El Pasoans don’t vote.
In the most recent mayoral runoff, only 13% of the registered voters cast a ballot.
Yeah, it was a runoff, but it was citywide. That level of participation is not unusual for El Paso. El Pasoans, for the most part, don’t vote.
I know that there are lots of reasons. Lots of us are too busy making a living to pay much attention to politics. Some of us are fatalistically resigned to the the machinations of a self-serving government. We feel like our vote won’t make a difference. Some of us have opted out of the game.
Another reason is that we don’t have great local candidates. Often the candidates aren’t dynamic, or well-spoken, or personable. They lack charisma, or relatability.
A City Council gig is a pretty good job in El Paso. These days it pays about $45,000 a year. That’s pretty good cabbage here in the Mexoplex. And you can probably parlay it into a ride in the parade.
Serving on City Council might not be a lot of work. Except for the once-every-two-weeks City Council meetings, you never see a City Council Representative actually doing anything. I suppose there might be confrontations with angry constituents who can’t get their potholes patched, but there’s probably not too much of that.
And meetings. There’s probably a lot of meetings.
But you’ve got staff. Every City Council Representative has an Executive Assistant to handle the heavy lifting.
So why don’t we have better candidates?
Partly it’s because serving on City Council isn’t a prestigious job in El Paso. Our City Council Representative have a long reputation of selling out the citizens for personal gain, or because they’re confused, or something. Sometimes they reek of unproveable corruption, because no other explanation makes sense.
So let’s up the game. Let’s get better candidates. Candidates more representative of the community.
And then let’s elect them. Let’s vote, and get out the vote. Invite the candidates over to meet your neighbors. Walk them door to door.
Let’s fill our sails with the wind of change. It could happen.
But it won’t happen unless we make it happen.