Your vote is your decision: Use it wisely
If you live in a Super Tuesday state, I hope each and every one of you either got your primary vote in early or you stood proudly in line yesterday. November looms large in our country and heavy turnout across the nation on Super Tuesday indicated that Americans are taking it as seriously as it should be.
As part of a continuing project of Build Your Roadmap: Getting from your here to your there, in this post, I exam the importance of civic participation and how it drives me.
Over the last several months, I’ve been asked many times which candidate I favor in a wide variety of primary races around the country. I’m honored to be asked, but, with rare exceptions, decline to handicap the prospects of any aspiring public servant.
Instead, I encourage voters to look within to determine their own expectations of representation. If, on further reflection, that expectation is compassionate and fair to the broader community, they may find the guidance they’re looking for.
I’m not being coy and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t candidates that have already earned my vote or my support. In several instances, where I’ve determined a clear preference, I’ve donated to or otherwise publicly supported a campaign. But my metrics should not be your metrics.
My personal expectations are pretty well established (and documented). I think public servants should serve the public before parties and that political leadership should be dynamic, data-guided, and consensus-oriented. The last thing this country (or district, or county, or city) needs is one more cycle of stalemate policies or revenge politics.
The ability to cross the aisle to develop pragmatic solutions is one of my criteria but so is the commitment to seek input from the entirety of a constituency, not just the majority that delivered victory. None of us arrives fully formed and the very foundation of leadership requires that it be sustained and strengthened by listening, new perspectives, and adjustment. I hope that’s the normal politics of tomorrow and I look for candidates committed to breaking the current status quo.
When I ran for Congress in 2018, I worked very hard to provide a viable alternative for an emerging electorate seeking something beyond the status quo. And we came very close to finding a majority there.
After the election, and after I elected not to run for office in the 2020 cycle, I determined that my role as a public servant — and therefore my public service — was to help develop that community expectation of representation beyond simple red or blue and guide civic conversation toward shared priorities, shared solutions, and shared success.
At present, I’m not certain if that expectation has evolved to the point of delivering the majority — today’s political landscape is too jagged and the machine too finely tuned and directed. But I’m going to keep working at it. And I’m enormously grateful for the encouragement many of you have provided.
To meet the challenge, I founded USTomorrow, a non-profit to provide consistent research, strategic community engagement, civic leadership development, and stakeholder identification and inclusion in communities across Texas. In that context, I’ll welcome any candidate who wants to serve, listen, and lead.
By the way — in March 2018, after a bruising, hyper-partisan primary, I came in second, qualifying for the runoff. I am comfortable that my consistency as a candidate and commitment to represent the interests of all constituents, not only delivered a victory in the runoff but widened the path for future candidates to stay true to their own politics. In the end, we have more in common than what separates us.
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