A choice to support a candidate

In the last post A New Paragidm – Election 2010 and Social Media I talked about some changes in how I engaged with the electoral process and the values that drive my deliberation. This post is a discussion about why I decided to take a more active role and support an individual candidate.

Thinking local to act nationally.

As far as I am concerned there are two aspects to selecting who should get your vote in a federal election. That is the quality or potential quality of the candidates representation of their local constituents and what role they can or could play in what is essentially the board of directors for your country.

Traditional mainstream media, and indeed a large proportion of the social media commentary was focused on the larger picture. This is an important part of the overall equation, but if you lose sight of the local representation issue then you stand the chance of losing sight of how you and your local area will be represented in the discussion of those larger issues.

Examining the local candidates

When I then began to think about the local candidates and apply my values the choice became increasingly clear.

One candidate (the current sitting member) had a long track record of working within and for the community both prior to and during his term in parliament. This work included accepting a role as an ambassador for the Samuel Morris Foundation, so I had observed his commitment to community first hand.

The other candidate major party candidate was virtually a complete unknown who had a very limited track record of engagement in the community, and when I heard her speaking in public, clearly had a very limited knowledge of her own parties platforms and policies.

Candidates engagement during the campaign

As the campaign progressed a number of community forums were arranged by various community groups to discuss issues relevant to them. One candidate showed up to every single one of them. The other candidate shunned attendance at almost every community forum that was arranged.

One candidate could be regularly found out and about in the community, and the other candidate seemed to only appear when senior party members with an associated media throng were in the local area.

Matching Values….

It rapidly appeared that I had a clear choice between a candidate whose values matched mine, and a candidate whose values did not appear to match.

Watching the numbers..

As the campaign progressed there was increasing media reporting around the potential loss of the seat by our sitting member. This was a direct concern to me because of the proven history of my local candidate, and the potential that a party that also did not match my values could obtain power.

A decsion..

Ultimately my decision to was to become actively engaged in supporting the local candidate, and I did this in a number of ways. Through content to local newspapers, through my engagement in social media and through discussion in and around my community.

As it turned out my seat became one the extremely close seats in the election. As of this post a final outcome is still to be decided in this seat, but the candidate that I decided to support is currently ahead in the count, and I am hopeful that he will hold the seat.

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