I hope everyone enjoyed a nice holiday season and is looking forward to this New Year as eagerly as I am. It seems like there’s always a little bit of a natural letdown after the holidays, doesn’t it? I think many of us utilize the end of the year to reflect on the year’s ups and downs and make plans and establish goals for the upcoming year. Let’s hope we can all achieve our goals this year.
The State of the City address will be on January 30th this year, and I am eager to take a look back at ’07 and forward to this year and beyond. I’ll summarize the address in next month’s column, since I’ve only got a rough draft of the speech at this time.
To start the New Year, I would like to ask everyone to get engaged in the very important state and federal elections in 2008. As we know, there are some good candidates running for vacancies in seats that represent Peoria. The 18th Congressional seat being vacated by Congressman LaHood and the 92nd State House seat being vacated by Representative Schock will be up for grabs. In addition, I am hopeful that Illinois will be in play for the presidential candidates with our early primary.
As I mentioned in my December column, I am hopeful that our local candidates can debate the issues in a positive manner. The polarization of our political parties over the past couple of decades has been very unfortunate. Many young voters won’t Issueseven participate in the process because of their disdain for the tactics being used by those wishing to hold or retain offices. Instead of retreating to the far edges of our parties, we should be finding ways to communicate those desires that are more representative of the collective whole of our parties. There are obviously core issues that will differentiate candidates, but we need to stop tossing bombs and instigating personal attacks and discuss the issues that make a distinction between the candidates.
Educate yourself on the candidates and their positions. Urge your employees to do the same. Be sure to encourage everyone to vote on Election Day. Why not invite the candidates in for an informal meet and greet? After the primaries, it’s a long time until the general election in November. I encourage you to get involved in your candidate’s campaign. Get people in your club, church or other social group registered to vote.
It is such an important time in history, and it’s equally important that we elect quality people to office to represent our interests, especially at the national level. I sincerely hope that our country can come together and elect a real consensus candidate as our next leader. Wishful thinking? Maybe. At some point, however, we have to stop dividing and start uniting. The way we’ve been going isn’t working. I hope you can be part of the solution. Have a great ’08! IBI