By: City Manager, John W. Feary
On Tuesday, April 6, Claremore residents will have an opportunity to go to the polls to retain or elect new city councilors. I would like to take this opportunity to explain why I believe civic participation in local elections is so important.
The City Council is the closest connection to government that our residents have. In electing councilors, citizens are giving officials the power to do what is necessary to perform government functions and achieve our city’s objectives. You are electing someone that you believe will responsibly represent you.
City councilors are part of a law-making body. They can create ordinances that range from zoning and restrictions to animal control laws. It is important that a councilor have an understanding of the complexities of our codes. There are risks and rewards that must be considered when creating or amending our municipal laws. Decisions our councilors make can have repercussions for years.
The choices your councilors make also impact your quality of life. Water service, public safety, city infrastructure – including streets - and even the parks where your children play are all affected by the votes your councilors cast. We expect our leaders to exercise these powers responsibly and to be educated on the decisions they are making because those decisions impact all of us. Councilors’ jobs do not stop here, though.
For our city to continue to flourish, strategic planning and economic development are vital. Economic development at a local level is aimed at creating jobs. Your councilors and city stakeholders make decisions that will affect our economic growth. We need individuals that are willing to roll up their sleeves and dig into the federal and state policies and funding opportunities that can assist us in this endeavor.
Lastly, these men and women are also who you would approach to advocate for or against an idea. Will these individuals be accessible to you and listen to your concerns?
The above items are just a portion of our councilors’ responsibilities. They are busy individuals and have the weight of our entire town on their shoulders. So, when you go to the polls on Tuesday, think about who you are casting your vote for. Will they represent you and our city in a way that will make us all proud?