How, then, should we vote?

Someone asked me if attending many debates had changed the way I will vote this election.

After a few debates, my mind had been changed.

There was an incumbent I had not previously voted for. I was impressed by his understanding of many issues, his ability to point out what is (and — just as important — what is not) possible for an elected official to accomplish, and what is and is not legal according to current state law. I appreciated his thoughtfulness in the answers to questions.

Similarly, there was a challenger I had not been planning on liking, but I was impressed by the depth of his answers — and I was shocked with how much I agreed with him.

After a couple more debates, I found I’d crossed those candidates off my list, as well as many others (for both city council and school committee).

I wish I could say I’m a well-rounded voter who looks at candidates’ views on numerous issues, and that I decide who to vote for based on a complicated matrix.

The issue of safety, especially school safety, has taken up much of the conversation, both on the city council and school committee sides.

I came across the easiest metrics possible for whether I could vote for a candidate:
If a candidate is running for city council but really wants to run for school committee, I will not vote for that candidate.
If a candidate thinks that police officers should have a presence in elementary schools, I will not vote for that candidate.
If a candidate thinks that police officers should be teaching in high schools, that there should be a WPD version of JROTC, or that police in schools is an acceptable alternative to guidance or adjustment counselors, then I will not vote for that candidate.
If you mention metal detectors in your campaign materials, I will not vote for you.

You might have different criteria, different metrics.

Ultimately, I vote for candidates who are well-informed, thoughtful, and caring.  I don’t have to agree with a candidate on all issues, but it’s terribly important to have elected officials who are prepared, willing to learn, and — above all else — willing to stand for what is right.

I find voting terribly private, so you won’t see any endorsements on this blog, save one —

Vote for Tracy O’Connell Novick for School Committee.

I can’t think of an elected official who works harder, who does more research, or who gives more of a crap about the schools than Tracy.