Aside from what could be some interesting primary contests later this month in Peoria, we're in kind of a political limbo. National leaders elected a few months ago are in place, and our attention in a couple of months will focus even more sharply on those who wish to lead us locally.
It's typical to think our local issues pale when compared to what's on the minds of voters nationally. But it's an odd situation we're in. The threat of a terrorist attack remains, a war in the most volatile part of the world is on as shaky of ground as its premise, and yet we're told that amendments banning gay marriage were a driving force getting people to the polls in some states.
I, for more than one, am tired of hearing the talking heads on TV answering anything with a simplistic "red state/blue state" analysis. It's more a purple world that we live in, and it would be refreshing to hear politicians at every level say they recognize that.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the past campaign wasn't the issues that drove many, but the situation described by many who left office voluntarily. This country, they agree, has never been more polarized, more divided.
The future of this country-and the well-being of its citizens-rests more on the economic, political, and social stability in other parts of the world than it does on the future of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance or what consenting adults do. It's becoming a world of agendas, and so many of those agendas-while cloaked in a gown of motherhood and apple pie-are obvious win-lose situations once the veneer is removed.
Peoria is not immune from these national trends.
Under the guise of what's best for the city, narrow agendas and misdirected priorities will likely be forthcoming. We'll hear short-term "solutions" that don't even address, let alone acknowledge, long-term issues. Lost all too often in this smoke and mirrors is a business agenda that provides a win-win resolution. Economic vitality and quality of life are the issues, period. A candidate's long-term, balanced plan to improve economic vitality and quality of life must guide voters.
As we go to the polls this April, we should ask ourselves the following questions of each candidate:
- Does the candidate have a clear vision and a CEO mindset to lead the city?
- Does the candidate have the ability to surround himself with people he can consult with?
- The candidate works for his district and the good of the city. Will he listen? Will he lead?
- Is the candidate willing to compromise his agenda for the good of the whole?
- Does the candidate understand a healthy business environment is the foundation for growth of our region?
At the risk of bandying about clichés, Peoria is at a crossroads. There are issues aplenty that hold the future of Peoria in their resolution. The city must look different four years from now when those we elect in April come back before us. Vote for the candidates who have the passion, common sense, and intelligence to build our future. Your company, your family, and our community depend on it. IBI