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  • Writer's pictureerinclune3

This week on the stump...

Just a few more weeks to go until the election. Whew, we have been working hard.

Tracy and I have been holding meetings, talking with residents, and doing research. We've been sifting through issues, both major and minor -- including crime, boat slips, comprehensive street plans, dog poo piles, trash can placement, taxes, marijuana laws, and development permits, to name a few. We talk a lot about the challenge of balancing priorities, because people disagree with one another strongly on, uh, almost every issue.

We stick closely to our high-level message: We will balance interests effectively only by getting a broader range of inputs, and assessing them in more equitable ways. The current leadership's practice of installing the same committee leaders years after year, without term limits or mentoring or training or power sharing, hasn't fostered widespread inclusion or participation. I don't know why the group who currently holds power has resisted these changes -- maybe it's fear, or self-interest, or the need to control, or just political atrophy. Whatever. But the fact is, too many residents have grown disheartened about their role as stakeholders in this village. We hear it over and over. And that's not cool. Because people investing in, and feeling invested in, their community is fundamental to the continued success of this municipality.

I know some people find discussions of power to be -- well, honestly, unpleasant. (Especially when women say it, or have it, or use it.) In school, power is a word reserved for lectures on revolutionaries or fascists. It's not typically used in polite company. We need to talk about power, of course, because elections and governance are all about power. Every time we go to the polls, and vote for someone to represent us in office, we empower people to make our decisions. We hope to empower people we trust, however. And this is critical because without trust, power can be abused. When Tracy and I talk about winning and using our power to make change, we mean it very specifically in that sense: We will be transparent, honest, and trustworthy. That's the stark choice we are offering in this election.

This past week, someone wrote to a friend of mine and explained that he couldn't vote for me because "being a decent human, especially if you hold political aspirations, is so important." I was surprised to learn his views on my human indecency, which are based on a disagreement we had over the nature of male allyship. My view is that if you aren't willing to hear feedback on why you aren't being a good ally -- as a man or a white person or a straight person or whatever -- then probably don't be an ally. But people are entitled to their permanent feelings, as Beyoncé would say.

The part that surprised me most though was -- LOL -- political aspirations. I have no aspirations other than helping this village. I'm not interested in power. Like, at all. Like, deep down in my soul. If I was interested in power, I wouldn't have quit my fancy tenure track job to raise my kids, or left New York to live in Madison, or fired my literary agent when we had an ethical disagreement, or gone back to substitute teach in the public schools for an hourly wage less than what Culver's pays. Here's what I am interested in: Freedom. Justice. And community. We are campaigning to take power from people we believe are misusing it, but not because we want to wield power, for power's sake. We want to encourage more freedom and justice and community. We believe that our village will be better off if we win. But if we do win, we won't stay in power long, I promise you that. We'll work hard to get new people involved, fix the laws so it's harder to abuse power, and then go back to our rescue pets. We both have a lot of pets. And they need a lot of petting.

Tomorrow at 2pm is the Village candidate forum. If you can't make it, stream it live or watch it later on Facebook. And don't forget it's daylight savings.

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