Party politics have no place in local races

  • 1 min to read

While national politics have been at front and center since July, local election activities don’t really get started until January or February. It should come as no surprise that office-seekers were already pulling nomination papers the first week of January.

What is happening to those going door to door should also not come as a surprise. The first thing out of some voters’ mouths is, “If you’re voting for Donald Trump, I’m not signing your petition,” or “I’m not signing your petition if you’re not voting for Donald Trump,” or “I’m not going to sign your petition if you’re not a Democrat.”

The first thing voters need to check before they open their mouths is this fact: The City of Peoria elections are non-partisan, which means, there are no party affiliations associated with the elections.

Or, that is what is supposed to be the case. About two years ago, in one Peoria council district election, one candidate did place an elephant on his campaign signs. It did not win the election for him. In fact, it could have helped his opponent win.

Unfortunately, such is not always the case. It could determine a lot of races this year, not just nationally, but locally. It seems, no matter how hard you try to remain out of the political party fray, someone will decide, based on your voter registration preference, you are unfit for the job.

Will someone please explain how those party labels help you when it comes to making a decision to spend taxpayer dollars on a piece of equipment to fix the potholes on a heavily traveled residential street in our city? We have yet to see party affiliation help when it comes to approving a budget amendment to ensure kids have a safe place to play soccer or basketball in a city park.

When someone knocks on your door, seeking your signature on a nomination petition, have a list ready to ask pertinent questions about their experience in your city, their work history, and what they plan to do about those concerns you may have regarding your neighborhood and public safety, water service, trash pick-ups - you know, that pothole that’s been bothering you for months.

How they are going to vote in the presidential election may give you pause, but it should not be the deciding factor in your decision about their fitness for a city council seat. That is, unless they’re walking up and down the street wearing a presidential candidate’s signature hat, or have multiple bumper stickers on their vehicle, proclaiming their support for a candidate for national, state or county office.

Still, make your decision locally, without all of the party bias and brouhaha. You’ll sleep better at night, and so will your neighbors.