On Nov. 7, the poll results showed that six of the eight mayoral candidates in Cedar Rapids had been unsuccessful. In December, a seventh person will join them. Like the March Madness results in college basketball we all knew that only one participant would end up winning. So now, as is far too often the case in today’s society, seven brave citizens who chose to open themselves to public scrutiny will now be identified as — losers.
It is high time that we have a paradigm shift. Labels can be hurtful and often inaccurate. We need to revisit a system that through labeling can unfairly identify people. After all, each candidate had a reason for running and most, if not all, had many good qualities and ideas to offer our residents. Should potentially good ideas go by the wayside because one got too few votes?
So, new mayor-elect, here is my suggestion: Make one of your first actions be to invite the other seven candidates to a brainstorming session where you ask them to present one or two ideas at the meeting that they believe would make Cedar Rapids a better community. Then plan to listen while a member of your staff takes notes. Pass no judgment at this time; just get their ideas.
They and their backers could better deal with their disappointment if they felt heard. I believe this approach would help residents feel that you cared about all citizens.
Good luck and may God bless you with His guidance.