Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Running for office
June 6, 2018
As I write this, the voting for the California primary is still underway. It will still be a few days before I will know what propositions and candidates won the state and local races — or more accurately, in many cases — which two candidates garnered the most votes to face off in the November general election.
As you read this, we will all know who they are. But before the results are reported, I can't help but think about the commitment each candidate made in running and what a toll the process of running for office must take.
Today I say thank you to the candidates, elected — officials and former candidates.
Thank you for stepping up. Thank you for having the courage to say yes. Thank you for sharing your beliefs and convictions. Thank you for attending countless events, giving us the opportunity to get to know you a little better. Thank you for knocking on stranger's doors — having no idea who or what you might face; what questions you might be asked; what bee hive you might be stepping into — thank you for taking that risk.
Thank you for listening both to opinions carefully considered and to some completely off-the-wall. Thank you for making the difficult calls to ask for the financial support needed to run a campaign. Thank you for being willing to do the arduous work still ahead.
I only ask for this one thing: please continue to listen.
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It must be incredibly difficult to go against your own beliefs to do what is best for the greater good, but that is, in its simplest definition, the job. I realize you will have information that I do not. And, I realize you are looking at a bigger landscape than my backyard. Still I ask that you work for the will of the people. It may not be easy, but it is essential.
I am not sure if it is easier to do in a small community like Nevada County, with just over 68,000 voters, but it is certainly harder to hide.
I just spent a week in Los Angeles, where it is so easy to feel insignificant, and I imagine, to feel like your one vote does not make a difference. The distance between the voter and the elected official is vast.
While there, I could not help but be reminded of what a little piece of nirvana we have in Nevada County. This place we call home. We are a passionate group. If you are paying the least bit of attention, it's not easy to be apathetic or immune.
My hope is that while the country is increasingly divided and contentious, our county will be the unicorn and will find a way to look beyond our limited differences and find paths forward. Our community can come together and support those who are elected, even if they did not get our vote. We can help these policy makers be better and do better.
Some first-hand experience
For years, I covered local elections as part of my job. I celebrated with the winners and mourned with those who came up short. More than once, I met candidates who were running on ambition, with little knowledge and little to no experience.
Often, those who came out ahead suffered tremendous learning curves — as would anyone coming into a new field. Those who were humble enough to ask questions and dedicated enough to do the work served our community well. Again, that is my hope for those who may step into new roles in our cities and county.
Nearly every day, some bit of national news headline shocks me awake. Newsfeeds and social media inundates us with unbelievable stories that are frightening and shocking. Once the conclusive results of the primaries are in, we cannot afford to become complacent. It is with that in mind that I focus on the adage, "Think globally. Act locally."
If your candidate did not make it to the November general election, please look at the two remaining and get to know what they stand for.
If you have any inclination, become involved. For the races that have been decided, commit to letting those officials know where you stand and what you want them to support or oppose. If you are able, attend board meetings and city council meetings.
We are a small community. Our vote really does matter. Our officials are easy to reach. You can email them and expect a response. You can call them and expect a call back.
The county and the times are changing. It is inevitable. Let's come together where we can and "be the change we want to see."
It will be November soon enough. To that I say, may the best candidates win!
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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