Well, another election is over.
Here in Illinois, fire district board of trustees members for those fire districts that elect their boards are elected on the odd numbered years known as Consolidated Elections.
Yesterday, April 7, 2015, I was again re-elected to a 6-year term as our fire district’s board member.
Campaigning for office is a very convoluted but necessary process in order to hold a public office. The political process can be overwhelming to the novice, but I am a seasoned veteran and well versed at navigating the “necessary evils” that is intertwined into our American Dream.
You cannot have a successful outcome without the assistance of many people and organizations.
An effective campaign manager is a must. They will set the schedule for appearances, fundraisers and photo opportunities. They will reach out to the coalitions and super-PACs. They will arrange the video-taping, review the tapes and make course corrections, using lagging and leading indicators. Managing logistics is a basic requirement as well. I can’t thank my staff enough. They pulled hard and pulled together.
The re-election committee must be infused with the young and old; rich and poor; people knowledgeable of the political system. They must have a basic understanding of how a fire district/fire department operates and know the tax structure where that level of government resides. They must be, above all else, capable of judicious discretion where “favors” are concerned. Our campaign slogan, “Savor the Favor” proved to be a winning one. Thank you, Harry Reid for that one. It was a 50-carat gem. Brilliant!
I put my record out there for everyone to see. No one could argue with it. As a former chief of the department, I have very intimate knowledge of a firefighter’s personal safety and of the equipment that is needed to keep them safe. The other key to keeping them safe is training and education. We have no budgetary limit on the money that we spend to improve our firefighters’ readiness in today’s fire service. We consciously build firefighters to become our department’s future leaders.
As a safety professional, I also have knowledge of the laws and standards required to keep the fire district compliant and the fire ground as safe as it can be. That requires me to stay fully engaged in the ever-changing world of fire tactics and fire equipment. It must all come together in the form of a sound, business plan that includes short-term and long-term needs.
On the short-term, we must have available funds for routine and recurring purchases and in the long-term, we have to put money back for new fire apparatus and fire station improvements.
With any political process, you don’t surrender to it; you commit to it.
As I have said before, politics-both informal and formal-has been present in every aspect of our lives; from a very young age in dealing with parents, to school with our peers, teachers, coaches and school administrators, to our places of employment and to the formal political arena, where we vote for candidates and referendums.
As I head to FDIC in Indianapolis, I think of the possibility of politics involved with getting a speaker gig, instructor’s slot, a sweet spot for a vendor’s booth or an invitation to next year’s conference.
I wouldn’t be surprised if politics has invaded “the greatest fire show on Earth”, but I can say that I wouldn’t be disappointed if it hasn’t, either.
I live very comfortably within the walls of the political arena, but as I said at the beginning; this is IT for me.
At the end of this 6-year term as president of the fire protection district Board of Trustees, I will throw my support to my replacement and help to get them elected; hopefully with the same results as me. In this election, as in the last two elections, I garnered 100% of the votes. I have also been unopposed in three elections.
I hope to think that no one else felt strong enough to beat me or that it was a referendum on my record or that an opponent didn’t file petitions in time to be included on the ballot or that someone else didn’t want to be associated with the slimy underbelly of politics or they didn’t have the time to attend a minimum of four meetings a year or it didn’t pay enough ($300 a year) or that TV has gotten just too damned good.
If you have the answer, you can tell me at FDIC, where I won’t be lecturing, instructing, selling anything or getting arrested.
See you there.
The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of www.fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or any of their subsidiaries. All articles by the author are protected by copyright under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella and cannot be reproduced in any form without explicit permission from the article’s author.