This post is a happy one, about a candidate who respects the voters. We’ll get to the details shortly, but first I have to tell you why this is noteworthy.
Long-time readers already know I’m often critical of candidates who show up for a race with little more than a head full of principles and a passionate conviction that their mission is to help fix everything that’s wrong with government — which to them is pretty much everything. They are convinced that their principles can beat up my principles and yours, and will be sufficient to see them through their revolution to a successful and glorious conclusion.
Too often, they haven’t done their homework. They haven’t worked in or with the government they seek to lead, or even watched it closely for an extended period. They don’t know how it really works — but they’re quite certain they know how it should work. They’ve read the US Constitution (which I love and to which I, too, am fiercely loyal), but they can’t read a budget or a craft a competent statute. When they file as candidates, some of them still have never attended a public meeting of the body to which they and their principles seek election.
When you ask them how their lofty principles apply to actual issues, they paint their easily-won ignorance as a virtue and make excuses like, “I prefer to focus on principles, because they don’t change, and the issues are always changing.” In reality the issues are mostly predictable and require competing true principles to be balanced against each other. But perhaps it is unkind to complicate their thoughts with reality.
I want principles in my candidates, to be sure. But I need to understand how they will apply their principles to actual issues, because governing is far, far more than preaching principles, and people with fine principles can do a lot of damage to their own causes and mine, if they don’t know what they’re doing. Candidates at higher levels understand this, mostly, and tell us what they want to do and undo, if elected, in some detail. This is less common in local candidates.
So I was quite delighted Tuesday by an e-mail from Bill Freeze’s write-in campaign for Utah County Commission Seat A. (He’s running against Greg Graves.)
Bill nailed it.
He sent us a list of things he wants to accomplish in his first 90 days. It’s probably too much for 90 days, to be sure, but I’d happily give him 180 or 365 days to get half of it done. The simple fact of the matter is, he respects the voters enough to pay attention to what’s going on, and to tell us what he thinks he can and should accomplish if elected.
He’s acting like a leader. He’s working hard. He’s thinking. He’s telling us what kind of county commissioner he will be.
You can read Bill Freeze’s 90-day plan here. It’s not a masterpiece of political philosophy or a profound treatise on public policy. I could find some technical flaws in the writing. And it includes some issues on which I don’t even have firm opinions. I’m okay with all that.
The key thing is, it respects the voters in a way some local candidates do not even attempt. It is only three pages long but sufficiently detailed. It displays a lot of thought and effort.
Local candidates, present and future, could take a lesson. This is how it’s done. (Some already know this.)
I was already voting for Bill Freeze. I more or less suggested you do the same. Now I’m also pointing to him as a model for local candidates who respect the voters and the process.
PS: You don’t have to vote for Bill just because I said so. If you want to, here are some instructions for casting a write-in vote.