The spring election season is now in our rearview mirror. Election Day was on Saturday, May 6, the results are in, and if you are curious who will be your next city mayor, member of the city council, or who will fill a chair on your local school board please visit our website at www.starlocalmedia.com.
It seems that with every passing election season, our local elections are morphing from what they are intended to be, non-partisan elections that are not defined by political party candidates, but instead falling in line with the national political discord and “extreme partisanship.”
Those last two words were used by a local North Texas mayor, who provided a letter to the media expressing his concerns about how in recent years he, too, has witnessed this shift in local politics and elections. That mayor is George Fuller of the city of McKinney.
If your mailbox was like mine these past few weeks prior to election day and during early voting, it was full of candidate mailers — many of which were not paid for by the candidates themselves, but instead paid for by outside partisan groups. Many of the mailers received at our home were labeling candidates running for local city council or school board seats as Republicans and Democrats — which is not the intent in a non-partisan election.
And this is also what is most concerning to Mayor Fuller. In his letter provided to Star Local Media, Fuller states, “In recent years, city politics throughout North Texas has seen a concerning shift towards extreme partisanship, with large influxes of money and control in local political campaigns coming from both local, and outside, partisan groups. This trend has had a significant impact on local politics, as groups with agendas seek to cause fear in the school system and cities, to gain control of local governments and school districts to push their partisan agendas. The result is that non-partisan city politics, which have traditionally been the bedrock of good governance, are now under threat, and our children have become political pawns in the classroom.”
Fuller believes that good city governance requires purpose driven decision making, not partisan agendas. He believes the education of our children should be free from the political fray, as partisan groups target school district trustee boards as a springboard into the partisan political arena.
In his re-election, he received nearly 70% of the vote in a three-person race. Fuller isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He has continued to speak out against lies and propaganda, even in the face of personal attacks and threats.
Fuller says, “I do not consider being called a Democrat or a Republican a badge of honor or disgrace. Our character and integrity, commitment to truth, our compassion and our grace for others, regardless of differing views, determines if we are living an honorable life, or one lived in disgrace.”
Fuller states that we must work together to ensure that our local governments remain focused on the needs of our communities and not the interests of partisan groups.
I had a chance to talk with Mayor Fuller on Friday morning to discuss his letter, and you can hear the passion in his voice on this topic and the political discourse trends he is seeing in his city and the region. We both agree that there are challenges on both sides of the political spectrum, and that no party is perfect.
And we also both agree that local politics need to remain 100% LOCAL, away from any outside influences.
It is the hope of Mayor Fuller that the North Texas political scene will return to its local, non-partisan roots in the next election cycle and beyond.
Rick Rogers is the president & publisher of Star Local Media and its 14 print and digital local media publications. Email him at email@example.com.
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Interesting perspective from a mayor who runs as a Republican but governs/votes as a liberal democrat. His comments, in my opinion, are little more than 'sour grapes' over the community's sound rejection of the bond proposal for that boondoggle they call the McKinney International airport.
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