- By: President and CEO of The Fresno Chamber of Commerce
Whew! Are you, like me, glad it’s finally over?
After weeks and weeks of being blasted with television, radio, newspaper and direct mail pieces from aspiring elected officials, what a sign of relief it was to wake up Wednesday, November 5th and actually appreciate the sounds of a TV pitch guy telling us that, if we call within the next five minutes, he will double our order. Whoever would have thought we would find that a welcoming experience.
So the election season is over for the moment. The voters have voiced their opinion and new government leaders have been selected to some key positions.
As we all know, in any election, there are winners and losers. So, let’s make a lot of noise for the losers. Not with a mean, in-your-face taunt, but rather with the appreciation that these individuals entered a sordid arena of political campaigns; exposed their lives to the public in a way they probably never thought would happen, walked precincts day in and day out until their feet bled in order to make some contribution to our community’s future.
Most importantly, the losing candidate’s most critical contribution was them challenging their opponents. It was that challenge that inspired debate, introduced new ideas to consider and forced us, the voter to have to think issues through. No disrespect to those in office, but we should all be somewhat worried when an elected official has no competition. That’s a comfort level we should always get anxious about.
The fresh faces on the City Council and Board of Supervisors will open new possibilities that the Chamber has long desired, sometimes with marginal success. The contentious relationship of the two largest local governing bodies (the Supervisors and Council) may turn to more cooperation. The integration of duplicated public safety services that the Chamber helped orchestrate a few years earlier could be revisited in the hope for more efficiency. The recent acceleration of permitting and processing on behalf of business expansion in our area can be reinforced so as to provide long-needed job expansion.
Here is another possibility from outside of our local arena. Though unsuccessful in her attempt to become our state’s Controller, Mayor Ashley Swearengin garnered the endorsement of every major newspaper in California except the San Francisco Chronicle and she received over 46% of the vote in a statewide election. Pretty impressive from a relative unknown to most of California. From San Diego to Sacramento, she introduced herself along with our community in a way that could change the face and image of our area. Even in a losing effort, that positive response can have tremendous economic benefits for companies looking for a home or business opportunities searching for partners.
So the pain of the campaign is over. We’ve suffered enough. Now, let’s channel our thoughts to the benefits it has presented us. But, we had better hurry because there will be another election on its way soon. Or maybe, it would be less torturous to call within five minutes to double our order.