I paid attention this year to who was running for the third ward city council seat in the city of Lansing, MI.
When our city council member resigned last spring and left a vacancy on our eight-member governing body for Michigan's capital city, I applied to be interviewed to fill the position.
I made it through the first round of interviews and the first vote. It was just before the second interviews before the council that I met Bill Matt and A'Lynne Robinson, two other candidates being interviewed in the second round.
I was impressed by both. I said during my televised second interview with the council that I would be happy with either of them representing my part of the city. Bill Matt was selected to fill the vacancy.
Since then I have gotten to know him through his blog and through conversations at various functions. I've seen his character and I've seen what drives him. He knows that his success on the council and his ability to help our ward depends on his relationships with other council members, the mayor and with city hall officials.
He has also demonstrated to me a willingness to be accessible at most anytime I wanted to talk to him. And he listened.
It's only during the past few weeks that I've gotten to know his opponent, A'Lynne Robinson. During a coffee shop conversation, I found myself impressed that our ward would have two capable leaders. She talked about bringing diverse groups of people in our ward together to work on common concerns. She talked with passion about her love of family and about growing up in our part of the city.
For me, I need to have a history with a candidate to feel comfortable. And that relationship can be a short one,
but it has to be more than a few conversations just before the election. I need to be able to "kick their tires" to see if they are real.
I've seen Bill Matt on the job. I've talked to him on many different occasions. He seems totally open. He seems to listen. That's why I'm voting for him.
But, A'Lynne, don't go away. You are needed. For our city and our ward to progress, it's going to take a team effort. You are an important member of that team.