beliefs?
  4. Authentic – Are they truthful about who they are and what they represent or are they presenting a false image to obtain your vote?  If you are able to be in the room with the candidate, is he/she “fully present” in conversations or are they looking around to see who they need to “be seen with.”  Do they truly want to hear from others and have a genuine interest in what others are saying?
  5. Hard worker –  The candidate needs to be accessible, mixing with the public, knocking on doors, attending gatherings to listen and be heard, and campaigning 24/7 to earn your vote.  He/she doesn’t rely on staff or volunteers to do all the work.  He should be doing most of the campaigning.  People want to meet the candidate and look them in the eye.
  6. Business Experience –  This is a must!  Many politicians have never worked in the private sector and cannot relate to real life outside the bubble of politics.  Has the candidate worked in or built a business, employed others, made payroll, and/or created equity?  Have they managed a budget?  Are they capable of “selling the city” and “balancing the books?”  Have they worked through any difficult business decisions and had a positive outcome?  Can they put a team together and lead people?   Do they read financials and understand the facts behind the numbers?  If they need a job or are just focused on moving up the ladder to their next political office – reconsider your vote.
  7. Vision – Can they articulate their vision and carry out the plan to implement it?  Does their vision excite you? Do they even have one?  If the candidate is talking more about their opponents instead of focusing on their vision – be careful.  People are thirsty for Jacksonville to become a grown-up city and our next Mayor should have a vision to make that happen. Without a vision – the people and a city perish.
  8. Donors – Who is supporting the candidate?  Do the donors — people or entities — match your beliefs?  For example, “If you are against paying for abortions, does the candidate take money from Planned Parenthood or other abortion rights groups/people?” Or, “Are the donors some of the same ones who are always behind the scenes pulling the strings on big dollar projects funded by your tax dollars?”  Donors can either be hands off or some expect a return on their investment.  Is the candidate strong enough to take the money and tell a donor no favoritism will be given for it? 
  9. SurrogatesWho is speaking on their behalf?  Are they good, upstanding citizens who are throwing their support behind the candidate?   The people we hang out with are an indication of who we are.
  10. Political Consultants Many people are unaware of the political machine behind the candidate.  Some political consultants “run” the candidate with framing the narrative, polishing up a candidate, and using the candidate for their own purposes.  This is a big one to review.  If the consultant worked with a political “bad” actor previously – consider this a red flag.  If the candidate works with consultants who use lies to take down opponents or who have been involved in schemes themselves, this reflects poorly on the candidate.  If they work with seedy consultants, you should question if they can put a good team around them to run the city.
  11. Home Grown – Is the candidate a home grown Jacksonville native or at least has been here long enough to understand the city and its culture?  We believe you can’t serve a city you have no ties with. 
  12. Faith – Last but not least, in order to serve, the candidate must have faith in God.  Service to others before self is a requirement for Public Service.

We hope you will find this template helpful.  There is no perfect person and we know it will be difficult for a candidate to meet all the criteria.  They should, however, meet most of them. 

We absolutely must do a better job as voters to hire the best candidate for the most important political position in our city.  If we do our part as an informed voting block, we can actually Make Jacksonville Great Again.  She deserves nothing less.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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