We are in the home stretch of my quest to win a seat on the Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees. There are six candidates for three seats.
For the second weekend in a row with 22 degree temperatures - I was walking the streets of Lake in the Hills, IL talking to the electorate. It was as energizing as it was cold.
The most awesome thing about this race has been what people have asked and/or told me:
"What are you mad about?" was one of the questions I've fielded.
Honestly - nothing. I have always been an active participant in the democratic process - since 1989 when I first earned the right to vote and I voted for Dennis Hastert (R) for Congress and in my first presidential race in 1992 for William Jefferson Clinton (D). I love politics. I volunteered on the late John Stroger's first campaign for county board president in 1994 and then volunteered for then Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist re-election campaign in 1996.
Literally - I was asked to volunteer to canvass for a local candidate last September and while knocking on doors to ask strangers to vote for someone else - it occurred to me that I have the communication, interpersonal and business acumen to run for office myself. No axes to grind - no issues I'm pissed about - just a curiosity and desire to serve.
"What are you going to do for me?" was another question asked of me last weekend.
Well - I will represent your interests and do you know what that means? That means YOU have to know what you need... YOU have to learn the issues that face our village and let me know how YOU feel about them so as a Trustee I can make your voice heard.
My recent answer to a questionnaire for a local newspaper captures my thoughts best...
"If I am elected the best scenario at the end of my first term would be for more citizens of Lake in the Hills to be knowledgeable and involved in local issues. I want them to feel that the Board is approachable and that the monthly meetings we hold on Tuesdays and Thursdays are theirs - not the Village President or any of the Board of Trustees - but the citizens of Lake in the Hills."
"You're in marketing - doesn't that make you a 'stretcher of the truth'?" was my favorite question.
I actually paused before I answered. That is my favorite myth about marketing. That marketers are liars. One of my favorite marketers, Seth Godin has a book with that exact title but I disagree.
I believe that the best marketers have to have a great product or service to begin with otherwise their message falls flat. What difference does it make if there is a fabulous marketing campaign and strategy if there is no great product or service to back it up.
So - I answered that voter with this...
I am a proven leader. I am a proven change agent who loves the challenge of bringing divergent groups and/or opinions together to a solution to reach the desired results. I went on to list the various corporations that I have successfully led marketing efforts for who had major organizational/cultural changes during my tenure.
I shared about my family's decisions to move to this village back in 2002 . My desires as a parent for my children. I explained my concerns about our environment and what we can do to make it better and more healthy for future Americans. We shared our speculations about the empty houses in our community and the fate of the families that lost them.
That voter smiled and pledge their support.
My frozen feet warmed as I thought about what just happened... There was no big dramatic story - no promises of tax relief or sweeping changes to the Village of Lake in the Hills or its ordinances . Just a few minutes to introduce myself and my views about our community - and someone who barely wanted to open their door pledged a vote.
There is authenticity at its core - being me - I am gaining support door-by-door.
I'll keep you posted in these final weeks.