Monday, October 8, 2012

"All politics is local"

Tip O'Neil said that "All politics is local."
What he meant is that a politician's success is tied to his/her ability to understand the issues of their constituents.  The personal issues are often what the voters care about the most.
Last week I attended a political reception in Preston for Tim Boyles, who is running for State Rep from the 44th district.  In attendance were Governor Malloy, Rep Tom Reynolds, Kevin Ryan, Steve Mikutel, Senator Andrew Maynard, and many others. 
The reason I was there was twofold. 
Tim Boyles is a worthy candidate.  He is the selectman of Preston and a supporter of small business, farmers, the environment, education, and the workers of this area. I urge you to give him your support.
I was also there to promote the issues of the employees of Backus Hospital.  In fact, this first thing the Governor asked was "How are things at the hospital?" 
That question is echoed by all the politicians I speak to.  They care about what matters to us because what Tip O'Neil said is true.
Often, especially in this political season, the negative campaigning leaves us thinking that no politicians truly care about us.  Negative campaigning is an unfortunate part of the game.  The truth is, many politicians do care. 
They live in small towns, eat in local restaurants, send their children to local schools.  Most of them started out in town politics.  Many of them spend a considerable amount of time and energy trying to understand the issues of their constituents so that they can represent them well.
Maybe you know one of your local politicians.  Maybe you've worked, socialized, worshiped, or gone to school with them. Maybe you see them in a local store.  If so, although you may disagree on the issues, you probably feel they are a good person, doing what they can to serve others.
It's impossible for us to get to know every official who represents us at the state and national level and it's impossible for them to get to know us all personally, but somewhere, in some small town, there are people who do know them, just like you may know your local official.
One of the dangers in our democracy is that we can feel that what we care about doesn't matter, and because of this stop participating, stop voting.
Tip O'Neil was right.  That's why, when I see the Governor, the first thing he asks me is "How are things at the hospital?"