Monday, February 29, 2016

Diversity is needed in local government

I really don't understand why a local community should have their school board or their county commissioners listed by political affiliation  on the ballot.

The people on the school board should be concerned about all the children in the county and the way to use the money allotted to them. They should represent all  people in the county, not a  particular party. I don't need to  know if a candidate is a Democrat or a Republican. I  need to  know what they feel is important and what they plan to do when elected.

Our county moved up from a three member commission to a five member commission. We are the smallest county in North Carolina. We should have some diversity of opinions and ideas with  more people involved. But Clay County has all Republican white men on our commission. 

Knowing this, I feel my needs are not going to be considered. We need at least one woman representing us. We have a  hard-working woman, who does so much for our community as a volunteer, running for  commissioner this year. If Sandy Zimmerman is elected, I will feel that I have someone on the commission who cares about what I care about.

In the past, I had very poor results when I approached my county commissioners. When my neighbor up on the mountain behind me built his house, every time it rained, the mud from his lot washed down over my driveway, my flower beds and on into Lake Chatuge, polluting the  water. The man who sold him that lot was dismayed that he did so little to stop the erosion onto our property.

No one in our county leadership could or would do anything to help me. I called and wrote letters and was finally told that I should contact the North Carolina Environmental agency, but was also told that no one would ever call me back. I had no recourse. We have no protection from those who build on the mountains above us.

We hired someone to come and shovel the mud, which was three or four inches deep, off our driveway and haul it away. That was expensive. The rest of the damage we had to  repair ourselves. The man who was responsible for this didn't offer to pay us anything. He is a man of the cloth, by the way.

I think a woman commissioner would have empathy for situations such as this and would help me if she possibly could. I know I  would. I hope our county will vote for Sandy Zimmerman this time around. She is a tireless worker for Hayesville and Clay County, and she feels she could do even more if she were a commissioner. 

When you  do the same old thing with the same old people, you get the same old results. 

Diversity is so  important in leadership. Women often don't  support other women who strive for leadership  positions. I am afraid  that many women are still hung  up on the old idea that only men should be leaders in our society. They believe that men have the ideas and women do the work to  implement them. I am afraid that is especially true in the rural south. I think it comes from what  is taught in some local churches. Women are taught to be submissive to men. Women are taught to take care of  men who then will take care of women. 

I have seen so many women make important changes in our culture. When most women get the opportunity to serve, they  do it with their conscious and with their heart. Sadly, many capable women will not run for office because of the meanness of the public and the unfair attacks on them such as those Trump has thrown out in his speeches. 

It is harder for  women to move into places of leadership, to become doctors, or be accepted in other professions that  are conventionally held by men. I  know some women doctors who had a hard time getting into medical school, not because of poor grades, but because no one wanted to believe in them or invest in their education. Even after they are working, treating people, I sense the defensive attitude they developed and the prejudice they continue to feel. 

I worked in a man's world when I was younger, and I know that prejudice. Successful men often want only beautiful women on their team. The women are like possessions the men can flaunt to the world to show their own importance. While improvements have been made over the years, change comes slowly and inequality is alive and well.

We need more women in leadership positions in the nation and in our local politics. We need the fresh view of a  mother or a sister or daughter when matters of great importance are on the table. We need someone who  will not let ego get in the way of diplomacy or negotiation. 

I plan to vote for two women running for office in our county. One is listed as a Republican and one is a Democrat. Their party affiliation makes no difference to me. Reba Beck  taught in our schools for many, many years. She volunteers her time to our community in vairous ways. She and Nancy Simpson created the Arts and Poetry competition in the local schools some years ago. We need her on our local school board along with all  those men who also serve.

We need Sandy Zimmerman  on our county commission to help bring in businesses and tourists to our mountain town. We have one of the most beautiful counties in Western NC , and we have less tourists than any of them. All who know her says she is a tireless worker for the CCCRA and the Historical and Arts Council in an effort to make our community a better place. I think Sandy can make a difference. 

1 comment:

DJan said...

I hope for your sake, and all the others, that she is elected. Keep me posted on what happens.